Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Captain Julien Viaud served France in la Marine nationale for forty-two years; however, he is perhaps better known by his literary pseudonym: Pierre Loti de l'Academie francaise. Throughout most of his life this reporter, sailor and author recorded a detailed account of his personal activities, adventures and voyages around the world in his Journal intime. These records provided source material for more than fifty publications, including novels, about the sea.;It is widely accepted that there is significant autobiographical content in many of Loti's fictional writings: his own experiences as a sailor were transcribed into his diaries which in turn were integrated into a fictional world. It is also widely accepted that the major characters in this fictional world are the sea and those whose lives are inextricably linked to the sea. Yet, just as Loti's own naval career moves through various stages during its span of five decades, so does the depiction of his major characters. The aim of this thesis is to investigate this evolving depiction of seafolk and the sea in representative novels published over a period of some twenty-five years: Aziyade, Le Mariage de Loti, Mon Frere Yves, Pecheur d'Islande, Madame Chrysantheme, Le Roman d'un enfant and Matelot.;The main body of the study is devoted to the depiction of seafolk and is divided into four chapters illustrating different phases of the evolving characterization. The first phase is examined in the chapter entitled "Youthful Adventures", where attention is concentrated on the sea's influence upon young, relatively inexperienced sailors in an exotic port of call after long sea voyages. In the next chapter, "Toil, Dangers and Family", attention turns to more mature, responsible sailors committed to an arduous life at sea, but who return home to family, friends and loved ones after their long voyages. The third phase, "Reminiscence and Anticipation", involves seamen whose current life, being less than satisfactory, prompts them to seek an outlet through some form of escape.;The fourth chapter, "The Sea", is devoted to the characteristics of the sea and its evolution throughout the phases discussed in the three preceding chapters.



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