“It’s not about torture, but of humiliation ; it is not about services, just slaps ”explains Raphael Enthoven about his stepfather.
Even the international press has decried about this so French scandal, of “Sex, lies and philosophy on the Left Bank ”from The Economist to an oedipal joke in The Guardian. With the time saved (Editions of the Observatory), whose Express had published the correct sheets, RaphaÃ «l Enthoven created the back-to-school controversy. Critics accuse him of settling scores with easily recognizable personalities in the book, like his ex-wife Justine LÃ © vy. Others, as Camille Laurens and Olivia de Lambertie, castigate a “cesspool” or a “shitty novel” which does not go beyond the anal stage.
CÃ´tÃ© people, the press makes hot mouths of the quarrel between RaphaÃ «l Enthoven and his father, the publisher Jean-Paul Enthoven, who also publishes a novel (What Blanche liked, Grasset). The soap will even take a judicial turn, since the author's ex-father-in-law, the psychoanalyst Isi Beller, depicted as having behaved violently, sues the editions of the Observatory, while asking 70 000 euros of repairs. Perhaps it is FrÃ © dÃ © ric Beigbeder who, in the Mask and the Feather, best summarized the situation by explaining that there are "a lot of things that are overdone in the way this book is treated". And the literature in it all? If the “Enthoven affair” comes under the germanopratin psychodrama like, and it's much sadder, misunderstandings within a family, she also asks serious questions about the reception of a confession according to the status of its author or on the limits of autofiction. for L’Express, RaphaÃ «l Enthoven returns to these different controversies and responds to his criticisms in a very offensive way.
L’Express : The time saved has provoked a controversy like every literary bill is fond of. From L’ObsauFigaro, the media have reduced this autobiographical novel to a "messy navelism" or to a vengeful book. Your reaction ?
RaphaÃ«l Enthoven : I told my life. When Edouard Louis recounts his life (Ending Eddy Bellegueule), no one blames him, except his family. Because nobody knows the protagonists. The story of her childhood and her pains is not polluted by people's personalities. In my case, it is different. I did not choose the ecosystem where I was born and where I grew up, More, just like the other, I chose to draw his portrait. Only the people I'm talking about are so famous (and do they themselves have so many friends in the newspapers) that the story of an unhappy childhood has been purposely curtailed, by those who recognize themselves, To a sandbox street settling of accounts. "It's me ! It's me ”they say. Or, I'm not talking about them. I'm leaving them. I take inspiration from it and I walk away from it, to give my memories the flavor of a novel. But the story of my heart has been swallowed up by its reflections. You would expect it : I took known living beings as models ... How can you imagine a journalist from Nouvel Obs, who has crossed my parents many times in his hallways, can see in this book something other than a chronicle of his time and a fight between comrades ? So that my book is read for what it is (that is to say a novel, whose characters exceed people), people should be anonymous and journalists should not themselves be affected (nor under influence). None of these conditions are met. For now, because everyone recognizes it, my book is docked to the real thing. My hope is that over time, he takes off.
More deeply, it is not enough to speak of oneself to be a “navelist”. When Proust says “I”, the subject he puts at the center of his work (and whose work is life) is also a ghostly subject, who sees without being seen. If he was a "navelist", his own person would come between his gaze and the world, and his novel would not be, in the words of BarrÃ¨s, than a "Persian poem from a porter's lodge." When Montaigne says “I”, it is in the service of an uncompromising portrait, of which the perpetrator is the first victim. Rousseau or Chateaubriand, This is an other story, because they are hagiographers of themselves. Their personality seems to them a cause to defend, more than a raw material from which to draw the details of our weaknesses. In a word, navel-gazing is wanting to give yourself a flattering image. And not to work on oneself, without mercy, to extract the nuggets, at the end of the mud.
Basically, some accuse you of spitting in the soup, while you had one of the most favored youth from a social and cultural point of view ... Can we describe a childhood felt as being painful when we are categorized as “privileged” ?
