Gertrude Stein : une poétique du réalisme

Abstract : Gertrude Stein (Allegheny, Pennsylvania, 1874 – Paris, 1946) is a central figure of American modernism. She is celebrated for the radical experiments with language and grammar she conducted throughout a literary career in which she tried her hand at all genres: novels, novellas, long and short poems, essays, conferences, plays, opera librettos, biographies and autobiographies. The present dissertation analyzes the connections of Stein’s language to realism. The notion will be understood, first, as a literary tradition, which Stein reinterprets by americanizing it (through the replacement of Claude Bernard by William James as her mentor in the experimental method); second, as a displacement of the “real” within language itself, despite its consistent failure to become just a thing among others; third, as a call to veracity, in later works of fiction which stage their own disingenuousness and make America the ideal territory of the unreal. It will be argued that this constantly evolving conversation between Stein’s work and realism also implies a renewal of generic issues: each shift within an unstable generic system is a new way to test the ability of language to account for the world. Focusing on two early works (the three novellas of Three Lives and the long novel The Making of Americans), pieces of “descriptive” poetry (the “portraits”), the Stanzas in Meditation and two later prose works (Four in America) and (Ida a Novel), this dissertation will try to show how Stein understood generic boundaries, including that between poetry and prose, and what part they played in her aesthetic development.
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Chloé Thomas. Gertrude Stein : une poétique du réalisme. Littératures. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016USPCA090⟩. ⟨tel-01541927⟩

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