Annie Ernaux, the one who won the Nobel

Already from his first two novels in the mid-seventies the empty cabinets (1974) and That same thing they say, or nothing (1977), through semi-autobiographical textslittle by little, the annie ernaux (1940) places his gaze more and more interested in recording social disappointment through a blatant rejection of fiction. He thus enabled a textuality in which the self that is hyperanalysed, without today’s bombastic exhibitionism and phallologocentrism, extends its domains to an examination of alienation, one’s own and that of others.

Ernaux has built his writing career by way of largely sociological intellectual project. give accounts of a proletarian origin that in his social ascent questions his place in the world. In each new book she seeks to write, without becoming a pamphleteer or a militant, a denunciation that is completely political.

Ernaux writes against paternalistic bourgeois literature that builds an ideal (in many cases aestheticizing) that leaves no room for irony. As a reply, the ever-present verification of its working roots knew how to create the objectifying distances necessary for a social literature which is startling.

Annie Ernaux reinvents the age-old tradition of realism. Her notation exercises incorporate scenes into literature: the journey on a dirty intercity train, the exchange of glances with a lost alcoholic, the loneliness that inhabits the supermarket shelves.

Read together, the two short texts dedicated to questioning the relationship with his father and mother, the now classic The place (1984) and A woman (1988), turn the personal examination into a reflective judgment on the mandates and education of women. In Pure passion (1992), almost a confession, sex will be questioned with an unheard-of detachment, just at a time when self-fiction was gradually encouraged to say about sexuality that which had been silenced for a long time. In the frozen woman (1981), a completely autobiographical account becomes a major appeal; from the self as a powerful base and towards the community that we are and that we all make up with others, the surrounding world is never seen as exotic: Ernaux is a sign that states the things that it sees as signs. The murderous gesture of a father, a wandering beggar or the decision of an abortion, as in the remarkable The event (2000)They are social signs.

His notational exercises, as reservoirs of apprehension of transience, return its white writing (or without ornamental borders) of a strange classicityin scenes that literature had to re-incorporate: the journey on a dirty intercity train, the exchange of glances with a lost alcoholic or the solitude that inhabits the shelves of a supermarket, between frozen peas and pre-cooked pizzas, as crude theater of the everyday.

Ernaux thus reinvents the ancient and ancient tradition of realism, recovering ‘observance procedures’ as a project and severe work. Aimed at the death of parents or masturbation, with a language that does not skimp on slang or popular language, assumes an efficiency far from a French literature that is usually thought of as sumptuous.

La Ernaux -who lives in the Cergy-Pontoise conglomerate and who transcribes scenes of people we meet once in a lifetime- turns the fragments (or textual clots) of her dazzling outside diary (2015) a ethnotext. A record in which literature takes on a vivid task. Like someone who undertakes field work, using the resources of the human sciences, he captures the fatally perishable human, on the edge of the great metropolises, in monads of a humanity always in transit: “A group of adolescents in the New Town station near the escalator A girl alone surrounded by men. When she walks by, she’s saying in a cheerful voice, ‘Didn’t you tell your friends I’m two and a half months pregnant?’ Then there are laughs. As if this girl was in a desert, swept by the wind.

The authenticity of a voicewhich seems underhanded and describes scenes in crumbs or ‘records of lives’ of an ever greater reality, has gradually returned to its literature of a lacerating realism a true social duty. His careful impressionism of personal and urban notation never disregards a description, almost always neutral but at the same time heartfelt, where the self never intervenes to poetize but to point out contradictions.

In Ernaux, the self has a collective value.

annie Therese Blanche Ernaux won on Thursday the Nobel Prize for Literature 2022.


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Annie Ernaux, the one who won the Nobel