Les Représentations littéraires de la guerre civile libanaise: pour une poétique du lien

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In this dissertation I analyze representations of the Lebanese civil war in literature, and focus mainly on the works of the Francophone writers, Wajdi Mouawad, Elie-Pierre Sabbag and Ramy Zein. I trace in these works recurring themes and motifs that allow me to bring out the singularity of the aesthetics of war writings from the Lebanese civil war context. My thesis also reflects on the ethical questions raised by these works, which undertake a basic and universal examination of evil, meditate on the horrors of war, revenge and reconciliation, and grapple with the limits of human dignity. In the introduction, I present the authors and their works in the socio-historical context of the Mashrek and, more specifically, of Lebanon and the wars it has experienced since 1975. My dissertation is comprised of five chapters: In the first chapter, I examine the literary representation of the human cost of war: the aftermath of trauma, exile, and death. I also show how war and identity become inextricable in this literature. In the second chapter, I focus on the rewriting of myths and Greek tragedies such as Oedipus and Antigone as a way to gesture towards the unspeakable tragedy of war. In the third and fourth chapter, I demonstrate the importance of narrative by analyzing the links between intimate storytelling and the public space of theater, and by reexamining the notion of catharsis. The final chapter is a detailed study of the metaphors of reconstruction and reconciliation in Lebanese Francophone literature. In this section, I show how these works are characterized by a will to transcend conflicts; they thus constitute a powerful call for a society based on humanist ethical values.