We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

The Harlequin Poetics: Fragmentation, Performance, and Scandal in Jean Lorrain

BURIN, ALEXANDRE (2020) The Harlequin Poetics: Fragmentation, Performance, and Scandal in Jean Lorrain. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (The Harlequin Poetics: Fragmentation, Performance, and Scandal in Jean Lorrain) - Accepted Version


In this dissertation, I examine the self-construction of Jean Lorrain’s myth. I investigate Lorrain’s scandalous life and works through the notion of ‘harlequin poetics’, as emerging from the aesthetics of fragmentation, performance, and scandal, at a pivotal moment in literary and cultural Modernity, and the Belle Époque in a broader context. The first chapter concentrates on Lorrain’s ‘Patchwork of Narratives’ that constitutes his poetic practice. Informed by the amalgamation of the press, literature, and photography in the second half of the nineteenth century, the erratic use of fragments, discourses and snapshots of high and low society life in his prose creates a dynamic panorama of Belle Époque France. The second chapter deals with Lorrain’s constant blurring of the frontiers between fact and fiction. This provokes a form of metaleptic mystification that has two distinct effects: firstly, Lorrain’s exploded ethos participates in the construction of his own myth, and secondly, it also impacts his text, which, in leaving apparent the seams of its structure, alludes to fin-de-siècle mystification and the Modernist aesthetics of fragmentation/self-reflexivity. The third chapter, entitled ‘Montage of Temporalities’, examines the montage aspect of Lorrain’s use of legendary, historical, and literary references. I show that, in Lorrain’s literature, the body is in turn de-formed (fragmentation), un-formed (void), and re-formed (montage/multiplicity). The fourth chapter focuses on Lorrain’s performance at three levels: gender performativity (the invention of queerness), the poetics of excess, and finally the performance of the self through the visual representations of Lorrain in and out of the media space. The last chapter, ‘Poetics of Scandal’, examines the self-construction of Lorrain’s myth through (media, literary, moral) transgressions and scandal. This helps me to question the issue of ethics in relation to Lorrain’s ‘harlequin poetics’ and, more generally, scandal as media strategy in the Belle Époque in relation to today.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Jean Lorrain; Decadence; Modernity; Belle Époque; Harlequin; Nineteenth-Century French Literature; fragmentation; performance; mystification; scandal
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:03 Feb 2021 10:04

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter