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De l'errant à l'artiste: le Rayonnement d'Ulysse dans l'oeuvre romanesque de Jean Giono
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Modern Languages.
2009 (French)Book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

This thesis in a tripartite disposition is intended to analyse and synthesize conscious and unconscious reminiscences of reading Homer in Jean Giono’s works, especially the figure of Odysseus polytropos or polymècanos, and to elucidate how the modern author through his characters regenerates this topos. Despite the fact that these two authors sprang from, in time and space, remotely situated places in the Mediterranean soil, the agrarian and manufacturing societies to which they belonged had many similarities. But, at a distance of thirty centuries, the comparison would seem risky if, in these two cases, the account did not intervene after a major conflict (The Trojan War and The First World War respectively) that changed the course of history. This form of logos meta polémon, exposing real and fictional exploits, imposed itself upon the minds of those who survived the cataclysm. Following Giono in his real and imaginary wanderings, this study is intended to show how the circularity of thought interweaves with the aspiration to discover new horizons. Impetus, or the enthusiasm for treading on new grounds, harmonizes with the myth of circumnavigation, where the author with his characters, being a prey to distrust or in the grip of Gorgon, is in search of his self. Assuming different aspects of Odysseus´s personality, and adopting his attitudes, Giono’s vagabonds attempt to measure the world in order to survive. The study embraces the accommodation between the myth and the truth, the latter considered as the “deeper truth” that mythopoeic fictions often embody. Odysseus’s skill in giving verisimilitude to his falsehood is shown in the wanderers’ constant laborious struggle to obtain pitance, everyday existence. In this art of survival, the cunning (dólos) and the reasoning (logos), led by the mètis (the stratagem of intelligence), influence the action and the structure of the novel. The chapter that treats of poïésis undertakes to intertwine the composition of the images with the musicality of the texts. The personification of the elements, the most important source of Giono’s art, perpetuating their divinisation practised by Homer, conserves the alétheia (the truth/non-forgetfulness) and this, in turn, guarantees the mnesis (the memory). Analysis of the creation of the text, the poïésis, in which the author’s inner voice is revealed, leads to a series of questions regarding the work´s opening with the torch towards the future. The study never loses sight of the fact that the whole of literature reflects a society in which the author is formed, and in which he tries to distinguish himself from others through his work. From there emanate socioeconomic points of view, such as those Gabriel Germain presented regarding the bard´s status: from the first inspiration to the cunning mastery of the language. The study in the confluence of the literary and the socio-historical approaches does not aim to restrain the essentials of imagination in Jean Giono’s works, but to consider their origin as the fundamental experience of those who in literature aspire to attain the universal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2009. , 171 p.
Studia Romanica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0562-3022 ; 78
Keyword [en]
errance, vérité/mensonge, narration, mémoire
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-104029ISBN: 978-91-554-7425-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-104029DiVA: diva2:219259
Available from: 2009-05-27 Created: 2009-05-27 Last updated: 2013-06-12Bibliographically approved

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