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A Study on the Dimension of Human Existence through the Poetic Imagination in Henri Bosco’s Major Novel Malicroix

Kim Dong-Yoon 1

1건국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to investigate into how the dimension of human existence will be constituted through the poetic imagination in Henri Bosco’s major literary work Malicroix. Even though this work contains an abundant richness about the question of human existence faced with a harsh condition of nature, this topic remains till now barely exploited in term of literary research. Indeed, in this fictional text, nature appears first of all as a violent and threatening entity rather than a mild, docile one to allow for hardships to human living condition. The unwelcoming world with which the narrator is struggling to survive can be said a geological world founded on cosmic universal elements (water, air, fire, earth) in the phenomenological sense of Gaston Bachelard. The narrator facing the world to which human beings are not welcome plays the role of a solitary protagonist like a romantic hero in absolute silence. With such an ‘état d’âme’ (state of soul), human existence is being inscribed into the dimension of being, but we are not able to define exactly its stretch of meanings. In revealing by itself through the fictional text, this existential dimension is being unfolded through particular temporal aspects: waiting and slowing down over the time. As a central theme, the very contemplative act of waiting can be interpreted as its fundamental levels: for instance, ethical, metaphysical and especially ontological ones. If these aspects are viewed from the standpoint of what we call human existence, the theme of waiting is quite similar to the dimension of being in the Heideggerian sense. As for an example, the narrator’s stay in the absolutely desert place (the isle of Camargues in Provence) seems to be a way of waiting in search of the meaning of life and human existence. Therefore, we can say the act of waiting in this work is no more than a creative moment free from boredom (ennui) and anxiety upon which human condition is based, according to Blaise Pascal. In other words the act of waiting as a way of human existence is open up onto all possibilities of the events; it could be also an expression of a strong desire to live authentically a span of time with neither worries nor anxiety. However when waiting and living timeless moments within the terrible silence, the narrator tends to be fused with the cosmic and elementary world: in this context suddenly appears the theme of dissolution of self into the fantastic world. The making use of the fantastic themes in Bosco’s fiction seems to be evident as far as the loss of the narrator’s identity goes: fusion of the self with the being sealed in nature. So we might say that material imagination out of the profundity of space and silent immensity as well prevails over Bosco’s fictional text. The world of cosmic elements as a narrative background of Malicroix can be also a geological world from which poetics will be unfolded in full swing.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.