The Autobiography in Paul Claudel’s MaConversion


The article deals with the autobiography of Paul Claudel in his essay Ma Conversion written in 1913 at the request of readers. The readers believe that his biography no longer belongs to him, so the experience of his conversion should be of common property. It reveals his confessional retrospective traits and self-awareness in “biographical” literary works. Different types of confession, features of preaching, self-expression and autobiography are interwoven in the essay. The language of the essay is poetic and polysemantic. Distance is manifested in many ways in Claudel’s works, from the explicit biographical author - “moi, Paul” to the literary author - “le poète”. The writer begins in a confessional, indecisive manner, but as he becomes more professional, he resorts to the “biographical author” less willingly, more often remaining on the sidelines as a literary author. There is less open reflection in the collection of works Conversations (1926-1937), so the poet discusses reality, but he does not describe his feelings and actions as he did when he was younger. Claudel's autobiography combines the sacred and the secular, while the intimate and the public act as a “preparatory” stage to a multi-volume exegetic “novel”.

About the authors

Konstantin V. Bannikov

HSE University

Author for correspondence.

Assistant Professor of the Department of Literature and Intercultural Communication

30 Sormovskoe Shosse, Nizhny Novgorod, 603014, Russian Federation


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