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Journal Articles Imaginaires Year : 2008

Chaos and literature: twelve easy introductory propositions

Ordre et Chaos


What's in a word? Chaos is a word we are all familiar with. Is there something hidden inside or behind it? Maybe there is nothing? Which does not mean that chaos does not exist... Maybe we should look at the word as an incentive, a catalyst causing us to think, to ask ourselves questions, to reject ready-made assumptions. We all know that the wise man never takes anything for granted. The wise man always sits on the brink of chaos. In other words, the way the word functions-if we choose to consider that the word chaos is indeed an important word for us-is that it represents a form of violence borne to bear upon our minds. Should we go so far as to say that chaos is first and foremost synonymous with a form of challenge? The following papers all try in their own way to define to what extent chaos is necessary to read, re-read and interpret literary texts, and perhaps more generally to tell us why we need literature in our lives. In this respect, it is certainly possible to simplify things and consider that there are two main options. A first possibility is that we read as a means of escape, as a way of finding some pleasure that is not too demanding for us. We do not wish to make too many efforts and we apply to texts the codes that are already present in our minds. The second possibility is to try and read the way Michel Leiris wrote-always facing the horns of the bull. Reading is a dangerous, unpredictable activity. We read because we know that we will only have one life and that every second counts. We turn to literature as it contains something special that teaches us an essential truth about ourselves and our relationship to the world. In fact, we need literature to scratch the surface and see the chaos beneath it-indeed the chaos inside ourselves. Chaos is what tells us that everything in our lives is not already written. This is a collection of articles about the implications of the fact that using the word chaos can be seen as a challenge. If we look at it with all the seriousness it deserves, a text will not leave us unscathed. Some of the studies you are about to read adopt scientific concepts,


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hal-02488703 , version 1 (24-02-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02488703 , version 1


Daniel Thomières. Chaos and literature: twelve easy introductory propositions. Imaginaires, 2008, Ordre et chaos, 12, 367 p. ⟨hal-02488703⟩
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