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La représentation de la nudité dans la littérature du XVIIIe siècle

Abstract : This doctoral thesis is an interdisciplinary study on the question of the representation of nudity in French literature, medicine and artistic discourse in the second half of the eighteenth century. Considering that the naked body is inseparable from the sense of sight, we reveal the idea that the elaboration of a gaze determine a plurality of representations of the undressed body. By the study of texts of different types, this thesis presents a process demonstrating the link between the looking and the nudities in the Enlightenment. From technical words revealing the anatomical detail to descriptions in veiled terms, the writing and the reading of the undressed body are such as a textual and visual interaction (Chapter I). The second chapter is devoted to the effects attributed to the nude in the eighteenth century and presents, through the study of anatomical plates, how the gaze on the bare body can be constructed. The following chapters examine successively the nudities according to different ways of seeing. Voyeurism (Chapter III) and observation (Chapter IV) promote the representation of anatomical detail, the creation of topical figures and the staging of the naked body. The following chapters show that the body can also be mentally undressed. Clothes and draperies, proportions and colors guide a trajectory allowing to see, to touch, to feel and to imagine the nudity (Chapter V). From “costume” to skin, from muscles to bones, the body appears as a set of superimposed layers offering the possibility of a penetrating eye. Clothes and integument once removed, nakedness becomes the image of a physical and moral interiority explored by doctors and writers (Chapter VI). The seventh and final chapter shows that nudity is a way of thinking through decentered or focused gazes. The naked body reflects to the dressed man of the Enlightenment his own image. The fashions, the exhibition of "savages" and the auscultation are also situations in which the physician's figure is drawn in relation to the naked female body.The representations of the undressed body in the eighteenth century are created between sight and touch, between the whole body and its parts, between the clothed and the naked, between the surface and the depth. They proceed from the fragmentation, the magnification, the stripping and the reification of the body and its parts. They involve textual processes, generic and disciplinary contaminations, creations of figures such as bathers, athletes, men of letters, Venus of all kinds, allegories and anatomies. Based on the construction of the gaze and the interactions between arts, literature and medicine, this thesis invites us to discover the nudities of the Enlightenment.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 5, 2018 - 4:29:55 PM
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Bénédicte Prot. La représentation de la nudité dans la littérature du XVIIIe siècle. Littératures. Université de Lorraine; Université de Fribourg (Suisse), 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017LORR0095⟩. ⟨tel-01759753⟩



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