Abstract [en]

The purpose of the present thesis is to examine the modes of enunciation (“mode d’énonciation”) and the use of text genres in relation to thematic and semantic aspects of Claude Cahun’s book, Aveux non avenus (Disavowals: or, Cancelled Confessions)(1930), which consists of text fragments. Claude Cahun, who is mostly known for her photographic self-portraits, was active on the margins of surrealism in Paris in the 1920s. The text fragments of Aveux non avenus can be compared to a collage technique that she also uses in the photomontages which open each chapter of the book. As an author, Claude Cahun clearly resisted traditional confessional literature (as the title of the book also suggests), and this study focuses on how she creates images of herself through characters borrowed from mythology, the Bible, and popular and literary texts, but also through reflections on specific themes in dialogues, essays and aphorisms.

The thesis examines how Aveux non avenus differs from an actual autobiography, how the fragmented self-portrait is constructed, and how the book expresses a critique of contemporary society. The method of the thesis is based on textual analysis, with the support of the concepts of modes of enunciation (”mode d’énonciation”), text genres, and détournement (”détournement”). It also rests on the contextualisation of Claude Cahun’s practice of writing in relation to the history of literary genres, surrealist avant-garde movement, and in relation to sources within cultural history and the history of women.

The thesis analyses how Claude Cahun, through the use of different genres and shifting modes of enunciation, creates a fragmented, diverse, and contradictory portrait of herself, in a way that also conveys a critical image of contemporary society. The text functions, simultaneously, as a collage of different text genres. The conclusion thereby underlines the idea that the text is not arbitrarily fragmentary, but constructed on the principles that the analysis of the work has demonstrated. In previous research on Claude Cahun, the indefinite genre of the book has been emphasised. Instead, this thesis wants to show that the diversity of text genres is deliberately explored to develop varying modes of enunciation that give Claude Cahun the opporturity to reflect and give nuance to representations of the self and to convey a radical critique of society.

Henri Scepi, professeur, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3

Professor Françoise Sullet-Nylander, Stockholms universitet
Professor Bengt Novén, Stockholms universitet

Docent Per Förnegård, Stockholms universitet

Professore Associato Jean-Paul Dufiet, Università degli Studi di Trento
Docent Christina Kullberg, Uppsala universitet
Docent Annika Olsson, Stockholms universitet

Professor Ken Benson, Stockholms universitet

Disputationen hålls på franska

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