Michel Tournier: Exploring Human Relations

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Michel Tournier is generally recognised as one of the most significant and internationally influential French writers to emerge in the post-war period. His first novel, Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique (1967), won the Grand Prix du Roman de l’Académie Française. His second, Le Roi des Aulnes (1970), was awarded the prestigious Prix Goncourt, the first novel to do so unanimously. Since 1972 Tournier has been a member of the elite Académie Goncourt. His books, of which he has published more than twenty, have been translated into 25 languages and also published in Braille.

This book examines the tapestry of human relations presented in Tournier’s works: twinship, homosexuality, heterosexuality, the relationship between adult and child, as well as the wider relationship between man and Nature. It aims to establish the ultimate significance of Tournier’s view of human relationships within his project as a writer, and to relate his view of human relations to his concern for human well being. Tournier champions dissidence and marginality, and advocates a tolerance of deviation from the established norm. This provocative and controversial attitude has sometimes laid him open to charges of perversion. Like Michel Foucault, his natural preserve is the ‘contested space’ where inner experience conflicts with social codes. By aiming to touch the reader in this intimate sphere, Tournier’s influence on the reader’s mode of being-in-the-world – especially on what he sees as socially determined, and ultimately repressive, emotional responses and structures of thought – is potentially radical and far reaching. For Tournier, the human couple is but part of a wider exploration of the human condition; yet while transcended in the act of creation, its spirit is never forgotten.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBristol, U. K.
PublisherBristol Academic Press
Number of pages308
ISBN (Print)9780951376294
Publication statusPublished - May 2003


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