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Métaphores liquides chez Zola ou la mer dans tous ses états

Author(s): Ana Clara Santos

Journal: Carnets : Revue Electronique d'Etudes Françaises
ISSN 1646-7698

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 163;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Zola | Naturalism | Sea | Life | Death

Having first taken shape in 1880 and written in 1883, La joie de vivre marks the return of the author to a particular setting, a small fishing village on the coast of Normandy, and to a crisis, the threat of the sea, the overwhelming weight of nature over man. For its constantly renewed aspect, the sea is what fascinates. A source of contemplation, océan-spectacle, the sea turns, for its theatrical character, into a source both of pleasure and of death. A symbol of the archetypal struggle of man against the collective unconscious, translated through the illusion of its power over unrestrained nature, the maritime landscape in Zola also establishes games of correspondence with the feminine imagery. The obsession of the sea tides, a sign of devouring and dissolution, is overcome by the description of the period of the feminine character and of the cycles of her body in a metaphor structured around the liquid element. Both are sources of transformations and perpetual renewal, in the pendulous regulation which leads straight to a deep reflection on life and death.
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