L'Evolution d'un discours : une etude des dernieres oeuvres de Simone de Beauvoir

Keough, Renee (1994) L'Evolution d'un discours : une etude des dernieres oeuvres de Simone de Beauvoir. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The final works of Simone de Beauvoir, Les Belles Images and La Femme rompue, are radically different from her earlier works, both in style and in content. This study looks at these changes in the context of discourse theory, beginning with Michel Foucault, whose analysis of the nature of power and the relationship of power and discourse brings into question the nature of the subject. The place of the subject in discourse is then studied more closely in the work of postmodern theorists, including Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Using the work of such theorists, we analyze the role of discourse and its relation to power in Beauvoir's later works, locating the beginnings of a change in Beauvoir's thought in her most highly acclaimed work, Les Mandarins. -- Through a detailed study of Les Mandarins, Les Belles Images, and "Monologue", we study Beauvoir's changing perceptions of the nature of reality and of power as expressed through novelistic discourse and through the discourse of the principal female characters in each of these works. We show how Beauvoir moves away from the notion of an objective, knowable reality, represented through the transparent tool of discourse, towards the notion of partial realities constituted through the discourse of individual subjects. This change also implies a shift in her perception of the subject, from that of the rational historical (male) subject ontologically prior to language and to society, towards the notion of the subject as discursively and intersubjectively constituted. Finally, these changes in the nature of reality and of discourse bring us back to the nature of power in late capitalist society, and to the relationship between power and discourse. Beauvoir's discourse is seen to have evolved from Les Mandarins to "Monologue", from a perception of power as a structure imposed on society and on individuals by the State, to that of a dispersed network of changing relations between individuals and groups, these individuals and groups then exercising power through discourse.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5517
Item ID: 5517
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [117]-129.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > French and Spanish
Date: 1994
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Beauvoir, Simone de, 1908---Philosophy; Beauvoir, Simone de, 1908---Criticism and interpretation; Power (Philosophy); Subject (Philosophy)

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