Le mage comme métaphore de l'écrivain: le cas de Joséphin Péladan


  • Michela Gardini Université de Bergame




Péladan, Mérodack, décadence, mage, magie


Joséphin Péladan, author of Décadence Latine and also founder of the Rose+Croix du Temple et du Graal Confraternity, represents from various angles the symbol of  that cultural atmosphere which characterizes the end of the nineteenth century. As he stigmatizes the moral and cultural decline of his contemporaries, Péladan creates the character of Mérodack the Magus, described as a supreme being that arises above the bourgeois mediocrity and who, thanks to a self-sublimation process based on will-power, according to the outlook already traced by Eliphas Lévi, not only can redeem himself, but also can show the direction for a shared redemption. However, as a matter of fact, the solipsistic and narcissistic attitude of the Magus ends by overwhelming any social temptation. In this path which shows preferential connections between literature and occultism, the Magus, former other self of the author, his double in the mirror, as their physical resemblance and the interchange of names prove, rises to the metaphor of the writer: both committed to a self-referring dimension, they transgress the bourgeois rules of productivity by changing magic and writing into an ascesis, a self-commemorative operation only consecrated to the ego. This idea of magic, conceived as a metaphor of writing as well, as a hermetic and mystic operation appears, in conclusion as the utmost accomplishment, daintily decadent, of Mallarmé's poetry conception, just a supreme act, which is to find the reason of his own existence solely in itself.

Author Biography

Michela Gardini, Université de Bergame

Michela Gardini, docteur en Recherches sur l'Imaginaire de l'Université Stendhal de Grenoble, est enseignante-chercheuse à l'Université de Bergame où elle enseigne la Littérature Française. Elle est membre de l'école doctorale Culture Umanistiche e Visive de l'Université de Bergame.

Actuellement elle s'occupe en particulier, dans une perspective pluridisciplinaire, de la littérature française de la fin du XIXème siècle, en privilégiant les thèmes et les auteurs du Décadentisme.

Elle a publié Nei frammenti della modernità. L'immaginario della distruzione nella letteratura francese fra Ottocento e Novecento (Bergamo University Press 2006), Giovanna d'Arco e i suoi doppi (Bergamo University Press 2009) et elle a présenté et établi l'édition du Traité des eunuques de Charles Ancillon (L'Harmattan 2007).




How to Cite

Gardini, Michela. 2012. “Le mage comme métaphore de l’écrivain: le cas de Joséphin Péladan”. Nordlit, no. 28 (March):63-70. https://doi.org/10.7557/13.2037.