Ideas in the Raw: American Modernist Fiction as a Source of French Existentialism

dc.contributor.advisor Brantley, Will en_US Bradley, Jonathan en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Hibbard, Allen en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Lavery, David en_US
dc.contributor.department English en_US 2014-06-02T19:07:51Z 2014-06-02T19:07:51Z 2013-08-05 en_US
dc.description.abstract Despite the compartmentalization of academic fields, philosophy and literature enjoy an impressive amount of cross-fertilization. This interplay was especially notable during the early 1900s, when American modernism developed a conversation that carried over into French existentialism at mid century. This conversation, while not diminishing the creativity and thought of later French philosophers, reveals how ideas come into existence, develop into themes, and eventually become nameable as an established system of thought. en_US
dc.description.abstract The American modernist themes that crossed the Atlantic did not appear spontaneously. They existed in rudimentary forms at earlier points in American literary history, manifesting to varying degrees in both major and minor works. Beginning with Ralph Waldo Emerson, a survey of American writing that prefigures existentialism provides the foundation for an intertextual consideration of three major pairings: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jean-Paul Sartre; Carson McCullers and Simone de Beauvoir; William Faulkner and Albert Camus. en_US
dc.description.abstract Fitzgerald's <italic>The Great Gatsby</italic> (1925) and Sartre's <italic>Nausea</italic> (1938) examine paradigmatic questions of authenticity in terms of an individual's relationship to the past. McCullers's <italic>The Member of the Wedding</italic> (1946) and De Beauvoir's <italic>All Men Are Mortal</italic> (1946) present the development of female self-conception, including the use of "phallus substitutes" to gain sovereignty in a patriarchal society. Faulkner's <italic>Light in August</italic> (1932) and Camus's <italic>The Stranger</italic> (1942) advance an absurdist worldview where innocents are punished not for their actions but for the social impressions of who they are. en_US
dc.description.abstract These readings, while thorough, invite other pairings and provide space for further research, which should continue to highlight the many threads of this transatlantic conversation. en_US Ph.D. en_US
dc.publisher Middle Tennessee State University en_US
dc.subject American literature en_US
dc.subject Existentialism en_US
dc.subject French literature en_US
dc.subject Interdisciplinary en_US
dc.subject Modernism en_US
dc.subject Transnational studies en_US
dc.subject.umi American literature en_US
dc.subject.umi Philosophy en_US
dc.subject.umi Comparative literature en_US
dc.thesis.degreegrantor Middle Tennessee State University en_US
dc.thesis.degreelevel Doctoral en_US
dc.title Ideas in the Raw: American Modernist Fiction as a Source of French Existentialism en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
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