Quand la chair de l’interprète européenne hante la chaire des hérauts européanistes…

Chris Reyns-Chikuma


On the one hand, there is a great number of « national » fictions. To various degrees (patriotic, nationalistic) and consciously or not, these fictions participate in the construction of a nation. On the other hand, there are also a lot of fictions that we can characterize as cosmopolitan or postnational and which are situated outside any clear national boundaries. On the contrary, one can count very few fictions on the construction of a European supranationality. To my knowledge, Constellation by Alain Lacroix (2008) is the only one in French and that is the one I am going to write about in this essay.
My goal here is threefold. It is first to show that although the interpreter seems to play a minor role (according to the number of pages) and although she is apparently considered an insignificant quantity by both male protagonists, as her regular and obsessive return in the text proves it she is actually important since she haunts the characters sexually and ideologically. I will also show that this haunting spreads through the whole novel through the issue of the interpretation of signs. The second goal is to show that the interpreter, who is explicitly presented as an impersonation of Europe, actually incarnates the ambivalence of any « europeanist » project. She is indeed a bridge not only between two languages & cultures but also between both faces of any European policy. The first one, concrete, tries to incorporate the real life of the Europeans, their daily concerns which themselves are often inscribed within their « national habitus», and the other one to exceed it within a transnational project which is often perceived as too abstract. Finally, I will conclude showing how Constellation “foreignizes” (Venuti, 2008, 6) its translation of the European realities, not by its choices but by the choice of avant-garde esthetic techniques.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21992/T90055

ISSN 1920-0323