Chateaubriand, Verne, and Méliès: L'Effet d'irréel – Liminal Landscapes and Magic Shows


A common collage technique produces an effect of liminality in three texts by Chateaubriand, Verne, and Meliès. The landscapes in these textual moments are governed by a particular æsthetic of intensity that recalls Burke's sublime and partake of the sense of the marvellous evoked by the staged spectacles of Robertson's "phantasmagorie" and the filmed magic tricks of Méliès. The literary and filmic scenes under consideration here marshall elements from heterogeneous registers to create a radically broken surface, producing the sense of liminality as an "effet d'irréel." The essay poses and answers the riddle: why do severed heads matter to both Méliès and Chateaubriand? (FMF)

Miller Frank, Felicia
Release Year:
1995 Spring-Summer; 23(3-4): 307-15