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The sea novels of Henri Queffélec

Smith, William Buckham (1974) The sea novels of Henri Queffélec. Masters thesis, Durham University.



In spite of his literary prizes, Henri Queffélec has enjoyed relatively little attention from the critics. This is the more surprising in view of his prolific output: up to 1973 he has published four volumes of short stories, two saints' lives, four extended essays, ten guide and travel books and twenty two novels. Twelve of these novels are concerned with the sea and are the subject of this study because these can be seen to be closest to his most abiding interests: the culture and values of the Breton people, the sea and his Christian faith. There is a distinct pattern in their composition: his novels usually have a historical or factual basis to which he adds folkloric or legendary elements. The dominant philosophical notion in his writings is the concept of cosmic unity and interdependence. He believes though that Man by his nature is insular and that in order to be part of this cosmic unity he needs a unifying goal in life, he needs to abandon his insularity in collective enterprises for the common good. This idea forms the basis of all of his plots and underlies all of his characterisation. His style, which is used to reinforce these notions, is both vigorous and complex. The lack of critical attention may be explained by the lack of any real development in his work: one finds .the same philosophical basis and the same type of construction of both plot and character from his very earliest novels onwards. This should not however be allowed to detract from his main strength which lies in his powerful evocation of the sea and of the way of life of those who live and work in close contact with it.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1974
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:42

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