L'esthétique et l'éthique du sujet absent dans les romans de Tom McCarthy

Abstract : Résumé en anglais : This study engages with the novels and theory of the English author and artist Tom McCarthy, specifically the novels Remainder (2005), Men in Space (2007), C (2010) and Satin Island (2015), as well as his works of theory, Tintin and the Secret of Literature (2006) and Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish: Essays (2017). McCarthy’s literary connection to certain brands of avant-garde modernism has been analysed and made explicit both through their critical reception inside and outside of academia, and through McCarthy’s own works of theory. However, in this study McCarthy’s literary oeuvre is engaged with through the lens of Jean Baudrillard’s particular brand of postmodernity and cultural criticism. It has been suggested that McCarthy’s novels reject the traditional subject of the modern novel, and as such avoid turning to ideological or structural resolutions, leaving open the space for new modes of subjectivity to emerge. It is the contention of this study that the ethics and aesthetics of this refusal and absence are in fact expressions of a specifically bourgeois ideological positivity and passivity. The first section serves to approach the conditions of time, space and individual destiny in the novels, relating these to the conditions of postmodernity. These conditions serve to foster, in the second section of the study, a series of literary modes and formalisms that simulate the presence of the ‘absent subject’ in the novels. Looking specifically at Symbolism, a-signification and melancholy as literary markers of an absent subjectivity, this second section elaborates on the aesthetics of absence (linguistic and technological) that are essential to this mode of simulated presence. The third section brings together, through the figure of irony and the mythic trickster figure, the conditions and aesthetics of this absent subject in the form of a mode of ethics that is cyclical, as opposed to infinite or discriminatory, and which produces both the capacity for fatal challenge and the pleasure of conformity at once.Mots-clés en anglais: Tom McCarthy, the novel, Baudrillard, ethics, aesthetics, mass communication, postmodernity, absence.
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Benjamin Staunton. L'esthétique et l'éthique du sujet absent dans les romans de Tom McCarthy. Littératures. Université Paul Valéry - Montpellier III, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018MON30084⟩. ⟨tel-02290923⟩

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