Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


French & Italian

First Advisor

Warren Motte

Second Advisor

Elisabeth Arnould-Bloomfield

Third Advisor

Christopher Braider


Representations of the past figure prominently in the work of J. M. G. Le Clézio. Yet, despite a large and rapidly growing body of criticism devoted to his oeuvre, how Le Clézio incorporates the past into an often more contemporary narrative is one subject that has yet to be treated in detail. In my dissertation, I examine the narrative structure of several of Le Clézio's novels, short stories and nonfiction texts. After an introduction to Le Clézio's work, I discuss the various means by which he introduces the past into the narrative, including the use of historical settings, events and figures; characters' remembrances; embedded narrative; and documents such as letters, journals and photographs. Through an examination of these techniques, I argue that the past plays an important role in the narrative, both thematically and structurally. I then conclude with a discussion of the implications of this use of the past with regard to the present, suggesting that by incorporating the past, Le Clézio shows how past and present are invariably linked.