n French Studies in Southern Africa - Dérive et tectonique des genres chez Butor et Le Clézio

Volume 2011, Issue 41
  • ISSN : 0259-0247



The protean works of Michel Butor and JMG Le Clézio raise the issue of aesthetic experience in the context of the postmodern crisis of representation. If both writers set about exploring the tectonics of the novel in the early stages of their careers, each in his own style, there are wide differences in the way they effected this new drift of the genre, often referred to as fragmentation. While extolling the major novelists of the past, Butor opted for poetry and transtextual writing whereas Le Clézio revisited narrative standards while singing the praises of emblematic figures of modern lyricism such as Lautréamont, Michaux and Artaud. Yet their specific approaches are far from being antithetical as in fact they both subvert the century-old dichotomy between narrative and poetry. As a result of their being widely open to otherness, the favourite narrative form of both writers is the space narrative which highlights the endless variety of cultures. In this respect Butor and Le Clézio prove to be the forerunners of a major trend in contemporary literature.

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