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The Dialogues in Zazie dans le métro by Raymond Queneau

Effects of Modernity

Fulvia Ardenghi    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



Raymond Queneau’s Zazie dans le métro (1959) can be considered a behaviourist novel. Characters are barely outlined and look like puppets who spend their lives in a frantic rhapsody. However, the construction of the dialogic exchanges among characters is very refined ; this seems mostly aimed at a realistic effect, giving priority to the expressiveness of oral language. We have the impression that sometimes the primary narrator’s discourse is tainted by the characters’ speech ; the narrator does not only seem to describe events as they happen, but he also participates empathically in the narrative. At times, he seems to experience the same irrepressible urge for verbal communication of his characters. This paper explores the results of the encounter between the narrator and the characters’ discourses, particularly the stylistic devices creating an effect of increased realism. From time to time, this contamination generates an effect of ambiguity in the enunciative reference. Queneau was undoubtedly aware of this ambiguity, given his inclination to the structured shapes of literature, the so-called ‘framework’, which is an essential condition of his art making.

Sept. 28, 2017
April 10, 2017
March 6, 2017

Keywords: ZazieOral speechDiscourseQueneauDirect speech

Copyright: © 2017 Fulvia Ardenghi. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.