Themes, Forms and Metamorphoses- Essays in Honour of David Gascoigne
Edited By Lorna Milne and Mary Orr
Mary Orr - The Metamorphoses of Forms in Tournier’s Roi des Aulnes and Pierrette Fleutiaux’s 'Métamorphoses de la reine' - 229
Mary Orr The Metamorphoses of Forms in Tournier’s Roi des Aulnes and Pierrette Fleutiaux’s Métamorphoses de la reine If Michel Tournier has fulsomely acknowledged Flaubert as his main pre- cursor in interviews, he has also rather more arrogantly described himself as the ‘Flaubert’ of his own generation.1 As Flaubert’s critic in the pref- ace he wrote for the Trois contes, Tournier pinpoints three major distin- guishing features of his precursor’s late works by comparison with the big novels which precede them.2 Foremost for Tournier is the downplaying in the Trois contes of Flaubert’s trademark ‘realism’, whether in the form of the massive documentation and erudition underpinning works such as Salammbô or the bleak, pessimistic endings. Some lightness and hope are therefore restored by the more fantastical elements, even if happy ends are denied. Character is also drawn and defined dif ferently. In contradistinc- tion to the protagonists in Flaubert’s novels, those in the Trois contes oper- ate with a much more tangible sense of personal destiny. This is directly related to their third distinctive element for Tournier, the ‘real presence’ 1 See for example ‘Michel Tournier: “Je suis comme une pie voleuse”’ in Jean-Louis de Rambures, Comment travaillent les écrivains (Paris: Flammarion, 1978), pp. 163–7 (p. 164) and ‘Dix ans après’ in Serge Koster, Michel Tournier ou le choix du roman (Paris: Zulma, 2005), pp. 213–32, where Tournier states ‘Certaines phrases que j’ai écrites sont du super-Flaubert, du Flaubert de synthèse. C’est spontané. Je...
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