Privileged Moments in the Novels and Short Stories of J. M. G. Le Clézio. His Contemporary Development of a Traditional French Literary Device

Author: Moser, Keith
An original study of the “privileged moment” as a key to understanding
the work of Le Clézio, a 2008 winner for the Nobel Prize in Literature.


“The central thesis of this study is that the privileged moments, which appear right from the start of Le Clézio’s work, undergo a profound transformation in both representation and meaning following the author’s shamanic experiences among the tribes in the Darien region of Panama in the 1970s: these experiences are described in some details in Haï, Mydriase, and “Le Genie Datura.” . . . truly enriches our understanding and appreciation of privileged moments in literature and in life.” - Prof. Bruno Thibault, University of Delaware

“Thematic studies such as this monograph by Keith Moser serve to highlight a salient feature of Le Clézio’s work: what he terms “privileged moments” in several novels and short stories. The memorable scenes of ecstatic awareness or intense sensation have antecedents in Proust, Sartre, and Camus, according to Moser’s broad view. . . . His close readings make a compelling case for examining the sensory and the sensual encounters that lie at key junctures in the characters’ earthly wanderings. - Prof. Walter Putnam, University of New Mexico

“. . .an indispensable tool for understanding the contemporary author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio. . . . The moments are not only psychological refuges, but attain a metaphysical dimension which leads to an ontological [dimension]: suspension of time with the search of limitless happiness.” - Prof. Gérard Abensour, Ecole Normale Supérieure

“Dr. Moser deals particularly well with the nuances inherent in such an effort to explain a wide range of works that embrace both eastern and western philosophies, with a particular experience that carries the narrators (and, hopefully, the readers) outside the contingencies of time and space that, on the surface, might appear as positive or negative, life-affirming or abyss-embracing.” - Prof. Jack Jordan, Mississippi State University

Table of Contents

Contemporary French author J.M.G. Le Clézio is one of the most respected and prolific writers of his era. In this specific investigation, the intricacies as well as the limitations and paradoxes of three distinct types of “privileged moments’ in Le Clézio’s writings are methodologically explored. The author explores manifestations of these moments in the writings of earlier twentieth-century French writers such as Marcel Proust, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus. The work also charts Le Clézio’s literary transformation, the inexplicable instances of euphoria of his characters in commune with nature, and ends with a systematic investigation of sexual ecstasy shared with an Other in Désert, Le Chercheur d’or, and La Quarantaine.

Foreword by Prof. Bruno Thibault
1. Literary Precursors
2. Le Clézio’s Early Texts: From Existentialism to Lyricism
3. Privileged Moments Related to Nature’s Elements
4. Musicality and Privileged Moments in Le Clézio’s Works
5. Shared Moments of Sexual Ecstasy with an “Other”
6. Conclusion