1887

n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Polyphony and counterpoint : mechanisms of seduction in the diaries of Helen Hessel and Henri Pierre Roché : original research

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Abstract

Henri Pierre Roché (1879-1959), the author of , has been called a general introducer, an exemplary amateur, a collector of women and art and one of the most prolific diarists and active lovers in recorded history. Author of a collection of vignettes about Don Juan, Roché was fascinated with the figure of the seducer and in his twenties planned to devote his life to the creation of a body of work which would examine moral, intellectual, social and sexual relations between women and men. To this end, he would transform his life into a laboratory where real-life experiences would become the main source of reference. Roché's diary spans sixty years and abounds in tales of seduction. However, the most intense and captivating intrigue of seduction and betrayal in his diary, is his relationship with Helen Hessel. At the start of their affair, Roché suggested that she too should keep a diary of the maelstrom of passion into which they were plunged. Written in French, German and English, Helen Hessel's diary captures the drama of seduction and functions on several levels: realistic, visionary, absorbed in her thoughts and emotions and yet critical of herself and others. A juxtaposed reading of the two diaries generates a fascinatingly dense texture, revealing the mechanisms of seduction at play. The counterpoint created by these two interdependent voices becomes ever more complex as one becomes aware of the intertextual references that contribute to the emerging polyphony of recorded life and love.


Henri Pierre Roché (1879-1959), outeur van , word beskryf as 'n sosiale koppelaar, 'n model-liefhebber van alles en nog wat, 'n versamelaar van vroue en kuns en een van die mees produktiewe dagboekskrywers en aktiewe minnaars in die opgetekende geskiedenis. Roché het 'n reeks sketse oor Don Juan gepubliseer en was geboei deur die figuur van die verleier. In sy twintigs beplan hy om sy lewe te wy aan die skepping van 'n oeuvre wat die morele, intellektuele, sosiale en seksuele verhoudings tussen mans en vrouens sou ondersoek. Ter bereiking van hierdie doel, rig hy sy lewe in as laboratorium waarin werklike ondervindinge dien as hoofbron van inligting. Sy dagboek strek oor sestig jaar en is ryk aan verhale van verleiding. Desnieteenstaande bly die mees intense en boeiende intrige van verleiding en verraad steeds sy verhouding met Helen Hessel. Aan die begin van hulle verhouding, stel Roché voor dat sy ook 'n dagboek hou van hulle hartstogtelike liefde. Helen Hessel se dagboek, geskryf in Frans, Duits en Engels, reflekteer die drama van verleiding en funksioneer op verskillende vlakke: realisties, visionêr, ten volle geabsorbeer in haar eie gedagtes en emosies en tóg krities jeens haarself en ander. 'n Vergelyking van die twee dagboeke skep 'n fassinerende, digte tekstuur wat die binnewerkings blootlê van verleiding in aksie. Die kontrapunt geskep deur hierdie twee interafhanklike stemme word nóg meer kompleks namate 'n mens bewus word van die intertekstuele verwysings wat bydra tot die ontluikende polifonie van geskrewe liefde en lewe.

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/content/literat/36/2/EJC172967
2015-01-01
2016-12-07
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