Une exploration neuro-génétique de l’évolution de l’épilepsie non traitée dans La Tentation de Saint Antoine de Gustave Flaubert

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2023-04-20

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Abstract

Nineteenth century French author Gustave Flaubert's La Tentation de Saint Antoine is a complex and enigmatic work that underwent many revisions over twenty-five years, resulting in multiple versions with different narrative structures and themes. One recurring motif in these various versions is the depiction of Saint Anthony's epileptic episodes--which I cross-reference with Flaubert's description of his own untreated presumed epileptic seizures. In this undergraduate thesis, I analyze the evolution of untreated epilepsy in Flaubert's La Tentation de Saint Antoine and other selected works.

Drawing on Flaubert's personal experiences with epilepsy and his extensive correspondence, I examine the different manifestations of epilepsy in various versions of La Tentation de Saint Antoine, including the published 1849, 1856, 1872, and 1874 versions. I also explore how Flaubert's depiction of untreated epilepsy in other works, such as Madame Bovary and Un Coeur Simple compares to the portrayal in La Tentation de Saint Antoine.

Using a combination of literary analysis and historical research, I investigate how Flaubert's understanding of epilepsy evolved over time and how it influenced his portrayal of Saint Anthony's epileptic episodes. I also explore the cultural and societal attitudes towards epilepsy during Flaubert's time and how these attitudes may have shaped his depiction of the condition in his works.

Through my research, I aim to shed light on the ways in which Flaubert's portrayal of untreated epilepsy in his different versions of La Tentation de Saint Antoine and other works reflects his evolving understanding of the condition and its cultural context. This thesis contributes to the existing scholarship on Flaubert's works and provides insights into the portrayal of epilepsy in literature, shedding light on the intersection of literature, history, and medical humanities.

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Bernier, Gwyneth (2023). Une exploration neuro-génétique de l’évolution de l’épilepsie non traitée dans La Tentation de Saint Antoine de Gustave Flaubert. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27115.


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