Gender and narrative in L’Hiver de beauté, Les Ports du silence and La Rage au bois dormant by Christiane Baroche
as physically. In another sense, however, with the introduction of a
twentieth-century female narrator-protagonist, L’Hiver de beauté is
resoundingly contemporary, a powerful novel in its own right. Les Ports du
silence and La Rage au bois dormant, both published in the ﬁrst half of the
s, and L’Homme de cendres, which appeared in , are likewise all
substantial novels dealing with major contemporary and universal themes:
life and death, war, memory, love.5
In L’Hiver de beauté, the motif of the mirror functions on several diﬀerent levels and as such lays
as Bride he was, vpon the marrige daie.
Since then, among the Shepeheards, Daphnis chiefe was had,
And tooke a Nimphe to wife, when he was but a lad.
Daphnis his Embleme.
Me tamen vrit amor.
Menalcas his Embleme.
At haec Daphne forsan probes.
Est minor nemo nisi comparatus.
2 Theocritus Idyll xi
Translated anonymously from the Greek
From Sixe Idillia . . . out of . . . Theocritus (1588). Polyphemus, a Cyclops or one-eyed giant, features in
Homer’s Odyssey; but his love for Galatea, a Nereid or sea-nymph, is first treated by Theocritus and
It is important to note that, for Thomas, depictions of absence associated with the via negativa frequently give way to, or are countered by,
depictions of affirmation and spiritual presence. J. P. Ward writes that
‘The God who eludes when all palpable things, even the senses themselves, are left behind, can suddenly be experienced in what is immediate and natural’ (1987: 98).
Remembering Elaine Shepherd’s description of the via negativa as
‘a darkness which may on occasion … flame with love’, I will end this
chapter by turning to examine such ‘occasions’ in Thomas
Brown thinks she was Anne Whateley; perhaps “Rosalind”
is a clue: the Rosalinds of Romeo and Juliet and of
Love’s Labour’s Lost are both black
beauties.’ 22 All such finger-pointing culminated in
Rowse’s announcement in 1963 that Emilia
Lanier was the dark lady. Since which date criticism of and
hostility towards Rowse
love. There are clandestine meetings in Melidor’s chamber, a
higher-ranking suitor who is defeated at a grand tournament, a spying
steward, a helpful maid and numerous battles. In the end Melidor and
her mother convince the earl that he has no choice but to accept
Degrevant. They live long and prosper, and after his wife’s death
Degrevant returns to the Holy Land, to die on crusade.
Although the distinction is far too neat, it is possible to divide our
attention between the plot, with its focus on the actions and motivations of the main characters, and the poem
Phillips not only underscores the radical nature of Thomas’s religious
stance but also suggests that Thomas’s answer to the philosophical ‘problem of evil’ is a view of deity characterised not by the divided imperatives
of omnipotence or love, but by an omnipotence which is love, which is
‘self-emptying’ and which therefore encompasses both the good and evil,
a sordid combination which the poet finds endemic to human existence.
Such a view of divinity, according to Phillips, allows Thomas a faith
response in keeping with his own experience:
The poet turns his back on the
Visions in colour;
According to the analysis in the last chapter, as William Sorrell travelled
through the realised realm of his unconscious, what had been repressed
in him was gradually translated into glorious action. His journey culminated, in the ‘real’ world of the text, in a poised harmony where talk,
trust and fantasy, and the professional demands of publishing, could
co-exist. (Feminine) nature and (masculine) civilisation were united. In
The New Humpty-Dumpty, as Emily Aldington and Count Macdonald
made love, they did so in a way
Shakespeare rehearsed his
portrayal of Nashe in Love’s Labour’s Lost ; he
wrote a warm, light-hearted miniature of his friend into the
character of Moth (an anagram of Thom). Like Thom, Moth is small of
stature, sharp of mind and tongue, and a masterful debunker of
ignorance as personified by his master, the original bloviating
ignoramus, Don Adriano de Armado. The play was written in
Mother–daughter relations in Paule Constant’s fiction
separation from the mother. In Klein’s thinking, this process of separation
involves, on the one hand, a conﬂict between the love and hate the infant
feels for the mother (which gives rise to good and bad phantasmatic
mothers) and, on the other, a conﬂict between both destructive and reparative impulses. Reparative impulses enable infants to rebuild internal phantasies of the good, loved object they feel they have destroyed in hate or
anger. It is this ongoing conﬂict between destruction and reparation that
gradually allows the child to separate psychologically from the
to violence as a means not of salvation,but of survival.Furthermore,the violence is directed much more often against themselves than against others.
These novels are tales of oppression, of violence and abuse, of masochism, of cruelty and despair, of lancinating indiﬀerence, and ultimately of
Transgressions and transformation
transgression. They portray a world in which love is strikingly absent, if
none the less sometimes – nostalgically rather than prospectively – yearned
for. They present sex brutally and almost pornographically. They tear the