Document Type


Date of Award



Mansour, Joyce, French literature, Translations, Criticism and interpretation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Comparative Literature

First Advisor

Marilyn Gaddis Rose

Second Advisor

Alexander Fischler

Third Advisor

Kenneth C. Lindsay


One of the most distinguished and singular adherents to the Surrealist credo in literature is the contemporary French writer and poet Joyce Mansour, who, by virtue of her extensive literary production has unquestionably become one of the most widely read creative figures within the Surrealist mode. The purpose of my dissertation is precisely that of assessing the importance of Joyce Mansour within the Surrealist movement, by an analysis and interpretation of the inception and development of two of her literary works: Ça and Histoires Nocives.

In the course of the study, my critical perspective will be guided by a fourfold division. The first and third chapters of the dissertation will contain translations of Ça and Histoires Nocives. The second and fourth chapters will center on the tracing of the development of Joyce Mansour as a writer through a critical discussion of these two works. I shall identify certain basic themes in her writings, and trace critically their artistic and aesthetic value within Ça and Histoires Nocives.

The themes most generally evoked with urgent immediacy are in the narrative:

  1. Love and its multiform manifestations (filial, paternal, maternal, sadistic, incestuous, hermaphroditic, lesbian, “natural,” demonic, intellectual etc.)
  2. Search for epistemological realization (artistic, creative, aesthetic etc.)
  3. Nihilism and pantheism (phenomenology of nature)
  4. Semantic sexuality
  5. Incantatory style and oneiric vision.

The second and fourth chapters will obviously constitute the fundamental core and essence of my investigation since it centers on the clarification of Mansour's artistic vision and on the identification of those structural modes within which that vision is expressed. These chapters will, of course, give prominence to the genre most frequently used as the artistic vehicle for the elaboration of her intellectual universe: the récit or nouvelle.