Representations of the End in French Literature and Culture
Edited By Leona Archer and Alex Stuart
Part 3 Post-1945
Ana-Maria M’Enesti Dialectics of Apocalyptic Imagery in Eugène Ionesco’s Plays ‘Puisque le monde n’est un paradis, il ne peut être qu’un enfer’1 concludes Eugène Ionesco in Journal en miettes. In this movement of double nega- tion the author opens up the possibility that both these worlds coexist and intersect with each other. For instance, one of Ionesco’s avatars on stage, Bérenger, in Le Piéton de l’air, is a playwright and an incurable ide- alist, in search of something inexpressible that would save him from his monotonous and sterile life. During a stroll with his wife and daughter, they encounter ‘le passant de l’anti-monde’, a bizarre character from another world. This prompts Bérenger to talk with his daughter, Marthe, about the coexistence and interconnection between universes: ‘Il n’y a pas qu’un anti- monde. Il y a plusieurs univers, imbriqués les uns dans les autres. […] Ces mondes s’interpénètrent, se superposent sans se toucher, car ils peuvent coexister dans le même espace’.2 Drawing extensively on William Franke’s last published work, Poetry and Apocalypse, in which poetry and theology are merged into what he calls an ‘apocalyptic genre’, I propose an exploration of Ionesco’s plays through this prism. In the Ionesquian world of suf fering where evil seems to have its way, there are moments of hierophany, where a luminous pres- ence irrupts and transforms, albeit temporarily, the characters’ lives. The apocalyptic, in this sense, bears a double meaning: it does not only project a...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.