What does it mean for Proust's hero to travel around Europe? Which kind of look does he give at foreign landscapes? A deep insight into the occurrences of the word "voyage" helps us to describe the conditions and nature of the traveller's vision. It appears that the hero perceives, for instance, Venice views through his many artistic and literary readings, and combines intellectual and phenomenological views by the means of metaphor. The description that comes out from his camera obscura is the pure expression of a personal, unique "vision".
The subject of this work is an analysis of the novels by Éric Chevillard published between 1987 and 2012 by Minuit. Chevillard, one of the most unique voices in the current panorama of French literature, is considered heir to authors like Beckett and Michaux by critics who incessantly search for a collocation for his “unnerving” texts. He progressively elaborates an incongruous aesthetics, aimed at involving the reader in the construction of a deep-seated sense that continuously eludes every attempt to categorize it, hovering between playfulness, linguistic inventiveness and the exposure of plausible fictions. This contribution aims at accepting the challenge offered by the novels themselves, offering a label which expresses both their nuances and elusiveness, able to communicate the infinite facades of their ambiguous poetics through incongruity: the 'loufoque'.
This aesthetic category can also be related to principles of linguistic economy, in order to strengthen the analysis with a further purpose. On the one hand, the semiotic acceptation of 'loufoque' enables to see the unexpected rigour of the texts, whose propensity to poke fun at the reader represents one of the most serious aims, whose almost nonsensical effects presume a logical criteria for writing. On the other hand, the reference to the 'loufoque' itself allows to underline the intertextual dimension of such intriguing fictions and collocates them in the steps of a specific literary tradition.
In 1915, a few months after the outbreak of the 1st World War, Sigmund Freud writes the essay "Zeitgemäßes über Krieg und Tod", in which he reflects about the reason why war is still possible in a cultural advanced society like the Western one, and about the relation of modernity with the problem of “evil”, violence and death.
This article takes its cue from this essay in order to analyse Erich Maria Remarque's novel "Im Westen nichts Neues" (1928-29) from an innovative point of view. Remarque himself argues in many interviews and articles that his book should neither be considered a historical report about the 1st World War nor merely an antiwar-novel about the dramatic experience of a lost generation, but rather a true psychological novel. As a matter of fact, "Im Westen nichts Neues" tells about the “human all too human” mechanisms of violence and power through an understated representation of the trauma of a generation which was thrown into a sort of “state of exception”, a state situated simultaneously outside and inside civil society. The essay aims to illustrate how Freud and Remarque take a very similar perspective in their works about the Great War when considering the complex relation between culture and war, civilisation and violence, psychology and power in Western modern society.