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'Mensonge': The Rejection of Enlightenment in the Unreliable 'Souvenirs' of Charles Nodier

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Charles Nodier (1780–1844), librarian, occultist, entomologist and pioneer of the Fantastic in France was also a consummate liar in his many biographical souvenirs, a fact which led Bryan Rogers to understand him as attempting tofind consolation in a 'superior truth' in his memoirs to that of his own lived experience, while Hélène Lowe-Dupas has remarked more on his use of the language of theatre in these memoirs in order, amongst other things, to render experience less chaotic. By detailing the nature of his lies in two souvenirs 'Les Prisons de Paris sous le Consulat' (1826) and 'Suites d'un mandat d'arrêt' (1834), the current article seeks to locate the falsehoods as being more firmly rooted in his symbiotic rationale for Fantastic fiction, and demonstrate how his lies have a more scientific justification, helping him to extend historical truth before it is shown to be demonstrable.
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Keywords: Enlightenment; Fantastic; French Revolution; Napoleon; autobiography; guillotine; philosophy; science

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Macau

Publication date: May 1, 2016

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  • The official journal of the International Gothic Association considers the field of Gothic studies from the eighteenth century to the present day. The aim of Gothic Studies is not merely to open a forum for dialogue and cultural criticism, but to provide a specialist journal for scholars working in a field which is today taught or researched in almost all academic establishments. Gothic Studies invites contributions from scholars working within any period of the Gothic; interdisciplinary scholarship is especially welcome, as are readings in the media and beyond the written word.

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