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Ecocritics and EcoskepticsA Humanist Reading of Recent French Ecofiction$
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Jonathan F. Krell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789622058

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789622058.001.0001

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A Fairy in the Age of Prometheus: Chantal Chawaf’s Mélusine des détritus

A Fairy in the Age of Prometheus: Chantal Chawaf’s Mélusine des détritus

Chapter:
(p.77) Chapter 3 A Fairy in the Age of Prometheus: Chantal Chawaf’s Mélusine des détritus
Source:
Ecocritics and Ecoskeptics
Author(s):

Jonathan F. Krell

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789622058.003.0004

Melusine is a fairy of French folklore, originating in the Poitou region of western France. She was cursed to metamorphose into a serpent from the waist down every Saturday, but in general is a positive figure, associated with fresh water and forests, the construction of castles and churches, fertility and maternity. Mélusine des détritus is a depressing new take on the fairy story. The Melusine of Chawaf’s novel is a young woman who suffers acutely from the contemporary industrial world in which she lives. She has developed severe asthma from breathing polluted air, she lives in the fear of a meltdown destroying the nuclear power plant near her town and has a vague fear that the human race as we know it will not survive much longer. She symbolizes the disenchantment of the modern world recounted by such contemporary French philosophers as Michel Maffesoli and Pierre Rabhi.

Keywords:   Chantal Chawaf (Marie de la Montluel), Melusine, nuclear power plants, Jacques Derrida, environmental crisis

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