résumés / abstracts

François Gallix : interview de Kazuo Ishiguro (extraits)
Catherine Bernard, "Le statut de l'analogie dans la fiction anglaise contemporaine et son interprétation"
Christian Gutleben, "La nostalgie postmoderne dans Ever After de Graham Swift"
Michel Morel, "Hiérophanie - Epiphanie : Golding, Swift et les autres"
Nathalie Pavec, "Apparitions spectrales dans le monologue final de The Waves de Virginia Woolf"
Frédéric Regard, "Pornographie et postféminisme. Théorie du 'pornogramme' chez Angela Carter"
Brigitte Malinas-Vaugien, "La création, projection corporelle et textuelle de l'artiste, dans Free Fall de William Golding"
Eileen Williams-Wanquet, "L'histoire remise en cause : Indigo de Marina Warner"

Interview de Kazuo Ishiguro (The Sorbonne Lecture) : extraits

(par François Gallix)

François Gallix: This will be my last question. It's a question about history. And I'm quoting an article from Le Monde (23/02/90) by Nicole Zand who wrote: ‘There is in Ishiguro, born in 1954, something of a Patrick Modiano, an obsession with troubled periods which they were born too late to have lived through and that have left an indelible mark on their lives’. So, the question is about your own vision of history and about its inclusion in your fiction and particularly in The Remains of the Day, but not only. This idea, in fact, of having to bring back to your memory events that yourself couldn't have lived through, simply because of your age.

Kazuo Ishiguro: This question about the relationship to history is a very interesting area. I think it is particularly interesting for writers of my generation. I am forty-five years old. It applies to people who are also slightly older than me, too. A few years ago, I would have had a fairly simple answer to this question. I felt I had always used history almost as another kind of technical device. I always thought I was profoundly different from – say – a writer like Primo Levi, somebody who experiences something crucial to our history and who feels the urge to bear witness to it. I always thought that I and also other writers of my generation were almost like movie-makers, looking for location. We have a story and we look through our history books for a period and a place where this story could really come to life.

Alternatively, we may just look through history and think: ‘This is a very interesting period, I'm interested in it. I'll write a novel’. And to some extent – I don't know if this is the case here in France – in Britain, in the late 70s and early 80s, there was a kind of an inferiority complex on the part of the younger new emerging writers. The inferiority complex was this: that we lived in a very safe, affluent, boring country. And if we just wrote about our lives, what was going on on our doorstep, if we simply wrote about British life as generations of writers had done before us – we would write a very small, provincial novel. We were aware that many people around the world had started to regard the modern British novel as being very inward-looking, obsessed with class, that nobody else was interested in. I think this had something to do with the fact that the British Empire had collapsed and that for many generations, British writers did not have to worry about being provincial. You could write about the British class system and it was automatically of global importance because of the huge Empire. I think Americans are now in this position. They can write a very inward-looking novel about going to night-clubs in Manhattan. It should be of interest for everybody around the world because of the dominance of American culture.

The British had this attitude for a long, long time. Perhaps it was this generation who came after the war who had suddenly realized that Britain was just British society, that it was suddenly very small and that the big questions of the age, in those days about communism and capitalism, or the third world, the South and the North, were somewhere else. Writers writing in East Germany, in Africa had it ready-made. Here we were in this quiet little place, what could we do? I think the answer a lot of us had was: you will either set books in Africa or in Eastern Europe – and some people did – or you look back through history and go to the last time, when everything was fragmented, when everything – democracy, stability – was really at risk. It's no coincidence if you often find a lot of writers who emerged in Britain in the 80s: Salman Rushdie, Graham Swift, Ian McEwan, you find them going back again and again to the war and more recently to the first world war (people like Sebastian Faulks, Pat Barker).

… / …

When I finished An Artist of the Floating World I felt I had written a very good manual about how to waste your life in the sense of your career and your vocation but I hadn't discussed or written very much about the emotional, personal area of one's life. It seemed to me that there are other perfectly great ways to waste your life, even if you had a splendid career that helped the world and the poor, your life was still somehow being impoverished, you just failed to live properly.

If in the personal arena you have failed to love and have proper relationships and so in The Remains of the Day I decided I'd write my second novel all over again except this time with this dimension as well and I thought perhaps if I changed the setting from Japan to England people wouldn't notice very much the similarity! So really those three books were attempts always to try again, try again.

By the time I finished The Remains of the Day I felt I had come to the end of that process and so for The Unconsoled I addressed slightly different things and this is natural. One of the difficult things for writers is that you tend to discover a voice at a certain point of your life. People praise you for it, people fix you up as a person who is good at this kind of thing, but of course you change, your life changes, you change as a person as you get older, you change as a writer probably and I often see writers who are still stuck with the techniques and styles that were appropriate to them twenty, twenty-five years earlier in their lives and there is a difficulty: the voice is not coming through. In other words the techniques have not kept up with the person changing in the world. I felt that I was in danger with this.

