Écrire l’histoire : savoir et fiction chez Patrick Modiano et Amir Hassan Cheheltan

Abstract : Adapting Ivan Jablonka’s theories on the relationship of history and literature, and Carlo Ginzburg's notion of “microhistory”, this work aims at studying how two contemporary writers from different cultural and geographical spheres—the French author, Patrick Modiano and the Iranian novelist, Amir Hassan Cheheltan—set about writing history, in the historiographic sense of the term. With a particular focus on Modiano’s La Place de l'Étoile (Place de l'étoile, 1968), The Night Watch (La Ronde de nuit, 1969), Ring Roads (Les Boulevards de ceinture, 1972) and Dora Bruder (1997) and the novels The mirror room (Talar-e aineh, 1990), Mandragora (Mehr-e giah, 1998), Tehran, city without sky (Tehran, shahr-e bi asseman, 2001) and Iranian Dawn (Sepidedam-e irani, 2005) by Cheheltan, this study demonstrates that, despite the omnipresence of history in these texts, none of them actually respect the criteria of the traditional historical novel genre. Rather, it will be suggested, they approach something akin to social-science literature; that is, their narratives endeavor to tell the truth about the world without explicitly representing or re-creating great historical events or portraying great historical figures. Instead, as “Novel-Histories”, these works invite the reader to think about the nature and status of official History. As for Dora Bruder, it can be viewed as “text-search” or a “micro-historical inquiry”; but unlike its more traditional counterparts Modiano’s quest never offers a definitive answer. A thematic analysis will illustrate that the two authors are particularly interested in writing about problematic or marginalized figures in the two metropolises that feature in their work—Paris (Modiano) and Tehran (Cheheltan)—, geographical spaces which are also the theater of history. Finally, the formal and aesthetic aspects of the two works will be explored, with a view to demonstrating their literary and artistic diversity. So, it is a question of comparing how both authors engage with history from a thematic, formal, aesthetic but also epistemic perspective and analyzing the main modes by which history is inscribed in their works.
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Elaheh Sadat Hashemi. Écrire l’histoire : savoir et fiction chez Patrick Modiano et Amir Hassan Cheheltan. Littératures. Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté; University of Teheran, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018UBFCC012⟩. ⟨tel-02150591⟩

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