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Écrire la fin et la mémoire des mondes : une ethnocritique d’Atala, René, les aventures du dernier Abencerage

Abstract : The question of the end of civilizations holds a major place in Chateaubriand's work. His novels, Atala, René and The Last Abencerage, written during the Revolution and the Empire, evoke, through the figure of “the last”, the end of the indigenous societies of America, Muslim Andalusia, Louis XIV's France, the end of the Jesuit communities, of the French provinces and traditional Scotland. Drawing on the work of Vincent Descombes, we analyse how fictional writing transforms these disappeared societies into “worlds”, into coherent universes structured by a system of values, their own rhetoric and cosmology. The plot is developed on a historical “gap” (H. Arendt, F. Hartog), in an inter-world : this rift between two worlds, this border space-time, is not only the framework of the fiction, it is also its subject. Writing does not aim to reconstitute lost worlds but to represent the passage from one world to another, or a double passage : that of the reader to the worlds to which the text initiates him, and that of the old world to the new world. The many descriptions of rites (shamanic, Islamic, Christian) can be read as keys to understanding these passages. By exploring the hypothesis formulated by the ethnocriticsm of a possible homology between rite and narrative, we will study the rite dimension of this writing that reconfigures lost worlds. These worlds are developed through writing in three ways: utopia, the golden age, and what we call, using Daniel Fabre's words, "the land of time". The notion of “negative truth” (Lévi-Strauss) encourages us to read utopia as a criticism of the colonial enterprise. The “political myth” of golden age (R. Girardet) reads Andalusia as a myth on the despotic drift of all regimes. The “land of time” includes all those worlds in which the perception of time obeys a logic other than that of modernity: so the narrative integrates the logic of oral cultures to perceive and inhabit the world in a different way. Three ways to write the modern world, but in “counterpoint” (Edward Said). The writing of the memory of the worlds requires a mixed writing that integrates diverse cultural logics.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 1:48:09 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-02518676, version 1

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Simon Lanot. Écrire la fin et la mémoire des mondes : une ethnocritique d’Atala, René, les aventures du dernier Abencerage. Littératures. Université de Lorraine; Université du Québec à Montréal, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019LORR0281⟩. ⟨tel-02518676⟩

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