By Eugène Nicole
Neuf mois en Alaska, trois saisons, le temps d'une gestation et d'une transfiguration : c'est le remède choisi par le narrateur pour oublier l. a. femme qui vient de le quitter. Mais à l'université de Fairbanks, réputée pour son département de sismologie et ses études des langues athabaskanes, son séjour se transforme en une aventure aux multiples facettes où se croisent de jeunes marginaux, des universitaires extravagants et les dernières survivantes du peuple eyak.
Biographie de l'auteur
Eugène Nicole est né à Saint-Pierre (Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon), où il a passé toute son enfance. Après des études en France, à los angeles Sorbonne et à l'Institut d'études politiques de Paris, puis un séjour en Alaska, il entame une carrière universitaire aux Etats-Unis. Depuis 1989, il est professeur de littérature française à l'université de ny.
Avec L'Œuvre des mers, paru aux variations de l'Olivier en 2004, ce spécialiste de Proust réconciliait deux traditions littéraires : l. a. prise en cost du monde et l'invention de soi. Alaska affirme son sens du burlesque et son goût de l. a. mise en scène : ce roman est aussi une brillante comédie.
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Extra info for Alaska
Kissed and cuddled’, fostering an immediate identification of the individual with the wider community and giving the mother ‘certain free hours as a human being, as a member of a civilized community, as an economic producer, as a growing, self-realizing individual’. 75 Gilman’s argument, then, is primarily against the patriarchal family, which, while enslaving women, breeds an ‘inordinate self-interest’76 in the next generation, thus creating women who live vicariously through their husbands and children and men who demand domestic service from their wives, who are thus cut off from the means to fulfil themselves both as women and as mothers: The human mother does less for her young, both absolutely and proportionately, than any kind of mother on earth.
Hence, the emotional emphasis and the true ‘love story’ of Herland is based on an examination of the values accruing from collective effort and public ‘service’. This, and the absence of cultural artefacts associated with courtship, places the men at a disadvantage from which Jennings is forced to re-evaluate his views on the status of women and the status of the men as potential suitors: You see, if a man loves a girl who is in the first place young and inexperienced; who in the second place is educated with a background of caveman tradition, a middle-ground of poetry and romance, and a foreground of unspoken hope and interest all centering upon the one Event; and who has, furthermore, absolutely no other hope or interest worthy of the name – why, it is a comparatively easy matter to sweep her off her feet with a dashing attack.
Alfred, who has never had to think ‘unsexually and objectively about women’, now realises that he ‘must think about women. How does one do that? ’15 Unlike the narrator of Proud Man, who directly experiences the Great Britain of the 1930s as her/his past,16 Alfred’s perspective is limited by the flawed nature of the history that has been given into his keeping. Although the book recounts the destruction of all other historical records and charts the beginning of the process which has perpetuated the idea of Hitler as a god and the German people as superior to all other races it is, itself, a mixture of fact and conjecture.