Book Chapter

"Fanfare de rouge": fantasmagorie colorée du désir chez Huysmans

Bertrand Bourgeois

The Unknowable in Literature and Material Culture: Essays in Honour of Clive Thomson | Cambridge Scholars Publishing | Published : 2019


This book chapter explores the paradoxical writing of an unspeakable desire that can only be expressed through the use of pictorial elements, in particular the colour red, in two early prose poems (1874, 1876) and one later novel (1895) by Joris-Karl Huysmans. The three texts have in common careful descriptions of phantasmal apparitions of feminine bodies in skilful variations of colours, hence asking the following question: how does visual imaging operate in a text to allow it to tell the unspeakable corporality of desire? While in the first poem “Camaïeu rouge” the desire is expressed through the use of fifty shades of red, it is the use of synaesthesia and the convening of other arts (th..

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