French Studies in Southern Africa - Volume 2005, Issue 35, 2005
Volumes & issues
Volume 2005, Issue 35, 2005
Author Vanessa EversonSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2005, pp 1 –26 (2005)More Less
The aim of the French Section of the University of Cape Town is to teach French, but in our view, the challenge is not only to meet learners' linguistic needs but also, within a broader context, to contribute to strengthening the sometimes precarious social stability of our young democracy. Study of Francophone literature can be instrumental in this regard; not only does this comply with the latest developments in Didactique Langues-Cultures, but it also dovetails with the quest for identity which is vital for self-awareness and an understanding of others. To this end, this article revisits the vexed question of teaching literature, after which it advocates a cross cultural approach for the teaching of contemporary Moroccan women's fiction at tertiary level and then provides several concrete examples of possible pedagogical activities.
Author Francois JaquesSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2005, pp 27 –37 (2005)More Less
General Charles de Gaulle, as he records in his mémoires, always felt himself inextricably linked with the history and destiny of France. He considered himself to be the servant of France, ready to defend the country in times of crisis. De Gaulle imposed himself strongly as the real leader of France from his voluntary exile in London and he acquired a prestige through his appeal to the French not to surrender during the occupation. However, there remained a measure of ambivalence in his relationship with his country. The mémoires make it quite clear that he loved his country and was prepared to work tirelessly to restore France's grandeur yet he also saw the people of France in a different light, describing them as divided amongst themselves and given to flights of the imagination. This study concentrates on the one hand on de Gaulle's self-image and, on the other, on his sometimes complex relationship with France and the French. In conclusion, the almost mythical character of Charles de Gaulle, who became a political reality in the early years of the Fifth Republic, led France to recapture its strength and self-respect at a critical period of its history.
Demain il fera jour ou Un Assassin est mon maître? Enfance et adolescence dans l'univers théâtrale de Henry Millon de MontherlantAuthor Shirley LeissnerSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2005, pp 38 –56 (2005)More Less
The dramatic works, novels and essays of Montherlant convey for the most part his pessimistic vision of the world as well as his misogynistic and arrogant attitude toward his fellow man. The present study examines the single note of optimism that pervades Montherlant's plays: that which is evoked by the role of the young boy or the adolescent. Further examination reveals that it is only until the age of 13 years that the young bring joy and delight or in fact deserve it themselves. Thereafter they prefigure their fathers and metamorphose into ungrateful, mediocre beings. They join the gallery of bitter, harsh and lonely men who populate the plays of Montherlant. The relationships, betrayals and misunderstandings between adult and youth, be it father and son, priest and boy, mother and child illustrate the theme examined in this article.
Author Jacqueline MachabeisSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2005, pp 59 –78 (2005)More Less
The striking resemblance between a portrait of Baudelaire drawn from a photo by Nadar and a photo of Malraux dating from the time of his Prix Goncourt was the starting point for this article, which explores the relationship between the two authors. Whether the similtarity of Malraux's pose is the result of a conscious choice or not is unknown. The fact remains that Malraux admired Baudelaire and said so on more than one occasion in his works. The photograph seems to testify to such admiration.
The study is divided into three phases. The first covers aspects of the life of both authors, which offer uncanny similitude. In particular, two instances receive special attention for they had a profound impact: travel to the East and a trial. Should the lives of artists constitute a valid point of departure for the understanding of their works? Here, it is assumed that they do.
The second phase of the study explores Baudelaire and Malraux's ideas on art. Malraux's famous concept of "musée imaginaire" seems to stem from Baudelaire's work. To exemplify this, the study makes reference to "Les Phares", a poetic expression of Baudelaire's own "imaginary museum". It emerges that Malraux offers a "positive" version of Baudelaire, as in the gestuel used in photography.
The third phase refers to Malraux's citations of Baudelaire, specifically in Les Voix du Silence and L'Homme précaire et la literature. In Les Voix du Silence the focus is on Baudelaire's relationship with the arts, quite logically due to the nature of Malraux's own thoughts in his first book devoted to this field. In L'Homme précaire et la literature, the only book he wrote entirely on literature, the focus is on the contrasting general and specific aspects of Malraux's references to Baudelaire. The general comments help little in exemplifying the exact nature of the relationship between the two authors, but the specific references lead to what seems to be at its core. Three quotations from Les Fleurs du Mal are examined in depth. Their unexpected interconnection is highlighted. Finally, in revealing Malraux's own vision of Baudelaire through a complex network of meanings and interpretation, this study confirms the similitude suggested by the photographs.
