Kvinnan som den nödvändiga tomheten i mannens levnadskonst : en psykoanalytisk läsning av Bretons Nadja och Rodenbachs Det döda Brügge

by Birkholz, Emma

Abstract (Summary)
The starting point of this essay was the frustration I felt after having read the novel Nadja (1928) written by the French surrealist André Breton. The title promises the story of someone called Nadja but the promise stays unfulfilled. Recognition of this phenomenon, where a man writes a book about a woman, but the woman hardly is seen, made me want to examine it further.Using the theories of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan I analyze the relation between the male narrator and his female object. I also compare Nadja to a precursor: the novel Bruges-la-morte (1892) of the Belgian symbolist writer Georges Rodenbach. Their stories are, to a large degree, similar. The male main character meets a woman who becomes the center of his world for a short period of time, before he in Nadja rejects her, and in Bruges-la-morte kills her. What differentiates the two books mainly is, that whereas Breton uses Nadja as a tool to emancipate his unconscious in order to be able to create, Hugues tries to replace his dead wife with Jane in order to be able to desire a living object.The setting for both stories is the City, which seems to be analogous to the Woman. I examine the possible interpretations of the notion of the City as it appears in the two novels.The Lacanian notions of the Thing and objet petit a are essential for the understanding of the function of the Woman in these stories, I argue. Nadja is a femme-enfant, a muse, and the objet petit a for the male poet, i.e. the narrator of Nadja. Jane, the woman in Bruges-la-morte, is a femme fatale, and the Thing for the main character Hugues.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Södertörns högskola

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:12/11/2007

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