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Journal Articles Journal of The Short Story in English / Les Cahiers de la nouvelle Year : 2012

Rêve et fantasme dans Traumnovelle et Eyes Wide Shut

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Abstract

The aim of this article is to cast a fresh look at Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (1999) as a cinematographic vehicle for a journey through dreams, fantasy and desire. The main argument that is developed in these pages stems from a close reading of the film’s literary hypotext, namely Arthur Schnitzler’s 1925 Traumnovelle, and more particularly from the observation of a symmetrical pattern in the objects of fantasy that the two protagonists, as husband and wife in the midst of domestic turmoil and erotic reminiscences, oppose each other in their initial dueling. Taking up on a number of critical discussions on the film’s relationship with the mechanics of desire and dreams as well as the original short story (Morel, 2002, Ciment, 2004 and Chion, 2005), I argue that Kubrick’s choice to place Schnitzler’s Fridolin’s – Bill Hartford in the film version – original object of desire under erasure leads to a significant modification of the story’s libidinal economy. By so altering the male gaze in its struggle to cope with the alterity of feminine desire, Kubrick turns his film into a gendered phantasmagorical experience, suggesting that, for his male protagonist and viewers, it may ultimately be more sensible to keep one’s eyes shut than to wake up to the intolerable nature of the real.
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Dates and versions

hal-02439641 , version 1 (02-06-2021)

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  • HAL Id : hal-02439641 , version 1

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Jocelyn Dupont. Rêve et fantasme dans Traumnovelle et Eyes Wide Shut. Journal of The Short Story in English / Les Cahiers de la nouvelle, 2012, 59, pp.127-138. ⟨hal-02439641⟩

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