Abstracts








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Michèle Bacholle

    L'enfant Méduse by Sylvie Germain or Eurydice Between Two EclipsesImplicit Religion, its Study and its Network.
    Introduction and Presentation

L'enfant Méduse is in keeping with the current trend in the revision of myths. Lucie, the new Eurydice, is given a discursive space which permits her to assert herself as suject; in this way, the Orphic myth is transformed into the myth of Eurydice. Through the connection she establishes with the ancient myth of Earth as mother, Sylvie Germain bases the legitimacy of her revision of the Orphic myth, and through artistic and Christ-like elements, she doubles the "Nativity" of her character with her own emergence into writing.
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Sandra L. Beckett

    The Obscure Eurydice's Call in Une ombre by Henri Bosco

The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice seems to have fascinated Henri Bosco all of his life. The writer precedes his last novel, Une ombre, with a verse from Book IV of the Georgics which relates the attempt of Orpheus to bring back Eurydice from Hades. However, it is not the figure of Orpheus which haunts the novelist but that of Eurydice. Throughout the half century in which the myth inspires his work, the figure of Eurydice undergoes a profound metamorphosis. The classic image of Eurydice, which can be found in the poetry of the 1920's through the 1960's, yields way, in his last narratives and notably in Une ombre, to a seductive and obscure Eurydice. Concerning itself with the posthumous novel, this study proposes to show how the novelist is able to renew the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice by transforming the latter into a formidable Shadow, "une dévorante et insatiable Astarté," who wants to usurp Orpheus' body as well as his speech.
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Karen Bouwer

    Le Châtiment d'Orphée by Andrée Christensen: Eurydice Redeemed?

With the collaboration of Dickson whose photographies of medieval statues accompany the text, Christensen denounces the suppression of feminine sexuality in three different contexts: the myths (Orphic and Dionysiac) represent pagan antiquity, the photographies essentially reinforce the references to Christianity, and the allusions to fairy tales evoke the folk tradition. However, since the fundamental data of history remain unchanged, Orpheus can not bring Eurydice, yet sensibly revalued, back to life. Consequently, this version of the Orphic myth, insofar as it is an allegory of the poetic creation, does not directly address the question of the woman poet.
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Gérard Bucher

    Orpheus' Dream: With Regards to L'espace littéraire of Maurice Blanchot

This article examines the modern fortune of the legend of Orpheus in the writings of Blanchot (and accessorily of Rilke). Through the point of view of the "thanatogenetics" hypothesis and from an inquiry on the cultural and religious context of the myth of Orpheus in the antiquity (concerning the cult of the Manes and the enclosure of the dead in the tomb), we will attempt to shed light upon its remarkable originality. Orpheus' approach is revealing in that it says the implied poetics of the origins: it leads to nothing less than the enquiry of the immemorial separation of the living and the dead. The illustration of the "thanatogenetics" carrying out of the myth of Orpheus could have the metamorphosis of our conception of ourselves as consequence, that is the arrival of Greek thought and of the revelation of the God-Word in Judaism and in Christianity.
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Cara Gargano

    Being and Becoming: the Myth of Orpheus as Metaphor for the Scientific "New Alliance"

This article deals with the growing link between science and myth at the end of the 20th century. The tension between "being" and "becoming", noted by famous physician Ilya Prigogine, is revealed in the Orphic myth, and the fusion of logos and mythos from Orphic songs is at the basis of what is called the "nouvelle science." According to Paul Schmitt, Orphic theologians were physicians who "transformed the mythical gods into cosmic elements and forces." Looking at the theories of some XXth century scientists, we consider the close relation between two cosmic economies, separate in space and time but really close in the main point.
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Gilbert Durand

    Nostalgia of Orpheus: A Short Lesson of Mythoanalysis

A myth never has an absolute origin and is, first and foremost, an internal secretion. Each sequence, often "lesson" of very different times, somewhat enriches the myth, sometimes to the point of overloads which change its meaning. However, the central mythic theme repeated by all of Orpheus' adventures is that of nostalgia. There is a close link in mythic themes, often explicit, between Orpheus and Dionysus/Zagreus/Iacchos. Everything forebodes that Jesus-Christ, who expresses himself through word, is more Orphic than Orpheus himself. Despite its obscure origin, an Orphic movement appears from the Vth century B.C., to take root in the Pythagorean-Platonic tradition, with initiation as confirmation or the soul in its being and eternity, in this order of cosmos beautifully harmonized by sound, music. The "renaissance" of Platonic ideas also generates a new form, opera, with Wagner as its apogee; it will take up again the great Orphic themes.
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Yolande Helm

    Amélie Nothomb: a Writing Nourished at the Root of Orphism

Amélie Nothomb states that she aspires to a writing that will give life back to Eurydice. Her first novel, Hygiène de l'assassin (1992), takes us back to the myth of Orpheus which she reverses in a radical manner on the level of components as well as agents. Nothomb's Orphism is linked to others by some obscurities, not evident in her writing but still operating: an esotericism difficult to perceive and an omnipresence of the sacred. In this study, the fundamental questions of Hygiène de l'assassin are examined. The author questions the traditional and touching narrative, her Orpheus/Eurydice relationship operating on perverse and subversive desires. In this new controversial perspective, Nothomb reinscribes a myth which is simultaneously a tragedy and a parody and whose signifiers are within Orpheus' decline and within the power given to Eurydice.
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Jeanne Hyvrard