Portraits officiels, caricatures et réflexions dans la glace à main : le voyage de non retour de Marie-Antoinette, reine de FranceAuthor Naomi MorganSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2005, pp 79 –93 (2005)More Less
Marie-Antoinette's biography can be read from contemporary imagery: from official portraits, especially by Élisabeth Vigée Lebrun, and from the less flattering caricatures and the almost pornographic illustrations circulating in the form of pamphlets. By juxtaposing her portrait gallery with that of the supreme model, Louis XIV, this article investigates the role of the image in ultimately condemning the queen to death.
Author Leopold PeetersSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2005, pp 94 –114 (2005)More Less
The action of Corneille's Illusion comique is situated in a cave where a magician produces a play which in turn opens up towards another play inside the first one. Since the action coincides with the duration of the performance it is clear that the author's aim is to show the workings of theatre as such. In this case Corneille produces a parody of existing theatre in order to justify and illustrate dramatic art and while doing so he represents his own conception of what theatre should be as well as searching for a language adequate to this conception. The play then is a prospective parody in the positive sense of the word.
A play by the modern dramatist Anouilh entitled La grotte tempts us to compare the two plays and ask the question why the cave is an apt metaphor for theatrical space. Indeed Anouilh's play is also autoparodical but retrospectively: the author pretends to let his characters, some of which he has already used in previous productions, make his play and thereby incarnate the shadows he himself has dreamed. This comparison illustrates the allegorical meaning of the cavern as a complex space where reality is confronted with its image, where the world appears upside down and in a state of formation. In that sense theatre is an apt and scenic representation of the dramatic nature of the human mind which needs to convey reality to its ideal creations in order to test their validity.
Author Elizabeth SnymanSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2005, pp 115 –138 (2005)More Less
The present article explores the textual representation of the mother in Souvenirs Pieux, first volume of Marguerite Yourcenar's autobiographical trilogie Le Labyrinthe du monde. The study sets out to discover the nature of the textual relationship created by an author who never knew her own mother and to establish what the author thus reveals about herself. This analysis also considers different interpretations of the portrait of the mother figure in order to establish its importance in Yourcenar's writing.
L'écriture chez Kundera : voyage vers l'autre comme exploration existentielle du soi. Une lecture de L'insoutenable légèreté de l'êtreAuthor Alexia VassilatosSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2005, pp 139 –153 (2005)More Less
According to Milan Kundera, in his Art of the novel, the novel is a 'long meditative interrogation (or interrogative meditation) on the essence of our existential condition. The enigma of the self that all novels, in some fashion, try to elucidate will never be resolved (as the self cannot be grasped). It can only be explored in the light of our understanding that we are trapped in the paradox of existence (which is made up of extreme and unrealized possibilities). Calvino and Kundera's philosophical perspectives as reflected in, in order, Six Memos for the Next Millenium (1988) and The Art of the Novel (1988) undoubtedly converge into a single premise: writing is synonymous with the creation of unique "intellectual universe[s]" (Kundera 1988:78) born out of a quête for existential meaning. Kundera tells us in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, that the "novel is not the author's confession; it is an investigation of human life in the trap the world has become." (Kundera 1984: 218). In turn, Calvino points out that literature is "the search for lightness as a reaction to the weight of living" (Calvino 1988: 26), a quest which, Kundera stresses, ineluctably results in 'terminal paradoxes' (Kundera 1986: 41).
By linking these seemingly unrelated theoretical positions on literary creations it becomes apparent that both authors' experimental affinities converge into the notion of writing as an existential process. In my reading of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, I will demonstrate how this text reflects the author's theoretical standpoint on the novel and how this, in turn, parallels Calvino's literary views as outlined in Six Memos for the Next Millennium. My analysis will focus on the literary quality Calvino calls visibility. I will demonstrate that images in The Unbearable Lightness of Being create the characters' personal myths. These myths, it will be shown, translate into a multiplicity of personal realities to which the quest for self and the chasm between action and identity are central. The "paradoxical nature of action", thus revealed opens up narrative avenues for philosophical meditations on the nature of the self and the investigation of unique existential definitions.