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"L'artifice de l'écrivain" : représentation et imaginaire dans les fictions narratives de Théophile Gautier

Abstract : From accounts given in the time of the author to those collected nowadays, critics have always seen in Gautier's writing the means to create “tableaux à la plume”. The question of the specificities of each and every artistic form thus arises from this remark. Even though Théophile Gautier does not overtly explain what he means by “l'artifice de l'écrivain”, he nevertheless makes it explicitly appear as inferior to the painter's device. Since the expression of Beauty by figurative arts is obvious and immediate, Gautier deplores the fact that literature, on the other hand, demands a process that unfolds in time in order to turn a word into an image. Indeed, time is fixed by the painting while it is part of the very dynamics of literature. Time must then be annihilated in order for the artist's only purpose to affirm itself as the quest for and desire of eternal and general Beauty. Beyond those considerations, the intersection between painting -as a formal representation- and writing -as imaginary representation- allows one to consider the narrative work as a challenge that a frustrated novice painter set for himself. The paintbrush can express visually what writing can only claim through the means of imagination, which leads Gautier to believe the paintbrush to be a more relevant device than the pen a priori. Whereas the brush suspenses the entropic process that necessarily tarnishes Beauty, the pen not only proves incapable of stopping time but even attempts to stretch it in order to euphemize its incidents. Therefore, the pictorial statics opposes the narrative mechanics. Without claiming to stop the time to which it is intrinsically subdued, writing rather uses this competence to immortalize in an artificial way both Beauty and the desire that precedes it.
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 29, 2018 - 1:21:44 PM
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Marie Rasongles. "L'artifice de l'écrivain" : représentation et imaginaire dans les fictions narratives de Théophile Gautier. Littératures. Université de Lorraine, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014LORR0279⟩. ⟨tel-01751566⟩



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