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‘Nécessité de procéder obliquement’: Shaping Michel Butor's Image

Abstract : The construction of Michel Butor’s self-image often takes indirect — albeit transparent — paths and byroads. The author expriments a diversity of means to avoid self portraiture. In fact, he favors what could be termed a portrait of himself from another point of view, for instance using the character of Béatrice Didier in order to ask himself his own questions (Le retour du Boomerang). Such a practice could originate in Michel Butor’s long habit of interviews, which would explain (or be explained by) his extraordinary investment of the dialog as a literary form. No wonder that monographs about Michel Butor, in turn, often result in a mixture of critical discourse and auctorial interventions. Although collaborations of living writers in the production of their portraits in collections of illustrated monographs are not scarce, Michel Butor’s interventions are the most spectacular and massive examples of the way a writer can appropriate the critical discourse on his own work. This papers aims at defining an object, common to Michel Butor’s works and works about Michel Butor : the portrait/biography of oneself. I will analyze how Michel Butor’s interventions in monographs about himself (see « Primary sources ») tend to question the functions of critical genres as the biography, the portrait and the interview of the writer, and explore how Michel Butor’s discourse on himself challenges the relevance of traditional approaches to the writer’s image, which often seek in the « shoring space » an explanation of the works – e.g. the « canonical space »: Michel Butor indeed turns this hierarchy upside down.
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Contributor : Mathilde Labbé <>
Submitted on : Sunday, March 29, 2020 - 11:54:54 AM
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Mathilde Labbé. ‘Nécessité de procéder obliquement’: Shaping Michel Butor's Image. Nottingham French Studies, Edinburgh University Press, 2019, 58 (3), pp.315-331. ⟨10.3366/nfs.2019.0260⟩. ⟨halshs-02523537⟩



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