Imagining and Re-imagining the Life of Irène Némirovsky: ‘Le Vin de Solitude’ and ‘Le Mirador’

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Alex Belsey
pages: 1-26
First published online: 22 May 2015
Version: 30 May 2015

ABSTRACT
This paper approaches Irène Némirovsky’s 1935 novel ‘Le Vin de Solitude’ as a fictionalized autobiography in which Némirovsky’s experiences are displaced onto a fictionalized protagonist. To explore the possibilities of fictionalized life-writing this paper undertakes a comparative reading with ‘Le Mirador’ (1992) by Némirovsky’s surviving daughter Élisabeth Gille, an imagined memoir written from her mother’s perspective – a memoir that Némirovsky herself did not live to write. This paper considers questions of form and narrative perspective, progressing to address how both texts engage with their subject’s lived past in order to enact a cathartic or corrective process in the writing present.

Key words: fictionalized autobiography, memoir, trauma,catharsis.

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