Self-reconstruction, an exercise in slowness Cover Image

La reconstruction de soi, un exercice de lenteur
Self-reconstruction, an exercise in slowness

Author(s): Eleni TATSOPOULOU
Subject(s): Comparative Study of Literature, Other Language Literature, Psychology of Self, Theory of Literature
Published by: Editura Junimea
Keywords: Simenon; Semprun; slowness; self-reconstruction; examination of conscience; values of life;
Summary/Abstract: This article focuses on the slow procedure of self-reconstruction in George Simenon’s Les Anneaux de Bicêtre (1963) and Jorge Semprun’s L’Évanouissement (1967). In the first novel, René Maugras, a famous fifty-four year old newspaper editor, suffers a stroke; in the second one, Manuel, a twenty-one year old Spanish resistant fighter living in Paris loses consciousness and falls off a train, while at the same time sustains a serious ear injury. In the cases of both protagonists, with respect to the stages of each’s recovery, there seem to be similarities. First, the two respective protagonists regain consciousness through acute sensory awareness of their surroundings. Next, as they need to make time pass during their recuperation period, they try to keep their minds continually preoccupied. Naturally, one of their first thoughts is meditation on their own death or on the concept of death in general. Besides, they reflect on their lives and examine their conscience. Certain revelations about themselves will lead to feelings of guilt and shame. Therefore, it could be inferred that a sudden turn of events, such as an illness or an accident, may slow down the fast-paced routine and make somebody realize through this experience what the true values of life are.

  • Page Range: 15-24
  • Page Count: 10
  • Publication Year: 2022
  • Language: French