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La vision d’un corps coupé en deux. Lecture d’un conte de Maupassant, ''La Mère Sauvage''

Abstract : In this article, Maupassant’s short story is examined as a complex ensemble of material and meaningful forms, which generate, during the reader-receiver activity, representations and interpretations. My goal is to reconstruct some of the operations taking place, which belong in fact to the worlds of representations – according to the distinction that is made between the figurative and the figural - and enunciation, and more precisely to the enunciative scenography. Following a short presentation of the short story, of its various editions, and what relates it to Maupassant’s other works, namely another story based on a dream, which is very close to Old Lady Sauvage, I mark out the leveling, the enunciative follow-ups and elements that allow the spatiotemporal intervals to appear in the story. This is based on a quasi-hallucinatory vision, which seems to be a major figure of meaning in the story : a body cut into halves. The figurative representations in the story, in contrast or analogy, proposes a picture of the world which resembles a fantasized body of the landscape and the places introduced in the story but also of the characters’ bodies and facial appearances. Interpreting the body imaginary of the text is complemented by an emphasis on the network of formal figures which constitutes the text and is arranged into semantic polarities. The question that this approach asks, which is based on interpretative semiology, is on the one hand that of nature and the function of what appears to be a fiction of a trauma – war in fact – and on the other hand, that of a screen which is modeled by the story, i.e. a projection screen – of a different surface and depth depending on the reader – which shows us and hides from us all that it has to say.
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Dominique Ducard. La vision d’un corps coupé en deux. Lecture d’un conte de Maupassant, ''La Mère Sauvage''. Synergies Pays riverains de la Baltique, Gerflint, 2008, Pays Riverains de la Baltique, pp.69-84. ⟨halshs-01146404⟩

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