Abstract

Octave Mirbeau's Le Jardin des supplices and Barbey d'Aurevilly's L'Ensorcelée and Les Diaboliques depict a range of cruel attacks on the human body. These examples of violence, hitherto neglected by critical readers of the texts, have much to tell us not only about the authors' approach to violence, but also about the relationships between author, reader, and text that such representations of violence foreground. The notion of readerly pleasure theorized by Roland Barthes and linked to identity formation by Emma Wilson is associated with the witnessing or experiencing of pain in these texts. The reader is problematically positioned as both sadist, vicariously enjoying the suffering he or she is forced to witness, and masochist, taking pleasure in the authors' manipulations of them. These depictions of violated bodies ask whether and by what means violence can be represented in language, and this discussion leads to an analysis of the impact that such representations of violence have on the reader's experience of a text.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1468-2931
Print ISSN
0016-1128
Pages
pp. 410-422
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-27
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.