It is an objection that the child makes to himself, at the very beginning of the book ! “I wasn't beaten because I was being given gifts…” he said to himself. As if going on vacation abroad, growing up among books or having two birthdays immunized against any form of violence. As if the two were opposable and his judgment had to be suspended in the sociology of the alleged victim. Before being brandished by the beautiful souls who advance equality by forbidding the sons of bourgeois to have galleys, the sociology of the narrator is already experienced by himself as an aggravating circumstance. “What are you complaining about ? he wonders, while elsewhere we are dying of hunger " ? What to understand, Is that, when a child is hit on the head, the solutions he improvises to counter the aggression for which nothing has prepared him (that is to say the guilty speeches like "it's my fault" or "what are you complaining about ?”), are also the bars of the prison in which he then grew up. And it takes years of analysis to come to terms with the very idea of injustice despite the veneer of privilege. So that when, thirty-five years later, the time has come to return the blows, those who brandish the sociology of the writer to belittle his testimony or laugh at his "petty-bourgeois existential problems" operate exactly like the bollard he posed himself, small, on his own mouth. The challenge is to crush the little voice that persists in not being silent despite voyeurism, intentional trials and “shameless” trials.
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Fortunately, the book is there , and its readers are not mistaken, especially when they experienced the same thing. And we are many. Not to have been child martyrs but corrected children, rectified like errors of nature by stepfathers whose force ruled. It's not about torture, but of humiliation ; it is not about services, just slaps. Not everyone is Olivier Twist. Many people, On the other hand, have gone through the "ordinary educational violence of childhood" by learning to digest it without ever complaining. This is what i say. And that the socialites concerned agree with the sociologists to cover with the dresser "who cares, of Saint Germain des PrÃ¨s !”
Camille Laurens, who is also publishing a novel this fall, signed a fierce review in Le Monde, comparing your book to “revenge porn”. Recall that she built much of her work on autofiction, which has earned her several controversies. Could it be the hospital that laughs at charity ?
non, it's much more serious than that. If anyone had dared to talk about "revenge porn" about Vanessa Springora's book, all the feminists in the world (of which me) would have fallen on him. Paradoxically, our time is that it prides itself on having freed the voices of the victims ... while deciding who falls or not in this category and what testimony is (or not) audible. Our era believes that it has strengthened human ties by opposing “sorority” to fraternity and by increasing the listening spaces where participants are parked according to their skin color, their gender and their religion, without seeing that by virtue of dividing humanity into clubs, we shape spirits incapable of recognizing the human in the other beyond his small affiliations. Sorority doesn't give a damn about men, even claims to hate them ; racialized sorority doesn't give a damn about white women who are not real “sisters”. So a privileged white male, which invalidates a woman's story, who could experience his pain ? Better to see it as a pure expression of "revenge."
Fact. The phrase "Revenge porn" denotes delict, which consists of making public photos or videos of a naked ex to humiliate or avenge a breakup. In the literal sense, such a move has nothing to do with my autofiction. So it is figuratively that Laurens uses it. But then, can we deduce, as she does, the desire for revenge (or humiliation) of the content of my book ? When she presents the descriptions of “Faustine”, of her abortion, of his poo, of her orgasms, like a deliberate humiliation, Laurens operates unspoken reasoning : there is inviolable privacy, and this intimate inviolable - which I would not have the right to describe without the consent of the other - is all that has to do with the body. As if the body has a sacredness that everything else does not have. As if the literature were soluble in a moral worldview where the body (who fucks, dÃ © fÃ¨que, bleeds, aborts etc) taboo dwelling.
