Une esthétique de l'opposition: le Rideau cramoisi de Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly


This article deals with the question of genre. Barbey's short story Le rideau cramoisi is based on a series of oppositions that confuse the traditional division between the realistic and the fantastic. The strategy of the writer is to cloak in a deliberately misleading fantastic style what is fundamentally a realistic plot. The shock value of the realistic intrigue is rendered more palatable for a conservative audience by the careful use of the conventions of the fantastic genre. Three groups of thematic oppositions (curiosity vs surprise; silence vs the spoken word; cold vs hot) run through the text, revealing the deceptive nature of each of the characters and of the narrator. No one in this story is what he/she at first appears to be. Indeed, appearances are proven to be always the exact opposite of the truth, and the story itself wears a stylistic mask designed to hide its true nature. (VF)

Release Year:
1995 Spring-Summer; 23(3-4): 441-50