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Cycnos | Volume 28 n° Spécial

Les refus de The Crimson Petal and the White (Michel Faber) : irrésolutions, frustrations, et compensations de genre

The narrative of the neovictorian novel The Crimson Petal and the White (2002) lies on a complex though coherent set of refusals, the objects of which are linked to gender, class, or literary genres. The diegetic or stylistic refusals are here analysed in their symptoms (the absence of norms in the text that makes the refusal even more salient), their objects and the conflicts then raised (tradition vs. subversion), the narrative forms that either betray, transmit or cancel them (ellipsis for instance), and the aesthetic strategies lurking behind each of them. The question of the (ir)resolution of refusals is then asked, to analyse the genre frustrations the novel builds up and plays with. Through the writing of sex and voyeurism, Faber attempts at compensating for these frustrations. Eventually the many embedded narratives are studied in their ultimate strategy not to explain refusals but to legitimate them as the prime movers of both the plot and the aesthetics of the book.

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