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Voix et langues dans la littérature irlandaise

Stéphane Jousni
Anne Goarzin


Texte intégral

Eavan Boland (C. Bonafous-Murat)

1Starting from Eavan Boland’s contention in Object Lessons that her own poetry is somehow « obstructed » by the same themes and the same mental configurations, which it tries to « construct » throught the sheer incantatory force of repetition, this article analyses the process of elaboration at work in her 1998 collection. The Lost Land. It focuses in turn on each of the constituents of the title: the first part centres on the linguistic procedures used by Boland in order to take the edge off historical referentialty (« the » as referring inevitably to Ireland), the second one takes the same problem one step further by confronting the generic notion of« land » with the more constricting « ground », while the final one, encapsulating the over two, tries to show how Boland’s poetic voice oscillates between loss (or the ungrounding of self) and waste (or the dislocation of self).

Derek Mahon (M. Boisseau)

2The aim of this paper is to try and recognize various aspects of the way the voice, or voices, interact with language and languages through three different modalities which derive from what the voice can do, namely evoking, summoning, (or convoking), and invoking. It leaves aside the traditional opposition between voice and language in terms of collective vs singular in order to grasp the moment when the two come together. The analysis of a poem by Derek Mahon, “After the Titanic” is an attempt to show that by making use of metalinguistic tools, it is possible to find areas where both voice(s) and language(s) can be articulated in a poetic text that questions the very possibility of language itself.

Denis Johnston (M. Flot)

3The theatrical technique used by Denis Johnston is surprisingly varied: expressionist in The Old Lady Says ‘No !’, realistic in The Moon in the Yellow River, and open in The Dreaming Dust. It shows a continual search for the most appropriate for the most of communication. The singularity and modernity of the voice of the playwright is best recognized by the contradiction between the themes of his plays and the prevailing ideology in Ireland during the twenties and thirties, and also by the special relations between the actor, the character and the audience.

Samuel Beckett (H. Lecossois)

4This paper raises the question of the distance that exists between voice and body on the Beckettian stage. It focuses on the difficulty of allocating the voice to a definite place and suggests seeing Beckett’s plays as a staging of the voice, as opposed to a staging of the language. The bodily particles that are superimposed on the speeches o f the characters are an invitation to reflect on the complex nature of the act of speech, which is both concrete and abstract, organic and symbolic.

Seamus Deane (P. Amiot-Jouenne)

5This paper studies the status of voice(s) and languages in Seamus Deane’s Reading in the Dark. The narrator interweaves his own voice and the voices of the characters in the story, artfully combining different modes of speech and thought presentation, blending individual and collective discourse, juxtaposing interiorized and exteriorized voices, and confronting the said and the unsaid. Yet what is striking is not so much the poiver of what is expressed as the force of what is censored, most voices being stifled or silenced by a moral or physical impossibility to speak. The novel explores both the vital necessity of secrecy and the destruction and alienation that the latter inflicts on the individual as much as on the community. On the backdrop of civil war, the long-repressed voice of the narrator makes itself heard, progressively unveiling the secret, re-establishing the truth, and through writing and translating, expressing the inexpressible.

Bernard MacLaverty (A. Goarzin)

6Grace Notes’s Catherine McKenna is a young composer returning home to her Northern Irish town on the occasion of her father’s death. While first refusing to take part in the auditory chaos of an urban life which she had chosen to leave, avoiding familiar voices past and present and the sound of bomb attacks, she comes to progressively repossess these once familiar sounds. Music serves as a construct, an “oblique” way to deal with emotionally taxing events such as the birth of a daughter or the death of a father. Not only do her creations permit her own voice to be heard at last, they also make for a common musical and formal ground for the disunited Protestant and Catholic communities.

James Joyce (A. Acheraïou)

7This paper examines the aesthetics of silence in James Joyce’s novels. It seeks to demonstrate that ellipsis does not only pervade the narrative structure and various discursive instances, but also partakes of an artistic quest which reveals a poetic, political and historic project. Symbolising both the rejection of aestheticism and writing as the origin of historicity, Joyces silence signals a historic disjuncture that crystallises Ireland’s failed attempt to recover its own voice. Together with enacting Ireland’s subjection to Britain and dominant representations, ellipsis is a fundamental component in Joyce’s aesthetics which operates on the dual mode of writing and erasure, voice and silence, representation and elision.

Guillermo Cabrera Infante (S. Jousni)

8Relying on the study of the Joycean intertext in the work of Cuban novelist Guillermo Infante, this paper focuses on the similarities in the voice(s) of both writers. Disregarding the question of the idiom – whether it be English or Spanish – it aims at trying and recognizing how Joyce and Cabrera Infante, each in his own singularity, actually voice a collective language. The latter might then be considered as a language in its own right, that of decolonisation.

Frank McCourt, Malachy McCourt, Aidan Higgins (B. Cardin)

9This paper focuses on four memoirs in contemporary Irish fiction: Angela’s Ashes, ‘Tis by Frank McCourt, A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt and Donkey’s Years by Aidan Higgins. It examines to what extent the reader can trust the authors’ memories. This raises the question of verisimilitude and truth in this specific autobiographical genre. As truth cannot always be verified, it is, above all, revealed through the narrators’ emotional voices.

© Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2003

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