In his book Rien de Grave, Justine LÃ © vy shamelessly declares that I would have forced her to have an abortion and undress, around a page, my son's first name (“AurÃ © lien”) to place it on the head of a dead child. is. She tells what she wants. But me too. And the way I lived it, the inaudible asks "that we keep it", waiting in a gown in the hallway of the hospital, To watch for a picture between the beating of the door, is no less legitimate than his. Why read as revenge what is a personal story ? By what right do we make Laurens limits (or de LÃ © vy) the standard of the acceptable in literature ? Who has the right to decide for me that what Justine LÃ © vy said is less intimate, less severe, less “nasty” than what I say ? When I describe a common trauma (an abortion), it's "nasty", but when Justine LÃ © vy invents the intimacy of our life together, the confidences I would have made and my alleged attitude in the hospital, On the other hand, it is nothing serious" ! By what right, this bias without objective criteria ? The game of autofiction is precisely to allow the other to tell their side of the story, even when we don't have the same opinion. And if there is something obscene, which comes under “revenge porn”, in this story, this is not the story of a man who needs to tell about abortion to free himself from the reputation of a bastard that has plagued him for years, but the fact of using the first name of Aurélien to attribute it to the unborn fetus, to make believe that I pushed the vice until giving the son that I had with Carla the name that Justine would have chosen for her own child. Give moral lessons on “wickedness” and “hate”, as Camille Laurens does, while asserting that it is less serious to use a child to make his father pay than to tell the drama of a shared pain, it's the height of the tartufferie.
The rest of Camille Laurens’s text is unfortunately no better. No because she doesn't like the book (I myself have a doubt about this) but because, suddenly overtaken in the field of impudence, Camille Laurens makes a serious mistake : she thinks a book is shit because it contains shit. As she suspends her favor to her liking, she puts the author on trial for what he says, and not the way he tells it. To put it in Montaigne's terms, Camille Laurens confuses “matter and manner” : it is by its content that it values a book, more than his method (that looks like his). It's the same mistake she makes when, as a peroration, the indignant accuses me of having remained at the "anal stage" because I speak of excrement, while the anal stage is not a matter of excrement (or not only) but first a matter of detention ... In doing so, By confusing what I'm talking about and what I am, Camille Laurens reasons exactly like children who mistake actors for the “villains” they play on screen, or like the “imbeciles” dear to Guitry who “love Degas only because they think the little dancer is very pretty…” In them, the motive wins out over the realization. The matter wins over the way. In fine, art is sacrificed to morality. In short, because they are floundering in the intent process, Camille Laurens imprecations do not wear much.
The case of Olivia de Lamberterie (who unleashed in “The mask and the feather” on my “disgust” so much ”little book) is more interesting because it is less cultivated. No varnish, no literal alibi, no style masks the ingenuous of his diatribes : "We are not allowed to write that !”She declares in preamble, before admitting that she read my book "with her eyes closed" and that the page (the first of its kind, she believes) where the Narrator describes his defective wife “disqualifies” the book. We can not say it better. Still, the lady is saved by her lack of culture. No one taught him that, from Philip Roth to Kundera via Joyce or Albert Cohen, literature, who is not cold in the eyes, has long given its credentials to the poo that on the air she calls "popo". If someone had read him the pages of the Complexe de Portnoy on father's constipation, she would have found there the "lumps" whose presence outraged her so much in my book. If she had read the pages of The Unbearable Lightness of Being where Kundera describes Sabina’s “memory of paper on the anus”, or Belle Du Seigneur, its walls of modesty and its onomatopoeias, or Ulysses, by Joyce, where Leopold and Molly fart and defecate indefinitely, maybe she would have opened her eyes to the novel she conch ? finally, if Olivia de Lamberterie had read Justine LÃ © vy's book, maybe she would have noticed, her too, that it is not more serious, when you're a novelist, to describe an abortion than to impute the decision to an innocent person ? But OK. She doesn't have time to go into her nuances.
The genre of autofiction is interspersed with family dramas brought about by these romanticized disclosures. Your father has thus shared his deep wound in the press, as you point out in the book how the relationships in your family have calmed down. In view of these effects on your loved ones, don't you regret the publication of this novel which you told us was dictated not by resentment, but out of love for your parents ?
