Kaliane UNG: « L’écriture blessée »

This dissertation explores how the text becomes a tool for survival when suffering alters the body. The project unfolds as four case studies of twentieth-century French authors writing about their wounds. I investigate writing about suffering as a performative act and argue that my authors’ texts function as an artificial limb when the wound becomes the epicenter of writing. First, I analyze Joë Bousquet’s war wound. The poet had his spine broken by a German bullet at the end of World War 1 and spent the rest of his life paralyzed in bed, writing about his wound and finally identifying it as his destiny. Then, I investigate the stigma of illegitimacy around which Violette Leduc developed her novels and qualify Leduc’s will never to procreate to avoid passing on the “hereditary wound of womanhood”. In the next chapter, I observe how Hervé Guibert’s diminished state after he develops AIDS at the end of the 1980s entices him to mix language, photography and film to craft an intimacy with the illness as a means of acceptance. Finally, I examine the stakes of Simone Weil’s hunger, which she describes in her diaries as a form of mystical asceticism. Through different definitions of the wound, this thesis offers a reassessment of agency, via self-invention, in the face of adversity.