Australian Journal of French Studies

Crises d'identité et réfraction des crises dans La Déchirure d'Henry Bauchau

Australian Journal of French Studies (2014), 51, (1), 62–74.

Abstract

In La Déchirure (1966), Bauchau articulates private and collective crisis in relation to a questioning of national identity. This article explores the concept of crisis and identity construction in the context of a nation, Belgium, marked by a variety of crises (strikes, demonstrations, decolonization). First, I will examine the terms of the new identity paradigm: the end of grand narratives and awareness of the adult subject's identity as a dynamic, never-ending process rather than a fixed "given", as a result of an evolution beginning in childhood. Then I will argue that the narrator of La Déchirure largely responds to this emergent model of identity and that the very structure of the novel reflects, to some extent, aspects of this new model. Finally, I will point to the possibility of reading this novel as the precursor of a series of 1970s novels that question Belgian identity.

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Author details

Schurmans, Fabrice