Not only is my father a “broken heart”, But above all : I found him back home ! and that, it's unforgivable. Everything was ready, However, from the elegant and sulphurous book to the friendly critics or the benevolent jurors, to finally transform the test. And this "son" had to dare to drop the masks now ? What ingratitude. What an indignity… I know too well my father's plots to ignore the real motive and not notice, one more time, that he gives the contours of a tragedy to the interference of an ambition. The point of such a disposition of character is that the "deep wound" of which he speaks is perfectly soluble in getting a prize or the failure of my own book. we never know. sincÃ¨rement, I wish him the first.
The first is that the press (and interested) give flatly oedipal contours to what is relevant, in reality, of a literary quarrel over the meaning of the script, and the empire of memory over the imagination.
The second is that by dint of mourning the gulf between the character he made for himself and the flesh being that I describe in my book, my dad misses the longest love letter a son has ever written to his father. But some people can't stand being loved for what they are. This is their problem. Not mine.
The third thing is more serious. By dint of taking oneself for the victim of a nasty process, my father forgets the contents of the book. Or, what am i saying ? The story of a child who takes hits, who is doing it alone, and whose father neutralizes the griefs by answering "But how can you do that to me?, Hey ?”Every time the little one dares to complain. Unfortunately, my father behaves like his character. "A man, It stops ”he said about me. it is true. But is that the phrase to tell the son he couldn't defend against the man he knew his hand was so quick? ? “We do not remove the masks that people need to live” he adds.. Certainly. Except when masks are the gags of childhood. Instead of welcoming my book with a writer's eye, my father cries over his shattered image ; instead of finally hearing the word of a child, my father presents himself as a sonorous victim. Her son breaks free from a painful past and says his father did not protect him, and his reaction is to say “look how I am in pain.” Here is the navel-gazing. the truth. The one who makes you want to present himself as a victim instead of admitting his wrongs and fixing what may be. It will take a long time for my dad to forgive me for telling the truth, and for depicting the universe where it is neither glorious nor null (but one and the other at the same time). Now though, he has to come to terms with this truth. Which takes a little courage. And not to reverse the roles. Or hopefully his son has gone mad.
Your former stepfather, the psychoanalyst Isi Beller, denied looking like the violent character in the book and sued your publisher for libel, insult and invasion of privacy. He makes you the symbol of an era that challenges the authority of fathers ...
I am the symbol of nothing at all. Just a target that hits back. But we'll talk about it, of the authority, authoritarianism, of evil. As we will talk about the confusion, which suits his character, between force and law. For now, At eighty years old, he still has to learn that it is always wrong when you raise your hand, and that a child who is struck is not a child who is brought up but a child who is crushed. Despite extensive training in neurosis, this “professional of souls” (as some complacent journalists call it) leaves a long trail of pain, of violence, of contempt and threats behind him.
This man is hateful, and I can't wait for a fight again. On his summons, we have submitted an offer of proof, by my lawyer, Thibault de Montbrial. Everyone will judge. And especially justice. I admit that I'm curious to see how he goes about showing that everything is wrong in my story and that at almost forty-five years old, seized with madness, I suddenly forged from scratch, At his expense, a painful childhood. We'll see. That said, and I maintain that the important thing is there , his character will soon overtake him (how the story will exceed my story) to join the big family of parents and bastards. And that's what matters. Because everyone has to find themselves there. And let literature have the last word.
World news – FR – RaphaÃ«l Enthoven : “When Edouard Louis recounts his life, no one blames him ”
Raphael Enthoven, Carla Bruni, Edward Louis, Justine Levy, Aurélien Enthoven
World news – FR – World news – FR – RaphaÃ«l Enthoven : “When Edouard Louis recounts his life, no one blames him” – LEVEL MAGAZINE