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Title: Le silence comme signe (in)visible du mal dans l’œuvre romanesque de Georges Bernanos
Other Titles: Silence as an (in)visible sign of evil in Bernanos’ novels
Authors: Roux-Troyes, Alexandra
Keywords: Bernanos; evil; silence; supernatural; unspeakable
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: "Quêtes littéraires" 2017, nº 7, s. 132-141
Abstract: From "Sous le Soleil de Satan" to "Monsieur Ouine", Bernanos’ novels are characterized by the emergence of ‘supernatural silence(s)’ (Bernanos 2015 : 679), which can prove to be disturbing. The brutal sign of evil’s appeance in the narrative limits in most cases the character to silence, to verbal incapacity. Indeed, evil has the strength to hold thought and speech in check. That is the reason why the characters that are racked by evil make good use of language so that they don’t say anything genuine nor honest. Bernanos’ writing succeds in defining these silences thanks to numerous ellipsis as well as things that remain unmentioned, embarrased silences, thus emphasizing the presence of the supernatural. Punctuation in particular takes an important part in creating breaks, switchovers within sentences as well as in the narrative. These silences show off an experience that cannot be told. As a consequence, a true rhetoric of what is unspeakable is at stake in Bernanos’ novels. The use of adjectives made up with privative prefixes, indefinite pronouns, rough phrases and other figures of what is unspoken, contribute to explaining evil’s unbelievable experience.
ISSN: 2084-8099
Appears in Collections:Quêtes littéraires, 2017, No 7: Le silence en mots, les mots en silence

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