When I came to write The Unconsoled, I was as much older as the person who started these three novels. My fife had changed profoundly and my whole view of life had probably changed. I suppose, it felt slightly unsatisfactory to me, this notion that, as Stevens or as Ono does, you can at a certain late part in your life look back over your life and see a kind of a clear road that you've come down and you can point at this point and this point when you went wrong. Somehow, I'm not saying that's incorrect or not realistic, but that somehow it did not fit anymore my view of how life was, or life might be when I got to that age. I'm not sure that life really can be seen as a kind of clear path where you took a few wrong turns.

 In The Unconsoled I wanted to express my feeling that it wasn't that controlled, that there was no path. Fate, circumstances, deterministic forces pick you up and just put you down somewhere and then you say: ‘Oh yes, I'm rather glad I chose to do this job, I'm glad I married this person’ and then you make pronouncements about what you're going to be doing in the future and then this wind picks you up again and puts you somewhere else and you're doing something completely different where the values that you've espoused before you have completely changed. You change everything to fit the place where you've been thrown down and you say 'Yes you know I'm working for this company because I believe in globalisation' but actually it is the only job you can get and this is how we tend to go through life, dignifying the position we have landed in. I don't want to make any definitive statement here but at the time when I wrote The Unconsoled I was trying to replace that model, which is a rather useful one for writing novels. You can write neat novels by having this model of roads and people taking the wrong paths, but I suspect that if we think about it, our lives are just not like that. It's usually a mess, about a man who's lost his schedule but is too embarrassed to admit it. That became the model for me rather than the road you've lived back on. That's the main difference.

Le statut de l'analogie dans la fiction anglaise contemporaine et son interprétation.

(Catherine Bernard).

Confrontés à une crise du sens, bien des romanciers anglais contemporains (Jeanette Winterson, Martin Amis, Graham Swift ...) ont choisi de développer des stratégies de représentation qui font de l'analogie tout à la fois un outil herméneutique permettant de percer l'opacité du monde et une forme de truchement heuristique par lequel quelque chose de son mystère serait restitué, à défaut d'être compris. En cela, il n'est pas interdit de penser que la littérature fait ainsi retour à un mode d'exploration du monde qui précède la modernité, à une vision de la logique du sens organique qui vient brouiller la relation conventionnelle entre représentant et représenté.

En cela aussi le recours à l'analogie vient confondre les stratégies interprétatives convenues, l'ensemble de la structure étant emportée dans une dérive analogique sans limites qui toujours anticipe sur le travail de la lecture.

Analogy in contemporary English Fiction and its interpretation.

Faced with the breakdown of meaning-making strategies, many contemporary English novelists (Jeanette Winterson, Martin Amis, Graham Swift ...) have chosen to develop modes of representation which massively favour analogy as a hermeneutic instrument allowing us to process experience and also as a form of heuristic strategy conveying part of reality's mystery and opacity.  In that sense, one may be entitled to consider that literature thus shifts back to a world-vision predating modernity itself, a world-vision that is more akin to an organistic and holistic ontology that subverts the conventional relation between signifier and signified.

In that respect, analogy also destabilizes our received interpretive strategies, the entire structure of the text being carried along and away by a mode of dissemination which always pre-empts any hermeneutic move the reader may care to make.

La nostalgie postmoderne dans Ever After de Graham Swift.

(Ch.  Gutleben).

Cet article se propose d'examiner dans quelle mesure Ever After, construit autour du pastiche d'un journal victorien, met en oeuvre une esthétique et/ou une idéologie de la nostalgie.  Manifeste dans l'activité même du pastiche, la tentation nostalgique se décèle surtout dans l'intertextualité explicite qui fait la part belle aux grands textes du passé. Pourtant, grâce à d'efficaces stratégies de distanciation ainsi qu'à une structure entropique tout à fait postmoderne, Ever After, contrairement à la majorité des romans britanniques qui s'attachent à faire revivre l'époque victorienne, se démarque clairement d'une dynamique nostalgique – sans toutefois échapper au paradoxe de ce type de postmodernisme qui progresse par le retour en arrière.

Nostalgic postmodernism in Ever After by Graham Swift.

This paper examines to what extent Ever After, a novel built upon a Victorian pastiche, displays an aesthetics and/or an ideology of nostalgia.  Obvious as it is in the very principle of pastiche, the nostalgic temptation is mainly perceptible in the system of explicit intertextuality which largely privileges the canonical texts of the past.  Nevertheless, thanks to a series of efficient distancing devices and to a definitely postmodern entropic structure, Ever After, unlike most other British novels bent on reviving the Victorian epoch, clearly breaks free from/of ? an aesthetics of nostalgia – without avoiding the paradox of this type of postmodernism which progresses by looking backwards.

Hiérophanie – Épiphanie : Golding, Swift et les autres.

(M.  Morel).

