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À Suwałki en Pologne et au Canada. Tziganes, Indiens, métis et êtres hybrides. Du cliché de l’étranger à l’hybridité exilique constitutive de la condition humaine

Abstract : Arkady Fiedler’s Canada Smels like resin ( first edition in 1935) mixes reporting with a personal quest. The 14 stories of I doubt that you will be able to follow us (the volume was published in 2013) by Jacek Milewski exploit fiction in order to tell truths about the Polish Gypsy community. The two works reveal a common perspective that justifies studying them side by side. Arkady Fiedler and Jacek Milewski move outside their home group to communities, certainly firmly rooted in their culture, but also, in many respects, dominated and marginalized: Indians and Gypsies. The discovery of the other and its transposition into a narrative is part of a double exilic perspective, because exile affects both the subject-writer and his object of study. We think of the Edward Said’s figure of the intellectual, both outsider and exile. Born of crossing of borders, exile invites to destabilize the frameworks that belong to the native, domestic and familiar realm, to experience “foreigner” about whom we did not know much except that he is opposed to “we.” Here and there, the literary project presupposes a quasi‑scientific preparation; the establishment of quasi‑experimental conditions capable of breaking down obstacles which, in normal times, obscure or even make access to foreign countries impossible. Fiedler has extensively researched Canada and its history; his excursion, far from the main urban centers, becomes the vector of a discovery of “deep Canada.” Jacek Milewski began to frequent Gypsies as an educator; he learned their language and kept getting to know them closely. Fiedler and Milewski subvert the dualism between dominant and dominated. The Western/Indian opposition gives way to a contrasting palette: English, French, Indian factions allied with such and such a group of whites, metis, emigrants. In Milewski’s work, there is also an effect of paradoxical familiarity, cracking the wall of strangeness between the “native” reader and the Gypsies. In addition, beyond the Indians and the Gypsies, the two authors turn to “other” others. Not only metis, but also individuals marked by hybridity who have united several cultural identities and whose history has a tragic dimension: Etienne Brûlé, Gray Owl, the character of Wieslaw in Milewski. Fiedler’s Stanislaw the guide also embodies this prototype. These exarcerbated others hold up a mirror to the subject‑writer who is himself out of step with his community of origin. The lifestyle of Gypsies and Indians has a number of traditional features; close to nature, it is also the repository of interhuman values endangered by the progress of modern society. Hence a questioning about modernization, its harmful consequences as much as its profound utility. Thus, the two works are likely to feed contemporary research conducted from an ecocritical perspective.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 16, 2021 - 2:52:40 PM
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Piotr Bilos. À Suwałki en Pologne et au Canada. Tziganes, Indiens, métis et êtres hybrides. Du cliché de l’étranger à l’hybridité exilique constitutive de la condition humaine. Slovo, Presses de l’INALCO, 2021, Les Voyages lointains des écrivains polonais (XX-XXIe siècles), The Distant Voyages of Polish Writers (20th-21st centuries) (51), ⟨10.46298/slovo.2021.7447⟩. ⟨hal-03200385⟩



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