Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Adelaide Russo


This study entails of an analysis of the visual space in certain novels of Claude Simon: La Route des Flandres, La Bataille de Pharsale, Orion aveugle, Les Corps conducteurs, Triptyque, Lecon de choses. The fragmentation of Simon's narrative makes the reader rely on the novels' imagery to establish a cohesiveness. Simon describes the formation of the image as a process akin to photographic development. For Simon, the image is, primarily, the physical impression of light particles. This first step leads to a comparison between the impressions of the form projected onto a screen (which is similar to a retina) and those evoked in memory by the recollection of an event. This exegesis of the mechanism of imagery in the Simonian text leads to several observations concerning parameters characteristic of this writing. The structure appears in the Simonian narrative under the guise of descriptions of geometric shapes, paintings, or, as previously mentioned, photographs. The structure allows Simon to describe images in the text which, at some time, marked or impressed him visually, aesthetically, or emotionally. This representation is seen in another form as the representation of life unfolding on a movie screen or within a window frame. The progression of images generated by this physical framing creates a simulacrum of chronology which is not temporal. The composition and function of the erotic image constitutes the second parameter. The erotic descriptions constitute a textual substitute for the narrative, dispersed fragmentally throughout the text. The use of erotic descriptions in this manner is a constant which unifies the works studied. Puns and cliches help Claude Simon create connections between the erotic passages and the remainder of the text. The visual space is thereby more than a descriptive source of images: it is a means employed by Simon to replace the narrative.