The Literary Prehistory of Right Bank New Wave Cinema

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Andrew, Dudley


This dissertation offers a history and interpretation of the Right Bank New Wave (Chabrol, Godard, Rivette, Rohmer, Truffaut) from the perspective of the literary culture in which it was embedded and from the perspective of the Tradition of Quality (Autant-Lara, Christian-Jaque, Delannoy) against which it defined itself. I look at screenwriters and screenplays, the paperback revolution, and the contemporary literary field, especially the discourse on Balzac, Stendhal, and the “mal du siècle,” which dominated the postwar literary imagination. I shift the debates surrounding the transition from late classical cinema to modern cinema away from the focus on the change in production and aesthetics. Instead, I reframe this transition in relation to competing claims on nineteenth-century modernity.

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