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CNAA / Theses / 2009 / June /

The quest of the Self in the 20th century essay


Author: Carolina Dodu-Savca
Degree:doctor of philology
Speciality: 10.01.06 - World and Comparative Literature
Year:2009
Scientific adviser: Elena Prus
doctor habilitat, professor, Moldova State University
Institution:
Scientific council:

Status

The thesis was presented on the 17 June, 2009
Approved by NCAA on the 1 October, 2009

Abstract

Adobe PDF document0.35 Mb / in romanian

Keywords

essay, the concept of the Self, the problem of the quest, non-fiction, argumentative discourse, „dialogical consciousness”, dyad Myself–the Self, the Other, idem/ipse, ipseite, global personality, paradigmatic personality, “personal myth”, individualistic/universalistic principles, pyrrhonist spirit, modernity/postmodernity

Summary

The thesis "The quest of the Self in the 20th century essay" tackles the matter of the modern/postmodern "crisis" of consciousness as an intuitive quest cogitatum/mens in spiritus on the universal values. Treating the quest of the Self in French essay, the work develops a double theoretical perspective: elucidating the literary genre "essay" from various viewpoints (esthetical-literary, philosophical-literary, morpho-genealogical, taxonomic, linguistic-lexicographical, formal-pragmatic etc.) and analyzing idiosyncratically the concept of "the Self" (literary-typological, hermeneutical, descriptive-phenomenological etc.).

The axis of the problem lies in the conception of the "dialogical consciousness" (M.Bakhtin) of the Self, as the unremitting dialog with Myself, the Other, the World and in the fundamental modalities of quest – in a pyrrhonist key (as the continuous quest) – by means of inside/outside world, illustrated in the French essay of the 20th century.

The innovative scientific character of the research consists in a twofold poetics: the human being as Myself versus myself-the Human Being. Conceived as a study with binary heuristic approach, the thesis proposes an axiomatic model of the look-quest in the individualistic vision of the essayistic modernism and a phenomenological model of the embodiment-quest in the universalistic vision of the essayistic postmodernism. Elucidated in the works of P.Valéry and M.Yourcenar, these paradigms infer the conceptualization of the Self-solitary human being and the Self-unitary human nature to symbolize, on one hand, the expression of an intellectual in the crisis of the spirit and, on the other one, the global superlative physiognomy of human nature in a discontinuous crisis, where the notion crisis means, in the conception of the present work, the quest mens in spiritus. The new perspective of analysis – operating a series of innovative formulae: contemplation/conception-quest; staging/procreation-quest; the Self as intellectual “eye”/as “voice” of the human genealogy etc. – opens up prospects of dichotomous interpretation in the problem of the quest of the Self.

From theoretical, methodological and heuristic perspective, the proposed poetics allows an interdisciplinary extension of the literary models and synergic outlooks in the space of literary expression.