Style and Influences
Simon is often identified with the nouveau roman movement exemplified in the works of Alain Robbe-Grillet and Michel Butor, and while his fragmented narratives certainly contain some of the formal disruption characteristic of that movement (in particular Histoire, 1967, Triptyque, 1973), he nevertheless retains a strong sense of narrative and character.
In fact, Simon arguably has much more in common with his Modernist predecessors than with his contemporaries; in particular, the works of Marcel Proust and William Faulkner are a clear influence. Simon's use of self-consciously long sentences (often stretching across many pages and with parentheses sometimes interrupting a clause which is only completed pages later) can be seen to reference Proust's own style, and Simon moreover makes use of certain Proustian settings (in La Route des Flandres, for example, the narrator's captain de Reixach is shot by a sniper concealed behind a hawthorn hedge or haie d'aubépines, a reference to the meeting between Gilberte and the narrator across a hawthorn hedge in Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu).
The Faulknerian influence is evident in the novels' extensive use of a fractured timelime with frequent and potentially disorienting analepsis (moments of chronological discontinuity), and of an extreme form of free indirect speech in which narrative voices (often unidentified) and streams of consciousness bleed into the words of the narrator. The ghost of Faulkner looms particularly large in 1989's L'Acacia, which uses a number of non-sequential calendar dates covering a wide chronological period in lieu of chapter headings, a device borrowed from Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury.
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Famous quotes containing the words style and, influences and/or style:
“All my stories are webs of style and none seems at first blush to contain much kinetic matter.... For me style is matter.”
—Vladimir Nabokov (18991977)
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. Let them be your only diet drink and botanical medicines.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“I shall christen this style the Mandarin, since it is beloved by literary pundits, by those who would make the written word as unlike as possible to the spoken one. It is the style of all those writers whose tendency is to make their language convey more than they mean or more than they feel, it is the style of most artists and all humbugs.”
—Cyril Connolly (19031974)