Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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Nathalie Sarraute created a new style of writing, renouncing the accepted literary forms by discarding conventional ideas about plot, chronology, and characterization. Research in this area has consistently shown that, in Sarraute, language is at the heart of her drama. However, this essay emphasizes that she played with the power of words and silences to make us hear far beyond the social surface of discourse and grasp what is really going on in the minds of the interlocutors. Against the structural linguistics of her time, Sarraute concentrated on every phoneme, every syllable of a word or an expression, testing and retesting it from all angles until those extremely rapid "invisible reactions" that we sense inside us--those inner movements called "tropisms" by Sarraute--become perceptible. Briefly, the prelinguistic impulses, which are the basic emotions underlying everyday human interrelationships, become the key concept of all her short, intense plays under the form of "logodrama."

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