La présence scindée et la littérature des «paradis artificiels»


Abstract: The interest showed by one of the fundamental dimensions of the 19th c. literature in a certain area of the imaginary, that one induced by hallucinogens (mainly opiates), brings about real mutations in an entire literary tradition on the idea of presence, hallucinatory trance dividing artificially and radically corporality (temporarily annulled, unimportant, inert, a failed “presence”) of a disseminated, evasionistic mind°frame. The latter, multiplied inside through a system of deforming mirrors, experiments a form of centrality where the Ego has its illusion as an overpowering will over the universe reset and opened up to sensorial transfers. The concept of “presence” fits into this context (Baudelaire, from colonial to decadent literature – fin de siècle) within the dimensions and features of a wilful schizoid embodiment, artificial disembodiment and transmutation onto a wide inner space where temporality and spatiality tend toward the unlimited. The literature of hallucinogens knows, in this quest for “artificial paradises”, the obsession for a transfer of presence, of “anywhere else” of “ailleurs” of “anywhere out of the world”, according to Baudelaire’s expression. French and British colonial literatures experiment with “remoteness” in a specific formula, a privileged evasion, through the direct access to oriental space, doubled by an opium°induced trance.

Keywords: présence scindée, hallucinogènes, opiacées, «paradis artificiels», Baudelaire