Représentations de l’Extrême-Orient chez Philippe Forest et Jean-Philippe Toussaint

Auteur Xiaoxiao WANG
Directeur /trice Thomas Hunkeler
Co-directeur(s) /trice(s)
Résumé de la thèse

Philippe Forest published his Japanese novel Sarinagara based on his travels in Japan, and then his Chinese novel Pi Ying Xi in 2022 based on his travels in China. He has already mentioned Pi ying xi (shadow theater) in Schrödinger's Cat, which includes many Chinese elements, but the author confessed that his writing had nothing to do with real China, that it was almost a fantasy, the imagination of a European through literature. He also confided that he had invented the word of Confucius. In Pi Ying Xi, not only Confucius, but also Lao-tzu, Chuang-tzu and others appear as the author refers to Confucianism and Taoism. The narrator of Pi Ying Xi repeats several times that China is a country "that I do not know, that I do not understand". I plan to study this novel from the perspective of a Chinese reader, who knows and understands China more than the hero of the novel, but to study Sarinagara from the perspective of a foreign reader. Similarly, we can notice intertextuality with English literature in I Remain King of My Sorrows, with Japanese literature in Sarinagara, and with Chinese literature in Pi Ying Xi.

Jean-Philippe Toussaint published three Japanese novels : Faire l’amour, Nue, Autoportrait (à l’étranger) based on his travels in Japan, and three Chinese novels : Fuir, Made in China, La Clé USB based on his travels in China. Toussaint examines modern society and the city, a multicultural background gives him a broader perspective, giving him the ability to find a balance between the confrontation of different cultures and the willingness to appreciate foreign cultures and walk freely between them, becoming a bridge of understanding and communication between different cultures and countries.

The "Far East" refers primarily to the western coast of today's Pacific Ocean, south of the Arctic Ocean, and north of Australia, which is also known as East Asia in today's geography. It is also known as East Asia in today's geography. Together with the "Near East" and "Middle East", it is collectively known as the "East". This is the region where the European culture system was used before the colonial era began. This is the result of the division of the European cultural system before the beginning of the colonial era.

The Far Eastern imagination is a type of collective social imaginary. The exotic image, although created by the writer, is not an individual act. The writer's understanding of the exotic is not direct but is portrayed according to the imagination of the society and group to which the writer belongs. The image of foreigners in the literature of a country is the result of the imagination of the whole society. The Far Eastern imagination helps Europeans to orient themselves to their cultural identity. The Far East is both a representative of cultural utopia and a synonym of the cultural Other.

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