Les glossaires de termes littéraires ne semblent pas établir de différence claire entre la hiérophanie où Mircéa Eliade voit la manifestation du sacré, et l'épiphanie, qui dans sa première version joycienne correspond à la retranscription textuelle d'une perception dans sa vérité existentielle soudain révélée à celui qui en est le dépositaire.  L'acception critique du terme "épiphanie" dans son emploi courant recouvre ces deux sens.  Dégager la puissance perceptuelle de l'épiphanie de sa composante sacrée rapportée à la hiérophanie, rend à l'art sa dimension spécifique, ce dernier opposant sa mise à distance illuminante et inventive aux manifestations impératives d'un sacré exigeant la soumission à une vérité donnée.

Hierophany – Epiphany: Golding, Swift and others.

Literary glossaries do not distinguish between "hierophany" which, according to Mircea Eliade, is a manifestation of the divine, and "epiphany" which describes, in Joyce's original version, the textual transcription of a lived experience whose truth has suddenly been revealed to its subject.

The common use of epiphany in criticism refers to both meanings. Yet, extracting the perceptual dimension of epiphany, and ascribing its sacred component to hierophany, may contribute to specifying the aims of art, which is thus found to contrast its illuminating and inventive distance with the imperative submission to revealed truth prevailing in the sacred.

Apparitions spectrales dans le monologue final de The Waves Virginia Woolf.

(N. Pavec)

Le monologue final de Bernard dans The Waves permet d'aborder la question de la visibilité du sens en rapprochant perception et expression, l'expérience sensible du monde et le travail à l'œuvre dans le langage.  La fin du roman voit, en effet, le sens réinvestir le monde sensible après le "moment" de l'éclipse, les choses devenant le lieu d'incarnation de la "chose" essentielle "the thing that lies beyond the semblance of the thing" – dont la présence-absence paraît à la surface du visible, telle la nageoire à la surface de l'eau.  Le visible en vient à présentifier la chose dans son invisibilité et sa distance intrinsèques. De la même façon, à travers l'intertexte biblique – et singulièrement, eucharistique – qui la sous-tend, l'entreprise verbale de Bernard suscite la présence de Percival et fait apparaître à la surface du discours le sens du passé, et du roman tout entier : le travail de la métaphore ouvre une dimension paradigmatique, révélant une épaisseur dans le langage, un horizon d'invisible doublant en filigrane la surface visible.  Finalement, l'écriture woolfienne développe cette figuralité du langage, notamment dans le flottement des pronoms indéterminés qui amènent la chose au jour de la langue sans pourtant lui ôter son ambiguïté obscure.  Ainsi se donne à entendre en sourdine une parole de l'envers, par laquelle s'exprime le rêve d'un "nouveau langage."

Spectral apparitions in Bernard's final monologue in The Waves.

The point of this paper is to discuss the visibility of meaning and draw a parallel between perception and expression, man's experience of the world and the workings of language.  The eclipse of the self at the end of Bernard's summing up in the final chapter of The Waves leads to the dawn of a world pregnant with meaning: "bare things," "things in themselves" become the locus for the incarnation of that "thing that lies beyond the semblance of the thing" which rises from the deep and appears onto the surface like a fin rising in the wastes of water.  The visible thus bears testimony to the presence of the essential thing which manifests itself in its intrinsic invisibility and distance.  Similarly, the biblical – namely eucharistic – intertext underlying Bernard's summing up conjures up Percival's presence and makes the essence of the past – and of the whole book – dawn upon the surface of speech.  Indeed, the metaphorical process opens up a paradigmatic dimension in language and reveals a field of invisibility present as a watermark, both beyond and within the visible surface.  Eventually, from the figurativeness of language I pass on to the figurality of writing, which may be traced in the vacillation indefinite pronouns which bring the "thing" to the light of speech without depriving it of its essential ambiguity and mystery.  Hence the ghostly voice that is to be heard as if it rose from the other side of speech, a voice through which dawns the dream of a "new language".

Pornographie et postféminisme.  Théorie du "pornogramme" chez Angela Carter.

(F.  Regard)

La création, projection corporelle et textuelle de l'artiste, dans Free Fall de William Golding

Brigitte Malinas-Vaugien

L'histoire remise en cause: Indigo de Marina Warner.

(E.  Wanquet)

Dans son roman Indigo (1993), Warner reprend le thème du pouvoir de La Tempête de Shakespeare, l'enlevant de son contexte idéologique du dix-septième siècle pour l'inscrire dans le contexte occidental contemporain marqué par une conscience coupable par rapport à la colonisation.  Elle commence par ancrer son histoire dans un contexte colonial géographique et historique précis, avant de s'en démarquer par de légers glissements, s'octroyant le droit de faire primer la fiction sur les faits. Après avoir montré que l'histoire coloniale n'est qu'un mythe, une fiction comme une autre, elle "comble les béances" des textes antérieurs qui forment le soubassement de son roman, en rétablissant fictivement les voix des colonisés, passées sous silence dans les livres d'histoire, et celles des femmes, absentes de La Tempête.  Le but de ce roman, qui dénonce toute forme de tyrannie, est éthique. Reflet du passé, Indigo trace l'avenir.  En offrant de revoir le passé à la lumière d'une logique différente, voire subversive, Warner invite le lecteur à organiser l'avenir selon d'autres valeurs.