L’apocalypse selon Marie-Claire Blais

Title in English The Apocalypse according to Marie-Claire Blais


Year of publication 2019
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Lectures de Marie-Claire Blais
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Marie-Claire Blais; apocalyptic imaginary; ethos; narrative polyphony
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Description The apocalyptic theme, namely in the cycle Soifs, is not an isolated phenomenon within the literary landscape of Quebec. Let us recall the names of Jocelyne Saucier, Nicolas Dickner, Gaétan Soucy or Michel Tremblay and the critics devoted to their works. However, the apocalyptic imagination of Marie-Claire Blais is distinguished by its insistence, its intensity and its modulation that is half narrative, half lyric. One of the elements of the apocalyptic theme is not only the idea of catastrophe, but above all the question of Evil and Good linked to a polarized axiology. In this context, ethos has an eminently narrative function, for it is capable of giving meaning to the story by relating the private life to the great History, the individual to the collective and both of them to the transcendent. This is the point where imaginary and topics enter the structuring enargeia which conditions and justifies writing. In the context of Marie-Claire Blais’ works, the emergence of apocalyptic sensitivity will refer to single creative periods represented by Une saison dans la vie d’Emmanuel (1966) Visions d’Anna (1982), Pierre (1986) and the cycle Soifs (1995-2015). In this perspective, the apocalyptic theme appears as a transformation of the adolescent novel of the 1960s by an enlargement of the narrative strategies that from individual and family topics head to a communitary approach. Observing this conceptual change of the writing strategy, our study proposes to analyze the major constituent parts of Marie-Claire Blais’ apocalyptic universe: character configuration, evolution of narrative polyphony, recurring themes, components of the imaginary, construction of lyrical emotion. An evolution will be noted in the narration: the subversive irony of early works shifts to a pluralistic and fusional strategy, being in search of the harmonia mundi and giving a growing role to art and creation as transfiguring elements of memory and history.
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