Documentation critique sur les auteurs contemporains de langue française

Wajdi Mouawad


GRUTMAN, Rainier, et Heba Alah GHADIE, « Incendies de Wajdi Mouawad : les méandres de la mémoire », Neohelicon : Acta Comparationis Litterarum Universarum, vol. 33, no 1 (juin 2006), p. 91-108.

Type de document :

Article de revue

Résumé / commentaire :

« While memory guarantees a degree of continuity between past and present, it is not without shortcomings. Powerless in the face of the future and threatened by oblivion, memory has the ability to imprison individuals and communities alike in a version of the past that has been promoted to the level of historical truth. This is why the work of Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad (a rising figure in the world of French-language theatre) generally prefers the international kind of memory provided by literature to the historical ties commonly invoked in family retellings of the past. Mouawad's reworking of memory is particularly present in his best-known play,  Littoral (1997), which addresses the various ways in which institutionalized forms of memory prevent the development of individual identities.This article concentrates on his more recent play Incendies (2003), where historical memory no longer yields to literary memory, but rather superimposes itself on an intertextual canvas. While obviously rewriting the Oedipus myth as told by Sophocles (whose Oedipus Rex becomes a “palimpsestuous” plot for Incendies), Mouawad's text is also replete with references to the civil war in his native Lebanon. Most historical episodes (e.g. the burnt-out bus of 1975, the Sabra and Chatila refugee camp massacres of 1982) are reworked in function of the dramatic plot, and it would be unfair to reduce Incendiesto a “message” or any other traditional form of “commitment”. Yet Mouawad does not fit the profile of Jean-Paul Sartre's “irresponsible” writer either: Lebanon's civil war, far from being a mere screen onto which the action is projected, informs this play as much as the oedipal plot does. It is indeed the combination of both semantic networks that allows a real working through of memory, which is what is at stake here. »
(Extrait du site de la revue Neohelicon)

Version numérique du document accessible en ligne :

- Grutman, 2006, version PDF