Textual Harassment: Barbey d'Aurevilly's Les Diaboliques


Scandal had been integral to Barbey d'Aurevilly's art, but upon the publication of Les Diaboliques (1874), he tried to silence condemnation. This apparent contradiction resolves itself if we examine how two of the stories develop by abuses of communication that harass the characters, narrator, author, and readers. In a dialectic of expression/repression, storytelling becomes equated with giving and receiving confession – verbal exhibitionism and voyeurism – during which wounds pass from teller to listener. Storytelling that is cut off marks a transition in Barbey from narration as salvation to narration as self-destruction, and pre-views suppression and self-suppression in his career. (HR)

Rodina, Herta
Release Year:
1995-1996 Fall-Winter; 24(1-2): 144-53