L'Evangile selon Michel: la Trinité initiatique dans l'oeuvre de Tournier

by Milne, Lorna

Abstract (Summary)
Restricted Item. Print thesis available in the University of Auckland Library or available through Inter-Library Loan. This thesis sets out to examine Michel Tournier's fictional presentation of the Holy Trinity, and to establish the Trinity as a model for the three steps of the initiatory structure which underlies Tournier's work. The thesis is divided into three major parts. (i) The first part itself contains three sub-divisions. Chapter One elucidates the qualities of Tournier's God the Father and of the world this Father creates. The second chapter concentrates on man's Fall and exile from the status quo established by the Father, and notes the way in which these archetypal events serve as a point of reference in Tournier's writing for the first step of the initiatory trials of his characters, which typically begin with the "exile" of the neophyte. The third chapter rejects the proposition that the itinerary of Tournier's heroes consists of an attempt to re-establish Paradise lost, and it defines the initiatory quest as Progressive rather than regressive. (ii) The figure of God the Son presides over Part Two. The first three chapters establish the essential characteristics of Tournier's Son by focussing in turn on the Nativity, the figure of the child, and a series of alimentary symbols associated with Christ, all of which show him to be linked to images of (amongst others) regression, depth and sacrifice. Chapter Four traces the same associations to the second stage of the initiatory quest and demonstrates the links between the exemplary model of the Son and the second sequence of initiation. Finally, Chapter Five completes the study of Tournier's Son by comparing the two "icons" of the Transfiguration and the Crucifixion in Tournier's work, and concluding that, contrary to the author's own declared opinion, it is the Crucifixion which encapsulates the essence of Tournier's Christ. (iii) Following a preamble which stresses the supremacy of the Holy Spirit in Tournier's universe, Part Three comprises three main chapters, each of which explores an attribute of Tournier's Holy Spirit ("vent," "semence," and "parole"), while discovering their links to that spiritual "rebirth" which marks the third phase of the initiatiory process. Finally, having shown that the three persons of the Trinity and the relations between them act as a paradigm for the initiation of Tournier's fictional protagonists, the thesis concludes by suggesting that Tournier's writing can itself be seen as an initiation of the reader, with the writer himself envisaged in the guiding roles of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:01/01/1991

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