Le Vertige du Vide - Huysmans, Céline, Sartre

Author: Hafez-Ergaut, Agnès
This study deals with the notions of the sordid and nihilism and explores their rapport with the works of Huysmans, Céline, and Sartre. This study argues that the three writers are lined in their philosophical or spiritual quest, and aims at demonstrating that the sordid is used as a metaphor to describe the trauma that modern times inflict on modern man. In French.


“With a keen insight, Agnès Hafez-Ergaut rises above individual authors and proves convincingly that the sordid became the new phenomenon, the new aesthetics of modern literature. Before proceeding into her rigorous analysis, Agnès Hafez-Ergaut provides the reader with a solid background of the sordid, beginning with Naturalism and Realism. With this background her analysis proceeds rationally and her conclusions make sense. The analysis of the work is thorough and scholarly, revealing the author’s profound knowledge of the texts and authors chosen. . . Hafez-Ergaut argues most convincingly that this modern literature with its emphasis on the sordid is a metaphor for modern man’s loss of God, of reference to any limit in his world and a sign of man’s tragic state and fate, fascinated and, worse yet, lost in the nihilistic vertigo of death. Agnès Hafez-Ergaut’s book is solid, scholarly and original. It is well written, is well organized and as such is a major contribution to the literary criticism of Huysmans, Céline, and Sartre and their contemporaries.” – Guy Mermier

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface; Introduction
Les images: Naturalisme et néant;
Les menaces: Précarité, finitude et génération
L’extériorité du mal: Le contingent
L’intériorité du mal: Les débâcles (le vomissment; L’excrément; Le pourissement); L’enlisement (Huysmans et la crise juponnière; Céline ou l’élan contrarié; Sartre, le pourfendeur)
Huysmans: de l’Art à L’Art
Céline: de la fascination existentiale au propre de l’homme
Sartre: de la “liberté existentialist” à l’engagment
Conclusion; bibliographie