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A history of Tel Quel. The logic of literature.

Ffrench, Raymont Patrick; (1994) A history of Tel Quel. The logic of literature. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis aims to present a history of Tel Quel - periodical, group and series. It is argued that this can only be done at a significant level if it is realised that the overriding concern of Tel Quel, and what gave it both intellectual and actual existence, was the production of a theory of literature through editorial activities. The present work therefore concerns itself with identifying and analysing the theory of literature produced by the group's writers and theorists, principally Philippe Sellers and Julia Kristeva, through a broadly historical framework which alone can show that this theory remains constant despite the shifts of Tel Quel with regard to the context. The theory is a logic of literature. It proposes that the latter is a transformative experience. Reading and writing, particularly of certain 'limit texts' operate a transgression of the limits of so-called 'normal' experience, and a transformation of language, of phenomena, of the body, of history. This transgression and transformation are possible because language is seen as a potentially infinite, open system, within which restricted, closed systems such as discourse, communication, 'society' and the subject exist. Literature effects the opening of closures within language. It is thus an analytic, dissolutory force, the radicality of which social and political institutions attempt to reduce. The articulation of Tel Quel with the Nouveau Roman, .structuralism, Marxism and psychoanalysis is assessed in this light, and so is the association of the review with notable thinkers of the period, such as Barthes and Derrida. A special importance is given to the writing practice it generates, which is described through analysis of some of the numerous creative texts produced by Tel Quel writers, selected to illustrate various aspects of this practice. Even the final dissolution of the review, and its continuation, with a changed practice in L'Infini, should be read from the same internal, theoretical perspective, as a development anchored in the act of literary creation seen as transformative, negative and analytic, as is demonstrated by the tapes of recent interviews which are supplied in a separate volume (with transcripts).

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A history of Tel Quel. The logic of literature.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108382
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