`Le Horla' et `l'effet de réel'


Drawing on Todorov's definition of "the fantastic" in literature and on Lacan's description of the "mirror stage," I point out that in Le Horla (1887) Maupassant anticipates the Freudian discovery of the unconscious. I argue that throughout the story the hero undergoes a process of gradual identification with an exterior reality (hors, Fr.), which nevertheless lies deep down in himself (la, Fr.) and is more than he can tolerate. The basic claim here is that a "fantastic" kernel is found at the heart of every production of literature, and that Maupassant successfully envisioned a modern rendition of this process. (In French) (RDT)

Turcanu, Radu
Release Year:
1998 Spring-Summer; 26(3-4): 387-97