Les symptômes de l'histoire : l'intime et le collectif dans Des hommes de Laurent Mauvignier

Title: Les symptômes de l'histoire : l'intime et le collectif dans Des hommes de Laurent Mauvignier
Author: Eibl, Doris G.
Source document: Études romanes de Brno. 2012, vol. 33, iss. 1, pp. [97]-104
  • ISSN
    1803-7399 (print)
    2336-4416 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

This article focuses on the question to what extent Laurent Mauvignier's Des hommes is not simply a novel on the Algerian War but also an enquiry into how past experiences inform the present, making it a symptom of the past. The novel's characters are both subjects and objects, caught up in the remorseless mechanism of repressing, remembering and forgetting. The questions that arise in view of the novel's major themes help to make sense of Laurent Mauvignier's poetic choices in approximating the past: how and to what extent does literature make it possible to remedy the absolute absence of the past? Does literature enable us to reconsider the logic of historiography's dominant knowledge about the past? How does literature proceed in order to link the intimate and individual to collective history, thereby signalling that the intimate is inextricably tied to the collective and vice versa? Laurent Mauvignier's novel shows that collective memory, which is always polyphonic, may be the best means to reactualise a complex past and that perhaps this is only possible in fiction.
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