La matérialité du texte dans Manhattan Transfer et USA de John Dos Passos

Abstract : The early novels of John Dos Passos are part of the modernist literary movement. They are characterized by an original organization of the words on the page. The text is no longer a monolithic block, but is divided into sections and its separations are highlighted by a vast paratext. It also contains a variety of collages presented in various styles and in different fonts. These observations are the starting point of this research, which focuses on the materiality of the text in the early novels of John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer and the trilogy USA, published between 1925 and 1938. These novels question the gaze of the reader on the text, showing what is placed in front of and around the eye of the observer. The reader becomes aware of what influences his vision. The novel displays its internal structure and various thresholds, allowing the reader to continue or to stop reading, to go backwards and to create connections between the different sections of the text. The novel displays how it has been constructed, highlighting that it is the product of the rearrangement of previous texts. This visible internal structure is also built out of gaps and empty spaces. It reflects the tension between the ambition to be exhaustive, to contain everything and to acknowledge the difficulty to tell a story. The interplay with the blank space on the page, the use of punctuation and phonetic indicators reinforce the written aspect of the text, while at the same time making the words stand off the page and resistant to closure.
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Delphine Robache. La matérialité du texte dans Manhattan Transfer et USA de John Dos Passos. Littératures. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017USPCA075⟩. ⟨tel-02275779⟩

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