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Whales and Disaster: Hélèn Cixous on the Figure of Jonah

Event Type
Department of French and Italian in collaboration with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S.
2090B FLB
Dec 10, 2019   5:00 - 6:30 pm  
Brigitte Weltman-Aron
Marcus Keller
Originating Calendar
Department of French and Italian (EVENTS)

When Hélène Cixous published her first book, she considered using the pseudonym Jonas, which is the way prophet Jonah is called in French. One of the stories of the book, "Jonah's Whale," is a powerful rewriting of the Biblical Book of Jonah, in which Jonah is asked to prophesy the end of Nineveh. Cixous examines what links a name to a living being, and the implications of being sent for and called into action. In the belly of the whale, an incorporation that is both a punishment and a preservation, Jonah reflects on the significance of mastery when it aims to obliterate others, and on his responsibility to others. This presentation is part of Brigitte Weltman-Aron’s current comparative book project on whales in literature.

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