In Mérimée's "La Vénus d'Ille" (1837), the archaeologist-narrator enthusi-astically discusses a supposedly evil statue of Venus. The scholar's excessive interest in the sculpture, combined with his insistence on his disinterest in women, indicates that he is not asexual but that he shies away from the sensual and takes refuge in the intellectual. Psychoanalysis refers to the defensive replacement of an instinctual problem with an intellectual one as intel-lectualization. But the fantastic subverts this process: as the fantastic translates the narrator's intellectualization into reality, it provokes the very anxiety which the mechanism of intellectualization was originally designed to resolve. (jef)
Nineteenth Century French Studies – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jun 28, 2005
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