Brune, Smith, Ivan et Castro: l’histoire selon Pierre Bergounioux:
This contribution focuses on the representation of history in four texts by Pierre Bergounioux. La Mort de Brune (1996), an evocation of the writer’s somnolent native town Brive in the 1950’s and 1960’s, tells the story of Brune, one of Brive’s very few famous figures. Having served in the Revolutionary Armies, Brune became Marshall of the Empire, and was brutally killed by the Royalists in 1815. His eventful life marks the first intrusion of history in Brive and the surrounding countryside, his death the return to stagnation for another 150 years. In B 17 G (2001) and Le récit absent/ Le baiser de sorcière (2010), Bergounioux writes about the violent deaths of an American bombarder (‘Smith’) and a Russian tank commander (‘Ivan’) during the war against Nazi-Germany. The stories of Brune, Smith and Ivan symbolize decisive episodes in history. All three gave their lifes for the ideals of freedom and a more just society. Back in the sixties (2003) draws on a visit of the writer in 2002 to Cuba, where time has frozen and a dreamlike reality takes him back to his youth and the left-wing ideals he then cherished. Whereas La mort de Brune finishes with the great expectations that the 1968 Revolution aroused in the narrator, the young Bergounioux’ alter ego, the other texts reflect the increasing pessimism of a writer who feels doubly disinherited: by the disappearance of the values of an age-old rural society as well as the loss of the ideals of his youth in the neo-liberal turmoil of the last three decades.
To cite: Manet van Montfrans, Brune, Smith, Ivan et Castro: l’histoire selon Pierre Bergounioux, Études romanes de Brno, 33, 1, 2012, 237-255.