In his book, Rereading, Matei Calinescu uses the felicitous term "haunting" to evoke an experience that is no doubt familiar to most readers: "there are texts that haunt other texts," he observes, "in the sense that they appear in them as expected or unexpected visitors and even, one might say, as phantoms or specters, if such notions could be freed of their sinister connotations" (xi). Richly metaphorical, Calinescu's phrasing alludes, not to something that exists in either work by itself, but to a perception that occurs when the two come together in the mind of a reader.1 The relative dates of the texts are of little import, Calinescu adds: it is the one that an individual knows first or best that will seem effectively to "haunt" the other. Roland Barthes, in one of his provocative musings, voiced a similar notion when he confessed that, for him, "l'oeuvre de référence" (59) was invariably that of Proust, to the extent that, while perusing something by Stendhal or Flaubert, for example, he might have the unexpected impression of suddenly "finding" Proust (58-59). George Sand's Indiana (1832) and Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1857) offer an intriguing illustration of such a "souvenir circulaire" (Barthes
Nineteenth Century French Studies – University of Nebraska Press
Published: May 12, 2003
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