Troubles with the origin: Gustave Flaubert’s Hérodiade Cover Image

Kłopoty z początkiem - 'Herodiada' Gustawa Flauberta
Troubles with the origin: Gustave Flaubert’s Hérodiade

Author(s): Piotr Śniedziewski
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Instytut Badań Literackich Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: Gustave Flaubert; Hérodiade; Historiography; French Literature

Summary/Abstract: Gustave Flaubert was critical against the nineteenth-century epistemology of history, consistently debunking the weak aspects of our thinking about the past. Of special importance in this context are the writer’s doubts regarding the myth of the ‘origin’, as expressed in his Hérodiade. In this sense, Flaubert’s novella is a story on the ‘origin’ of Christian culture and religion. However, we can spot therein three main mechanisms, used by the French author to undermine the absolute meaning of the ‘origin’ and to develop his own historic writing model (starting with attempted authentication of the text, through deconstructing the story, up to awareness of discontinuity and incompleteness of any narrative on the past). This makes of Flaubert a modernist historiographer in whose opinion there is an ‘origin’ – which is not history, but rather, a myth.

  • Issue Year: 2007
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 192-205
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: Polish