Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Arts


This research topic was selected because no in-depth comparative analysis has yet been published on these writers. Valery is one of the greatest French 'philosophers' and writers and Borges is an outstanding contemporary writer. The objective of this thesis is to further understanding of the density of their texts. This thesis will also concentrate on their original literary styles and a certain number of their unconventional and untraditional techniques. A comparative study of some of their works in prose and poetry will be studied in this thesis. We will also discuss their literary views and ideologies. Both had common influences such as Edgar Allan Poe, Descartes and Pascal amongst others. They both have in their turn influenced many contemporary authors and have contributed to developments in modern literature. This thesis will begin with a comparative study of La Soiree avec Monsieur Teste by Valery and Ia Mort et Ia Boussole , a short story by Borges. For most critics, Borges' fictions are by far the most memorable and interesting part of his work. A study of Borges' fiction requires a study of fiction as a genre. His fictions are similar to those written by Cervantes and contain lessons in human conduct. However Borges' fictions are original. Borges' character Lonnrot, for example, proceeds logically by deduction. On the other hand, Valery's Monsieur Teste essentially depicts moments, instances of the functioning of the mind. Valery is interested in the complexity of different states of the mind. Monsieur Teste is a state of the intellect rather than a traditional character. Both Valery's "Monsieur Teste” and Borges' “lonnrot" are intellectual “monsters" and have common origins in Edgar Allan Poe's "Inspector Dupin". We have limited ourselves in this study to Valery's published works and the La Pleiade Edition of his Cahiers. A further study could be undertaken using the 29 volumes of photocopied manuscipts in the CNRS Edition. This is not our objective for a thesis at this particular level. As for Borges, the Emece Edition will mainly be used. Our work is essentially based on a textual and comparative analysis. A lot of the framework will be provided by the postmodernist ideologies which stem to a certain extent from these writers amongst others. This thesis will certainly not be a traditional reading of texts but one inspired by some of the critical tools derived from Derrida and other contemporary critics as exemplified in Jarrety's study of Valery's works. In this thesis, no attempt will be made to analyse the lives of Borges or Valery. We are concerned here with their texts and their influences on other texts. Valery and Borges objected in a certain number of ways to the Goncourt literary traditions of the novel and by doing so both influenced significantly the world of literature.


Thesis in French, abstract in English