Études Britanniques Contemporaines (2012-06-01)

La hantise du rien comme envers de l’H/histoire chez Graham Swift : Waterland et Ever After

  • Georges Letissier

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 42
pp. 95 – 110


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In Swift’s fictions, History is invested with a calling. It conceals the emptiness, the nothingness of reality. Through its dramatic function, history, understood both as story-telling and historiography, hides the annihilating real.Waterland and Ever After, probably the most historical of Swift’s fictions to date, both testify to a similar obsession with nothingness to the same degree. This is an aspect which has hardly been addressed so far. In both novels, Swift’s writing draws its creative energy from the dynamic of the lack. It is indeed prompted from an impulse to fill up the void, which constantly returns through the author’s prose. The need to tell stories, or to be told stories to, stems from irrepressible drives. Lacanian theory shows that the object of the pulsion cannot be assimilated with any concrete object, but instead, conceived of as a gaping hole, a void and thus as eluding representation. Nothingness is indeed one of the objects a, alongside with gaze and voice.