A Self-Conscious Art is the first full-length study in English to attempt to deal with the formal complexities of Modiano’s work, by reading ‘against the grain’ of his self-professed ingenuousness. A detailed examination of his narratives shows the deeply postmodern nature of his writing. Parodying precursors such as Proust or the nouveau romanciers, his narratives are built around a profound lack of faith in the ability of writing to retrieve the past through memory, and this failure is acknowledged in the discreet playfulness that characterises his novels. This book is a timely introduction to the work of one of the most successful modern French novelists.
Akane Kawakami is Senior Lecturer in French Literature at Birkbeck, University of London. She has written numerous articles on modern and contemporary French and Francophone literature, and is the author of A Self-Conscious Art: Patrick Modiano’s Postmodern Fictions (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000); Travellers’ Visions: French Literary Encounters with Japan, 1881-2004 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2005); and Photobiography: Photographic Self-Writing in Proust, Guibert, Ernaux and Macé (Oxford: Legenda, 2013). She has also published two books of essays in Japanese, introducing aspects of English culture to a Japanese readership.