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Carnival of Silence: Bakhtin and Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris

Carnival of Silence: Bakhtin and Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris CARNrVAL OF SILENCE: BAKHTIN AND HUGO'S NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS Lynn Franken In our opinion a very novel and interesting book might be written upon the employment of the grotesque in art. (Hugo, "Preface" 32) For the word (and, consequently, for a human being) there is nothing more terrible than a lack of response. (Bakhtin, "Problem" 127) Notre-Dame de Paris begins on carnival day: On January 6, 1482, the people ofParis were awakened by the tumultuous clanging of all the bells in the city. [. . .] The cause of all the commotion on the sixth of January was the double holiday of the Epiphany and the Festival of Fools, united since time immemorial. (Blair I)1 To reread Hugo's novel in the Ught of Bakhtin on carnival is to anticipate from this setting some inversion of the world of medieval Paris: some relocation of power, some illuminating or regenerative transposition of values. In Christian tradition, Epiphany ranks as the generative transpositional moment (the Gentile Magi adore the Christ Chüd). In secular paraUel, the Festival of Fools upends aU worldly hierarchies. With this deeply suggestive beginning, Hugo elects carnival as a dominant motif for his novel. Yet the regenerative potential http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Carnival of Silence: Bakhtin and Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris

The Comparatist , Volume 25 (1) – Oct 3, 2001

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887
Publisher site
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Abstract

CARNrVAL OF SILENCE: BAKHTIN AND HUGO'S NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS Lynn Franken In our opinion a very novel and interesting book might be written upon the employment of the grotesque in art. (Hugo, "Preface" 32) For the word (and, consequently, for a human being) there is nothing more terrible than a lack of response. (Bakhtin, "Problem" 127) Notre-Dame de Paris begins on carnival day: On January 6, 1482, the people ofParis were awakened by the tumultuous clanging of all the bells in the city. [. . .] The cause of all the commotion on the sixth of January was the double holiday of the Epiphany and the Festival of Fools, united since time immemorial. (Blair I)1 To reread Hugo's novel in the Ught of Bakhtin on carnival is to anticipate from this setting some inversion of the world of medieval Paris: some relocation of power, some illuminating or regenerative transposition of values. In Christian tradition, Epiphany ranks as the generative transpositional moment (the Gentile Magi adore the Christ Chüd). In secular paraUel, the Festival of Fools upends aU worldly hierarchies. With this deeply suggestive beginning, Hugo elects carnival as a dominant motif for his novel. Yet the regenerative potential

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Oct 3, 2001

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