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On Religion and Memory$
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Babette Hellemans, Willemien Otten, and Burcht Pranger

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251629

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251629.001.0001

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Trembling in Time: Silence and Meaning between Barthes, Chateaubriand, and Rancé

Trembling in Time: Silence and Meaning between Barthes, Chateaubriand, and Rancé

Chapter:
(p.100) Chapter 6 Trembling in Time: Silence and Meaning between Barthes, Chateaubriand, and Rancé
Source:
On Religion and Memory
Author(s):

Mette Birkedal Brunn

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823251629.003.0007

This chapter traces relations between Barthes's “La voyageuse de nuit” (1965), the object of this essay: Chateaubriand's Vie de Rancé (1844), and Chateaubriand's biographical protagonist, the seventeenth-century Cistercian Armand-Jean de Rancé. The chapter describes each figure's authorial project in its Sitz im Leben with particular focus on two motifs which are of concern for all three. Firstly, ways in which a particular mindset or ethos may transcend particular historical contexts and create connections across time, making the past relevant for the present: respectively the literary exploration of existence (Barthes), the creative power of the Christian tradition (Chateaubriand), and the salvational benefits of monastic asceticism (Rancé). Secondly, the role of silence for the understanding of existence – whether as a tool in a world-forsaking penitence or as an opening towards deeper meaning.

Keywords:   Barthes, Chateaubriand, Rancé, tradition, hermeneutics, monasticism, silence, literary topoi

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