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Brendan Behan : les enjeux de la mémoire entre écriture et oralité

Abstract : The topic of this doctoral dissertation was dictated by a need to address the lack of critical studies on Brendan Behan. Behan’s work appears as a very heterogeneous one, merging various genres and styles, mixing orality and writing, texts and images. Through an investigation of the author’s production (novel, recorded books, drama, radio-plays and features, poetry, short stories and sketches), this dissertation aims to show how the concept of memory underpins his literature. The title of the dissertation highlights the various aspects of the term “memory” explored in this volume. Memory is in fact a hazy concept that may refer to the mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experiences and to the act of remembrance and the attempt at defining the individual’s identity, as well as to the duty of preserving and transmitting collective history and culture. As memory is never easy to define and implies many aspects, different approaches have been taken into account (philosophical, psychological, sociological, anthropological and linguistic). This project is framed by the larger field of Irish autobiographical studies which remains open to further investigations, and our aim has been to bring a modest contribution to it. In the dissertation, we explore above all the connections between memory and imagination. Although Behan’s literature may be considered as the author’s critical view on Irish society and, thus, brought in line with the realism of the 1920s and 1930s, we shall underline the importance of imagination in the process of recollection and the fictional aspect of autobiographical writing. Literature is for Behan the medium of a personal introspection through recollection and imagination. Telling his personal story is for the author a way of forgetting, hence healing, individual and collective trauma. But at the same time it is an attempt to guarantee the author’s infinite presence.
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Chiara Rustici. Brendan Behan : les enjeux de la mémoire entre écriture et oralité. Littératures. Université Toulouse le Mirail - Toulouse II, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013TOU20013⟩. ⟨tel-00879873⟩

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