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Marianne Bessy


This study shows how Vassilis Alexakis crafts a metatextual staging of writing and creates a generic tension between autobiography and fiction in his novel La Clarinette in order to turn the act of writing into the main subject of the novel, to emphasize the independence of the text, and to demonstrate the aporia to which normative critical tendencies lead when it comes to the writing of the self. After an overview of autofictional critical theories, this study focuses on the self-reflexive and self-referential features of La Clarinette, a work of fiction in which the personalities of the author, of the narrator, and of the main protagonist overlap. In this novel, the act of writing is put to the forefront in a playful manner: the narrator is in the process of writing a novel and he comments on his own career as a writer; the text gradually reveals a dense alexakian intertextual network, and reading La Clarinette becomes a sort of literary treasure hunt where the reader encounters the supernatural or deciphers hidden references to great 19th century French writers. This study shows that the author’s desire to blend autobiographical and fictional elements in this novel is not simply reducible to a selfish impulse. Rather, the central place given to the author and to his experience as a writer along with the metatextual features of La Clarinette are motivated by a desire to turn the act of writing and literature into the main themes of the novel.