Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Modern Foreign Languages

Major Professor

John B. Romeiser

Committee Members

Timothy Hiles, Mary McAlpin, Eric Koch


André Malraux is a prolific French writer, adventurer, art historian, statesman, and Minister of Cultural Affairs for 11 years (1958-1969). Malraux was a man of action in the service of noble causes. In 1933, one of Malraux's most famous novels, La Condition humaine (Man's Fate), was published. It won the Goncourt Prize and established his international reputation. Born on November 3, 1901 in Paris, he was a son of the 20th century. A witness to the history of his century, he left to the future generations a literary heritage of great importance. His main preoccupation was the “mystery of man” and art.

The notion of man and his destiny is at the core of Malraux’s prolific work. The original and essential part of his literary work is the reflection on art. In my dissertation: La modernité esthétique chez André Malraux: La quête du “primitif,” I explore the enigmatic nature of the concept of the “primitive” in art history context and according to Malraux’s writing. My approach is to examine and analyze the multiple facets of the metamorphosis in time and space of the “primitive,” according to Malraux’s writing, and to find how his “essential man” fits with the idea of “primitive” art.

Through later research, I hope to deepen the theme of the “primitive” in Malraux’s writing and end up with a comprehensive study of Malraux and modern artists like Braque, Chagall, and Picasso, among other artists, examining their relation with Malraux and his relation to modern art, always analyzing his thoughts regarding the “primitive”.

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