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Durham e-Theses
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A study of the evolution of the text of diderot's jacques le fataliste

Foster, Robert Arthur (1975) A study of the evolution of the text of diderot's jacques le fataliste. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The aim of the present thesis is twofold: firstly, to supplement existing textual criticism of Jacques le fataliste by providing a more detailed study than has heretofore been attempted of the development of the text, and secondly to analyse what new light such a study may shed on some of the major areas of critical debate surrounding the novel. The basis of the study is the text of Jacques given in the Correspondance litteraire, in which it was serialised between Nov 1778 and June 1780, with two sets of addenda appearing in the July 1780 and April 1786 issues respectively. An attempt is made to state which of the addenda indeed comprised new material incorporated after the completion of an earlier text and which merely represent restitution of suppressed material. Further, a study is made of the literary mechanisms employed in the process of addition and of the changes in the novel's substance brought about by the new material. The 1778-80 text is then studied in its turn in an attempt to trace the same processes of addition at work at an earlier date, so that a fuller picture may be obtained of the evolution of Jacques le fataliste from its initial conception to completion. The findings of this textual study are then applied in turn to the critical issues most affected by them. These are: the role of the narrator/"author"/"editor”, and the question of literary satire; the position of Diderot with regard to the philosophy of "fatalism"; the relationship between the principal and subsidiary narratives; and the sources and importance of the humour of the work. In conclusion it is demonstrated that the changing character of the novel may be seen to correspond to a number of widely differing experiments in literature.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1975
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:29

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