n French Studies in Southern Africa - Le roman d'apprentissage d'après Le Clézio : quête, sensations et sentiment moral dans




J.M.G Le Clézio's (1993) seems, at first glance, to belong to the adventure novel genre. A closer reading, however, reveals that the text has a polyphonic quality in that narrative genres, historical layers and mythical references (personal and other) come together to weave an unexpectedly complex tale of coming of age. This article examines the notion that the main protagonist's personal journey (and his utopic quest) revolves around the concept of moral sentiment as primarily emerging from the senses, a key concern in Le Clézio's writing from the 1980's onwards. The analysis demonstrates that, as is so often the case for Le Clézio's young characters, Alexis' body works as a receptacle through which meaning has to pass first before it is harnessed in his quest for greater understanding - the treasure hunt being, ultimately, a search for meaning. Textually, this is achieved through the evocation of the protagonist's experience of the world by way of sensation in a style that is so original that it can only be situated between genres, more specifically between poetry and prose.


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