What is it about?

Dystopias in literature are many, and can be studied through the ecological lens. I chose two French-written masterpieces, "Moi qui n'ai pas connu les hommes" (Jacqueline Harpman, 1995) and "Choir" (Éric Chevillard, 2010). The works describe places whose roots have been cut off cleanly and question the reader's present relationship to his environment.

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Why is it important?

In our troubled, somehow apocalyptic times, we should never stop questioning the nature of the relationship between the environment and the body. These works picture what could happen to the surviving body in a devastated environment: The survivors experience the total - and forced - loss of distance with nature; this loss of distance is narrated through the motif of the fall (physical and symbolic) of humanity after a catastrophe.


The distance with nature is part of the human experience, but distance should not mean disconnection, which leads to destroy our own environment. These works show how a sudden loss of distance with nature (due to a catastrophe) can be a very painful reminder that we need to be connected to the nature in us.

Dr Laurence Pagacz
Universite catholique de Louvain

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Chute et éveil du corps dans les dystopies : Moi qui n’ai pas connu les hommes de Jacqueline Harpman et Choir d’Éric Chevillard, Études littéraires, July 2019, Consortium Erudit,
DOI: 10.7202/1061858ar.
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