Event Title

Reading' the Tracking Shot in Nadja and Marienbad

Location

King Building 321

Start Date

4-28-2017 3:00 PM

End Date

4-28-2017 4:20 PM

Abtract

My research compares the seminal French works, André Breton’s novel, Nadja (1928), and Alain Resnais’s film, L’année dernière à Marienbad (1961). Both works feature first-person limited, male narrators whose memories return to a specific location: a time and place (Paris, 1926 and Marienbad, the year before) where the main concern is a sexual relationship with a desired woman. My essay imagines these narratives as progressions through a ‘memory-scape,’ where the narrators, Breton and X, enter into their memories as an interrogative state of self-introspection, but also self-defensive assertion, as to the nature of their relationships to Nadja and A, respectively. The memory-scape serves as the specific location of the men’s memories, and it is where a considerable amount of the plot takes place. In Nadja, Breton’s memory-scape is Parisian streets, where he promenades and ruminates on life with Nadja. In Marienbad, X sequesters A the gardens and his fantasies abound. Considering the fields of narrative inquiry in Nadja and film philosophy in Marienbad, I conceptualize the cinematic technique of the tracking shot as a framework in which to visualize Breton and X within their memory-scapes. In conversation with film scholar Hunter Vaughan, my analysis posits a nuanced view of the shared ontology of Nadja and Marienbad and comments on the psychological boundaries of the first-person limited narrators and the technical boundaries of the distinct mediums.

Keywords:

surreal romance, film aesthetics, memory

Notes

Session II, Panel 8 - Literary | Comparisons
Moderator: Jed Deppman, Professor of Comparative Literature and English

Major

Comparative Literature; English

Advisor(s)

Jed Deppman, Comparative Literature

Project Mentor(s)

Jed Deppman, Comparative Literature

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Apr 28th, 3:00 PM Apr 28th, 4:20 PM

Reading' the Tracking Shot in Nadja and Marienbad

King Building 321

My research compares the seminal French works, André Breton’s novel, Nadja (1928), and Alain Resnais’s film, L’année dernière à Marienbad (1961). Both works feature first-person limited, male narrators whose memories return to a specific location: a time and place (Paris, 1926 and Marienbad, the year before) where the main concern is a sexual relationship with a desired woman. My essay imagines these narratives as progressions through a ‘memory-scape,’ where the narrators, Breton and X, enter into their memories as an interrogative state of self-introspection, but also self-defensive assertion, as to the nature of their relationships to Nadja and A, respectively. The memory-scape serves as the specific location of the men’s memories, and it is where a considerable amount of the plot takes place. In Nadja, Breton’s memory-scape is Parisian streets, where he promenades and ruminates on life with Nadja. In Marienbad, X sequesters A the gardens and his fantasies abound. Considering the fields of narrative inquiry in Nadja and film philosophy in Marienbad, I conceptualize the cinematic technique of the tracking shot as a framework in which to visualize Breton and X within their memory-scapes. In conversation with film scholar Hunter Vaughan, my analysis posits a nuanced view of the shared ontology of Nadja and Marienbad and comments on the psychological boundaries of the first-person limited narrators and the technical boundaries of the distinct mediums.