Australian Journal of French Studies

Rape, Silence and Disembodiment in Anne Hébert's Les Fous de Bassan

Australian Journal of French Studies (2012), 49, (3), 267–279.

Abstract

Theories of rape suggest that rape is commonly represented in texts by silence, a silence that stands in for the violated body; analysing narrative representations of rape means by implication tracing how its impact is deflected and restoring focus to the body. This article rethinks the relation between rape, narrative and the body through a study of the French-Canadian writer Anne Hébert's Les Fous de Bassan (1982). In this novel, sexual violation is inscribed and concealed via bodily mutilation and textual silence, so that rape is given voice through a "language of disarticulation" (a term drawn from the feminist critic Elissa Marder) that finds its roots in disembodiment, rather than the body. The article proposes an alternative approach to representations of rape that explores how sexual violence is figured through images of disembodiment that both displace and inscribe rape.

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Author details

Robson, Kathryn

Robson, Kathryn