Male Imagination and Representation of Home Spaces in Times of War: Julien Gracq’s Un Balcon En Forêt [Balcony in the Forest]



Representations of home as a nurturing space connect imaginatively with the structure of our psyche. They resemble the protective, motherly envelope we all emerged from at birth to face the world and form our own identity. This chapter examines how literary narratives portraying the aggressive environment of war frequently call on these images of home and the cultural values they represent—for example through the dialectics of inner and outer, and the need to protect the physical as well as the intimate self. In the traditionally male world of the warrior, everyday domestic practices meet primitive but essential needs; encounter with the feminine order means ambivalence and sometimes regression. A range of French literary narratives of World War I and World War II is used here, particularly Julien Gracq’s 1958 story of the phoney war, unfolding in the mythic environment of the Ardennes forest, Un balcon en forêt.


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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