    Aboard Orpheus Within Eurydice's Regret

Within the doxa, sacred and sacrifice are a given, to better leave them aside as dangerous taboo. Within binary thought, there is no place for prey and predator simultaneously. It is the Grand Accumulation. It is based on the gorging of the Mother. Her memory is occulted. Another philosophy is possible which would take it into account and pull it out of the secularity/religion dilemma. Myths would be revisited. Orpheus would not lose Eurydice, or generalized mechanization would give her to him , organizing a maternal distributive economy.
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Manon Lewis

    The Blue Orpheus of Krzysztof Kieslowski

What if Orpheus were a woman?... That is what appears to be the starting point of a reading of Bleu (1993), first part of Trois couleurs by Polish cinematographer Krzysztof Kieslowski. Through a wide range of metamorphoses, contortions, reversals or echoes, Bleu reconstructs the Orphic myth. The spectre of the hero with the lyre imposes itself largely again in the cinematographic work in question. In this way, the cyclical perception of the story dominates with its shift from destruction to (re)construction. The vision of art as harmony, descent to hell, and tearing is easily discernable in the kieslowskian narrative. Backdrop and thread of Bleu, music, on the other hand, becomes a real collective creation beyond death. Love itself weaves a network of relations having no precedents with regards to the original myth and reveals its power beyond all limits.
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Christian Milat

    Éclats de la pierre noire d'où rejaillit ma vie by Paul Chamberland: Orpheus Alchemist

In this poetry collection, Orphism represents the alchemical marking point around which is articulated the exploration of a kind of metaphysics where, beyond its apparent opposition, the two principles within which the universe was split at the time of the manifestation have the vocation of reconciliation. It is Orpheus who, by his intermediate position between the opposite poles, is revealed, as experienced by Chamberland himself, as catalyst who, through three stages of the Grand Work (descent to hell, resurrection, union of opposites), allows poet and poetry to be respectively agent and instrument of a metamorphosis which leads to the reconstruction, on an individual scale, of the primordial Unity.
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Robin A. Morris

    Looking Back at the One who Looks: Jorie Graham's Orpheus Sequence

Images of Orpheus and Eurydice in four related poems from The End of Beauty (1987) by American Jorie Graham act to complicate the gender dualism of Orpheus as poet and Eurydice as object. The awareness that the postmodern poet can no longer simply assume the role of subject, objectifying the other, animates Graham's Orphic sequence. Frozen in time and dissected, Orpheus' potential gaze need no longer initiate the symbolic order: in Graham's retelling, the semiotic disruption, brought on by Eurydice's reciprocal gaze, lets "what is possible" take hold.
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Catherine Perry

    Return to Pagan Myth in the Work of Anna de Noailles

This article examines a modern recurrence of mythical thinking in the poetry of Anna de Noailles (1876-1933), where Dionysus occupies a privileged place. The god's ambiguous sexual identity and multiple disguises promote the recovery of feminine mythic figures such as Aphrodite, Ariadne, Nausicaa, Persephone, and Cecilia to whom Noailles attributes the erotic power and vital energy traditionally assigned to Dionysus. As figures of translation and transmutation, they reflect an Orphic quest in Noailles's work: yet the author never invokes Orpheus as a model and, through the figure of Antigone in her later poetry, she even appears to demystify orphism.
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Liedeke Plate

    Orpheus, the Vision and the Voice

This article takes its point of departure in a reflection on two mythemes central in the myth of Orpheus: the moving voice and the lethal gaze. These two constituent elements suggest that the myth of Orpheus presents a narratological model according to which Orpheus is the subject of speech and sight with Eurydice as its object. The analysis of the narrative treatment of these mythemes in Michèle Sarde's Histoire d'Eurydice pendant la remontée reveals how a feminine polyphonic rewriting does not simply reverse the roles of subject and object, but complicates while criticizing the traditional representation of Orpheus as subject of voice and vision.
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Patrice J. Proulx

    Of Myth and Memory: Reading Michèle Sarde's Histoire d'Eurydice pendant la remontée

In this novel, Michèle Sarde engages in a revisionist mythmaking project which articulates the recovery of a female story. Her protagonist, a character who embodies the mythic figure of Eurydice, undertakes a perilous journey to the past in an attempt to resituate herself. Sarde's text lends itself to an exploration of many topical critical issues, including the construction of identity, the (re)presentation of history, and the reliability of memory. In this paper, the author proposes to examine these issues in relation to the question of woman's emergence as a subject, as the protagonist endeavors to re-create her past, to return to a time/space from which she could reconstitute her fragmented identity.
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Walter A. Strauss

    Jean Cocteau,  the Mask of Orpheus and Narcissus

Cocteau's Orpheus is not at all an animator of men and beasts nor an harmonizer of opposites, but a self-reflexive being: a narcissistic Orpheus. The descent into the depth of the self through a mirror, the movement into a downward beyond, is completed by Orpheus seeing himself in a water surface, which can be the cause of withdrawal and reintegration. Cocteau's Orpheus has found his sanctuary in the mask of Narcissus. Orpheus connects and harmonizes the interchange between self and the world; Narcissus blurs it. In Cocteau the two myths overlap elegantly, with a minimum of interference. This Orpheus in his vertical-horizontal mirror reflects Narcissus rather than himself; in any case, he mirrors Cocteau.
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Myriam Watthee-Delmotte

    Orphism in Henry Bauchau

In Henry Bauchau, who came to writing in the impulse of a psychoanalysis, Orphism is necessarily present insofar as the literary experience is subordinated to the search for a hidden meaning and to the hope in the liberating capacity of language. The work therefore presents numerous variations on the theme of loss, suffered, assumed or provoked. But it also offers, with the figure of Antigone, a counter-Orphic image, which means that poetics, love of the beauty of words, simple enjoyment without question, accompanies the quest without subordinating itself to it.
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