2015 Talks

In Search of Patrick Modiano


Wednesday, 18 March 2015




Arts, LT 3



An illustrated talk presenting the work of 2014 Nobel Prize Winner Patrick Modiano.

When French writer Patrick Modiano was awarded the Nobel prize for literature last October, few people in Britain had heard his name. And even in France, some expressed surprise at the choice of the Swedish Academy. Modiano was born in 1945. His work demonstrates the significance of that date. He was recently described as ‘the poet of the Occupation and a spokesman for the disappeared’, which points to two crucial dimensions of his work: his distinctive style and the strong human empathy that is at the root of his writing.

Most of his books feature a mystery which never quite gets solved. His characters are haunted by the past but it is very much in the present that his readers are invited to consider the damaging effects of time and memory. Endlessly walking the streets and less-known corners of Paris in search of an elusive but important answer is his favourite approach, mirrored in the ambiguous narratives of his stories.

This talk will be an opportunity to explore what makes the depth and the current relevance of his work: in short we will begin to show why his writing – which also includes screenplays such as Lacombe Lucien – is so compelling.

Presented by the Department of Modern Languages (French Studies)