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La performance autobiographique et les masques du masculin dans la légende de Duluoz de Jack Kerouac (1947-1965)

Abstract : The first-person novels which make up the Duluoz Legend, the autobiographical cycle written by Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), are often analyzed in the light of what is known of their author’s private life or of the mythology that surrounds Beat Generation writers. Informed by performative approaches to the genre of autobiography and to the masculine gender as well as by recent historiographical research on masculinity and masculine sexuality during the Cold War period, this thesis seeks to deconstruct the ethos of confessional spontaneity and of heroic manliness that surrounds Kerouac’s writings. His narrative of the self are not faithful reflections of the “I” or factual accounts of the author’s own life, but a public staging of male authorial identity, a theatre of identity in words and actions. This playful masquerade sustains a narrative strategy that aims at constructing an ideal vision of oneself as a man and as a writer and shall be read in the perspective of his wish to revitalize American literature and masculinity which he feared to be in decline. Yet, these acts of cross-dressing of the authorial persona also testify to the powerful sway of anti-homosexual paranoia over the 1950s literary output and show the trouble that undermines this performance of masculinity which constantly threatens to reveal the tears, the silences and the contradictions that it tries so hard to mask.
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Pierre-Antoine Pellerin. La performance autobiographique et les masques du masculin dans la légende de Duluoz de Jack Kerouac (1947-1965). Littératures. Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle - Paris III, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013PA030167⟩. ⟨tel-02905609⟩

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