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Pulsion et résistance :Émancipation, liberté et tendances conservatrices dans trois romans d'Anne Hébert

by Carlshamre, Katarina, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis investigates some motifs in the fiction of Québec writer Anne Hébert (1916-2000), largely by exploring interesting affinities with notions in the philosophy of Luce Irigaray (1930-). The main focus is on the young female characters and their way to adulthood in three of Hébert’s books: her first novel, Les chambres de bois (LCB, 1958) and two of her later works, Aurélien, Clara, Mademoiselle et le Lieutenant anglais (AC, 1995) and Est-ce que je te derange ? (ECD, 1998). The study also addresses the situation of the male characters and the difficulties which confront them within a phallocentric order. It is argued that a comparison with features of Irigaray’s thought can shed light both on the emancipatory and the conservative tendencies in the novels. In particular, it is Irigaray’s notion of mimesis that proves to be fruitful for a deeper understanding of the female protagonists in the analysed works, but her specific use of the Oidipus complex, and her vision of a culture of sexual difference, also give important clues for the interpretation of both male and female figures in Herbert’s texts. With regard to LCB, it is shown that it is only when the female protagonist consciously positions herself as a reflection of male desire, as a mimetic figure, that substantial change comes about. In AC the female character is an incarnation of “utopian mimesis” and represents a new order. In ECD the female protagonist functions as a manifestation of a “symptomatic mimesis” and thereby becomes a catalyst for the revelation of the repressed sensibility of the male subject. Irigaray’s reading of the Oidipus complex is used to evince the utopian tendencies in AC, but also to explore how the male characters of all three works are stuck in a denied repetition of their childhood, which leaves little room for change. Irigaray’s vision of a culture of sexual difference provides a comprehensive picture of a place towards which all three novels can be seen to aim.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; Languages and linguistics; Romance languages; French language; Anne Hébert; Luce Irigaray; feminism; mimesis; Quebec; francophone literature; sexual difference; French; franska

ISBN:978-91-85059-45-4

Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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