Monica Lebron

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


In 1942, Louis Guilloux was awarded the Prix Populiste for Le Pain des reves, a novel which, along with the six which preceded it, is generally considered to be representative of the populist literary trend. Guilloux's novels are profoundly significant representations of historical events which took place during the first half of the 20th Century. The effect of periods of political turmoil upon society and the injustice brought down upon the working class figure prominently in Guilloux's novels.;Following two lines of development, the thesis studies the novels both in their generic relationships with populist literature and from the point of view of their ideological significance. The ideas of Jean-Marie Schaeffer and Mikhail Bakhtin provide the basis for the theoretical framework in this study.;Chapter I presents certain preliminary theoretical considerations relating to problems of interpreting fiction, particularly during the period in question, and more generally with regard to the novel form. Chapter II covers the life and works of Louis Guilloux, the socio-political context in which he wrote and the populist movement to which he is said to belong. The following chapters focus specifically on the three novels which illustrate the peculiar nature of Guilloux's populism in three essential aspects: spatial configurations, discursive forms and thematic components.;Chapter III studies the significance of spatial elements in La Maison du peuple (1927) emphasizing the opposition between concrete and ideal space, a recurrent feature of these texts.;Chapter IV looks at the significance, in Le Sang noir (1935), of the intricate relationship between the narrative discourse and the characters' effective or ineffective use of language, which lead to interesting ambiguities requiring close interpretation.;Chapter V bears upon the system of motifs and themes that characterize Le Pain des reves (1942), again from the point of view of their partial links with the populist movement and their own specific developments.;The Conclusion brings us, mainly through a brief examination of Le Jeu de patience (1949), to the stage at which Guilloux's works more clearly depart from the populist aesthetic. This section of the thesis emphasizes the hybrid nature of genres such as populism and the preference for a close textual analysis as the basis of generic attributions.



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