Patrick Modiano's Voice: from La Place de l’Etoile to Dora Bruder

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The way an author individualizes his writing is expressed through voice, a feature of writing that is often overlooked, generally not analyzed. The phenomenon of voice is not easy to grasp and when we think of Patrick Modiano, an adjective comes to mind, one which makes it even less detectable: imperceptible. Is it possible to analyze a voice that fades, that allows the contents to be “carried on writing”? However, examining Modiano's work, we realize that his voice is not homogeneous. On the contrary, the loud shouting voice of the young writer of the seventies is no longer the one of the mature novelist of the nineties. It has undergone esthetic metamorphoses. It leaves deep traces in the contemporary novel, but no critic would think to connect that voice to a shout. This paper examines Modiano's voice during the period between 1968 and 1997, attempting to reveal its evolution from La Place de l‘Etoile, via Missing Person up to Dora Bruder, studying the tension between outcry and whisper that destabilizes the writing. Two main questions demand analysis: What is Modiano's voice at the beginning of his career? Which transformations or tendencies has it undergone along these years?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-21
JournalCultural Intertexts
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2016


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