Master of Arts (MA)


French Studies

Document Type



Narrative identity is one of the very controversial concepts in literature. Since the mid-nineteenth century, the question is still the same as it has been since it was discovered or since its invention in literature and philosophy: What is a narrative? What’s the basis of a self identity? The authors selected in this essay have each in his own manner, first Paul Ricœur, by means of a philosophical discourse, and then Claude Simon, in terms of a fictional discourse, have explored the notion of narrative identity in both practical and theoretical terms. Some may say that the narrative identity is a concept that lays beneath the experiences that can be verify. Others may say that the narrative identity is what takes place inside every living person: thus, the way I define myself is my narrative identity. The confrontation between those who believe in life and facts and those who think that life and experience are not always in what you can see, but they exist rather in what you say. We must accept that facts or fantasies cannot be expressed without the power of the language and our ability to use words. The concept of identity is an empty concept without the support of the narration. Although language supports the meaning of identity, it still makes no sense without clearly understanding of the concept of time. It is time that gives a sense to the story that one tells about him or her self. We have tried to sort out the relationship between factual and fictional discourse in selections from Paul Ricœur’s philosophical writings about narrative identity and in Claude Simon’s novel, La Route des Flandres.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Adelaide Russo