Le Degré zéro de l’émotion dans Par le feu de Tahar Ben Jelloun

  • Jamal El Qasri (Autor/in)
    Heidelberg Center for American Studies, Universität Heidelberg


In this article that recalls Roland Barthes’s classical work Le Degré zéro de l’écriture, I focus on the writing of Tahar Ben Jelloun’s short story Par le feu. One might consider his writing as “white”, since it seems disembodied, disenchanted, and little descriptive, where the feeling is dismissed in favour of an almost flat approach to the real. This may challenge readers not only on the various levels of the short story (narration, construction of the characters, and setting) but also on the level of the Jellounean “phrasing”, which apparently (and unlike what is found in other Ben Jelloun’s short stories, such as Cette aveuglante absence de lumière 2001) demonstrates a refusal of the literary style. I will answer the question if this is the result of Ben Jelloun’s wry look or merely an effect of a lack of inspiration.