Écrire le Traumatisme : Pour une Étude de L’incompréhensible Chez Soucy, Duras, Mavrikakis et Perec
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We live in an era of fragmented memory. Though the wars and catastrophes of the twentieth century may have preceded our birth, we remain haunted by their lingering presence. Many studies have been conducted on the delayed nature of trauma, the power of the past to govern the present: it is precisely for this reason that trauma is a contemporary theme in both the social sciences and humanities. Psychology has demonstrated that a symbolization of the traumatic past is of the utmost importance to the process of liberating oneself from its encumbering grasp. However, in the wake of events that surpass human understanding, notably the Holocaust and the bombing of Hiroshima, the question arose of how such brutal realities could possibly be represented. It is here that literature comes into play. The present study considers the theme of trauma and its various representations in five literary works: L’Immaculée Conception by Gaétan Soucy, Savannah Bay by Marguerite Duras, the film Hiroshima mon amour by Duras and Alain Resnais, Le ciel de Bay City by Catherine Mavrikakis and Georges Perec’s W ou le souvenir d’enfance. It will demonstrate that these authors, rather than yield to that which resists representation, embrace the dilemma. This study’s progression will be twofold, looking first at an individual trauma based on fictional events in order to examine the literary means of symbolizing reality. The works in the succeeding chapters move toward historical and collective phenomena, departing from fiction with respect to the events, but not, however, in regard to the symbolization of these realities. The authors continue to resort to the imaginary to represent the horrors of the past. This recourse raises certain questions: what is the role of literature in representing trauma? What is the iii relationship between fiction and reality, and finally, can writing aid in the process of healing from a traumatic past?