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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 8, 2008

Phenomenology and Literature

Hervé Vautrelle
Pages 379-398

La montagne de Mann, le désert de Buzzati, le rivage de Gracq
phénoménologie de trois espaces-temps littéraires

This article aims to establish that literature is an ideal laboratory for undertaking some phenomenological experimentations, even when not explicitly intended by the author. By considering three works (Der Zauberberg by Thomas Mann, Il deserto dei Tartari by Dino Buzzati and Le rivage des Syrtes by Julien Gracq) that all tell the story of one man gone far away from his country and isolated in a mysterious, fascinating and closed place, we propose to study the complex relations that weave between space and time and between landscape and consciousness, and to deduce from it their phenomenological impact. We attempt to show that space localization and organisation influence and even modify the behaviour and the personality of humans, and induce a new relation to temporality: the mountain arouses boredom, the desert prepares the expectation and the shore brings the facing of one’s fate.