Ces forces obscures de l'âme : women, race and origins in by Christine Margerrison

By Christine Margerrison

This can be the 1st significant research of Camus's prose fiction to discover the constructing presentation of girls, from the author's earliest writings to his final, unfinished novel. keeping off the normal relegation of this topic to an emotional or deepest sphere, it lines Camus's highbrow improvement so one can show the centrality of this topic to Camus's paintings as a complete. If the Absurd, developed over the physique of the "real" girl, liberates the author to stick to a "true course" of literary production, the upcoming lack of his Algerian fatherland impells a go back to "all that he had no longer been unfastened to choose", the binds of blood. those conflictual and unresolved ties are the following investigated, along side the presentation of legendary woman figures expressing Camus's darkest fears, partially voiced in different writings, bearing on that "other" Algeria for which he may by no means struggle. Exploring complicated interconnections among sexuality, "race" and colonialism, this quantity is pertinent to all who're attracted to the writings of Camus, quite these looking correct new methods of imminent his paintings

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Extra resources for Ces forces obscures de l'âme : women, race and origins in the writings of Albert Camus

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James Arnold in his research on the early versions of Caligula, where he remarks that the subsequently effaced theme of the dead woman, so crucial to the genesis of this play, has been generally overlooked: to a far greater extent than in L’Étranger, the death of a woman sparks off the action of the 1938-41 versions of Caligula (CAC 4, 134). This notion of a woman’s death as leading to some form of awakening for the always male onlooker, and setting in motion a series of other, more significant events, is a feature of Camus’s early writings in particular.

Qu’il aille faire ses devoirs” (PC, 274: E, 26) (“He looks stupid standing there looking at her. He should go and do his homework”). As in “Mélusine”, her inacessibility raises the possibility that the son is himself superfluous in this secret universe – a suspicion to which the writer refers explicitly in Le Premier Homme when, having embraced her son on his arrival, she turns away: Early Confrontations with Others 45 (E)lle semblait ne plus penser à lui ni d’ailleurs à rien, et le regardait même parfois avec une étrange expression, comme si maintenant, ou du moins il en avait l’impression, il était de trop et dérangeait l’univers étroit, vide et fermé où elle se mouvait solitairement.

Some of these early portraits of the mother are disturbing, and raise more questions about their author than about the original model herself. For example, the words “elle n’existe plus, puisqu’elle n’est plus là” (PC, 282) (“she no longer exists, since she is no longer there”) tell us nothing about her, but a great deal about the consciousness which cannot conceive that others continue to exist independently when beyond the scope of his own surveillance. Again, the writer expresses his surprise at her ability to act independently in the world, and “il éprouvait combien les autres la sentaient vivre et il s’étonnait que lui la sentît si peu vivante, presque comédienne” (E, 1216) (“he sensed how much others could feel her to be alive, and he himself was surprised that to him she seemed almost like an actress, devoid of inner life”).

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