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"Trois cœurs simples" : visions de l'idiotie chez Gustave Flaubert, George Moore et James Joyce

Abstract : Beyond the intertextual links that could justify the association of Flaubert’s “Un coeur simple” (Trois Contes), Moore’s “The Window” (The Untilled Field) and Joyce’s “Clay” (Dubliners), the choice of heroines who at first sight are naïve and retarded is a shared characteristic of these texts. Félicité, Biddy and Maria, solitary and single women who are peripheral figures in society, are at the centre of questions that lead to the redefinition of the very notion of idiocy and make it synonymous with singularity. This paper aims to show how their simple and even insignificant lives become singular and how their candour appears as the source of epiphanies. It studies the confinement of these lives, minds and bodies, the relationship to verbal language and to silence but also, in Flaubert and Moore, to religious iconography and belief. If Flaubert and Moore suggest that these simple minds are transformed into saints, they do not impose a unique interpretation and leave the reader free to define the import of their ecstasies. Joyce deprives his character of this dimension. His modernist experimentations and his play on the borders between narrator’s voice and character’s voice lead to a reflection on the stupidity of the character as opposed to the epiphany experienced by the readers who go from stupidity to illumination, thanks to their critical activity.
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Fabienne Gaspari. "Trois cœurs simples" : visions de l'idiotie chez Gustave Flaubert, George Moore et James Joyce. L'Atelier, Presses universitaires Paris Ouest, 2017, 9 (1), pp.16-33. ⟨hal-02170636⟩



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