Innommable guillotine: la peine de mort dans Le Dernier Jour d'un condamné et Histoire d'Hélène Gillet


This article shows how the death penalty and its instrument (the guillotine) are literary themes of choice in Hugo's Le Dernier Jour d'un condamné à mort (1828-1829) and Nodier's Histoire d'Hélène Gillet (1832). Beyond similarities in the social standpoint they present (against the death penalty), both texts offer numerous similarities in style. The "cut" of the guillotine translates into literary cuts (fragmentation of the texts, interruptions by "foreign" discourses). The cut expresses the revolt against the Law, the Father, and at the same time offers a renewed, modern literary form privileging the semiotic over the symbolic (Kristeva's terminology). (In French) (HL-D)

Lowe-Dupas, Hélène
Release Year:
1995 Spring-Summer; 23(3-4): 341-48