Site de Benoît Melançon / Thèses canadiennes en littérature française du XVIIIe siècle

Sechin, Anne, «“Partout où il n’y aura rien, lisez…” : textualité et sexualité dans les romans de Diderot», Winnipeg, University of Manitoba, thèse de doctorat, 2005, [ii]/vii/292 p. Dir. : Eric Annandale.

The object of the present thesis is to unveil the connections between textuality and sexuality in Diderot’s novels, namely in Les Bijoux indiscrets, La Religieuse and Jacques le fataliste. Diderot’s poetics are defined in this paradoxical connection, as the text is a work of seduction attempting to secure the attention, admiration, perhaps even love of a reader. By casting a new theoretical light and by approaching Diderot’s novels from a different angle on questions that have always been studied separately, this study hopes to refine and enrich the readings of Diderot’s novels, while at the same time performing a thorough investigation into what a reader should be, in Diderot’s fictional world at least, what are the conditions required for a message to be fully conveyed. As a work of seduction, a novel implies complex relationships between at least two parties, the author and the reader, who both need to cooperate in the fulfilment of a meaning, within acceptable parameters. Studying textual mechanisms alongside with sexual “themes” can only be done if one at least partly gives up the notion of a dichotomy between abstract and concrete, between paper and world, in short, if one fully embraces the paradoxes of the fictional world of a materialist philosopher who sees no such distinctions.

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