Reading, loving, rewriting
Bad faith on the part of an author who cannot accept seeing himself so desecrated or who cannot admit that his heroine can be desired by others? ‘It was almost a scene of jealousy,’ smiles Jacques Dubois. ‘We both got caught up in the game. He took it in a good spirit. But it’s rather a question of me not being happy with him. I tell him all the time that he is wrong! At the same time it is critical freedom. But in reality it is not a case of value judgements. There is never any malicious intent. The writers I cite must understand that I am paying tribute to them and should be happy that their works have produced such effects.’ Before adding maliciously: ‘the majority of them are in any case no longer with us. I don’t have too much to worry about...’
Towards a liberated reading
The concept of critical-fiction is not entirely a new one. The author moreover reminds us that certain works – from Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary to Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe – have been subjected to numerous rewritings. The book is also inscribed in the tradition of interventionist criticism championed by the French writer Pierre Bayard (3). Like him, Jacques Dubois pleads for a personalised reading. If he had a message for readers it would be the following one: ‘feel free in relation with what you are reading.’ ‘Very often,’ he explains, ‘people cannot stand jumping a paragraph or losing the page they had reached. And yet I think we have to skip the lines. We are too subservient to the authors.’
(3) A professor of literature and psychoanalyst, the author in particular of the work Comment parler des livres que l’on n’a pas lus (Les Éditions de Minuit, coll. « Paradoxe », 2007).