La figure féminine chez Arne Dybfest

  • Guri Ellen Barstad Universitetet i Tromsø
Emneord (Nøkkelord): Femme décadente, confusion, salut, nature, folklore, ambiguïté


Arne Dybfest (1862-1892) is a Norwegian author whose female figures seem to have all the usual characteristics of the decadent woman. They are erotic, calculating and dangerous creatures entangling men in their snares and ruining their lives. They are morally, socially and aesthetically transgressive. At the same time, they remind us of the "huldra", a central figure in Scandinavian folklore. This beautiful and dangerous creature lives in the forest; her specialty is to seduce and bewitch young men and - worst-case scenario - bring them with her inside the mountain where she dwells.

Dybfest's women are ugly, frightening and yet irresistibly attractive. Torn between aversion and blind admiration the male protagonist seems most of the time detached from reality, becoming a stranger to himself. Gradually he turns into two different persons. In the novel Ira (1891) the young man is liberated thanks to a young woman's rescuing love. Zita, a symbol of exuberant life, frees him from Ira's fatal grip.

But is this salvation story entirely unambiguous? This article focuses not only on the differences between the two women but also on their similarities. A more nuanced view might complicate the picture and blur some distinctions.


Guri Ellen Barstad, Universitetet i Tromsø
Guri Ellen Barstad est docteur ès lettres de l'Université de Provence et Professeur de littérature française à l'Université de Tromsø. Elle a fait sa thèse de doctorat sur Jean Giono (Stratégies narratives dans les Chroniques romanesques de Jean Giono). Parmi ses travaux on peut mentionner Mademoiselle de Maupin de Théophile Gautier. Arabesques et identités fluctuantes (Solum, L'Harmattan), et des articles sur Isabelle Eberhardt, Jean Lorrain, Rachilde, Bjørnson, Giono et Fred Vargas. Elle participe cette année, avec un travail sur Rachilde, à un programme interdisciplinaire établi par le Conseil Norvégien de la Recherche Scientifique. Ce projet, intitulé "Conflits et négociations" se penche sur les mécanismes qui décident de l'évaluation dans le domaine culturel et artistique.
Hvordan referere
Barstad, Guri Ellen. 2012. «La Figure féminine Chez Arne Dybfest». Nordlit, nr. 28 (mars):211-22.