Space and time in the philosophical novel “Terra Amata” by J. M. G. Le Clezio


The article studies the novel “Terra Amata” by J. M. G. Le Clézio, (a Nobel Prize Winner in Literature, 2008) and emphasizes its thematic, genre, and stylistic diversity. In the novel, Le Clézio highlights its philosophical trend and develops one of his most favorite themes: space and time. The writer focuses on the retrospective of the protagonist’s life, from birth to death, through the juxtaposition of the biological and philosophical understanding of Time. Chancelade does not accept the surrounding reality making his denial absolute and extending it to all human existence. The novel conveys the state of profound despair of a man who has lost the anthropocentric vision of the world, which gives rise to the feeling of absolute emptiness and helplessness experienced by the personality. To express a complex range of his hero’s feelings, the writer turns away from the traditional structure of a novel and appeals to symbolism, allegory and metaphors. Original in language and style, the work is more like a poem than a novel. Before Le Clézio, many writers worked in the manner of a detailed letter. However, for him this type of tension and aspiration to break through the “area resembling hell” is minimal. In the formal passages where, according to the general structure, the attitude of the author to the described phenomena should be revealed we see that he remains unconcerned, underlining the impossibility of his intervention. The main thing in the novel is the apocalyptic theme of the transience of human life and the ultimate destruction of the human race. The novel has not been translated into Russian.

Key words: 

biological time, tragedy of being, dichotomy “I” – “Other”, leitmotif of a mirror.

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