Laureline Amanieux

The Presence of Dionysus in the Work of Amélie Nothomb

Dionysus is the god of duality, wearing equally the mantle of beauty and savagery. From this duality springs forth both his madness and tragic existence. The heroes in the works of Amélie Nothomb are possessed by this god ; they reveal themselves in blood-drenched confrontations, expressing their own duality through beauty and horror, animality and humanity, pleasure and pain. It is in the act of violence that Dionysus achieves the fusion of his opposites. The possessed language of these heroes breaks down social, sexual and cultural norms ; inspired by the god of transgression, who provokes an intense sensation of chaos, the frontiers crash between the heroes and the divinity, between the monstrosity and the sublime of their acts. Even the writing of this author is overwhelmed by this god : the author inhabits this myth with her feeling of being twice born ; more importantly, as demonstrated by her last novel, she feels her writing is a Dionysus induced fugue, a real possession.