Loys Masson: Father as Text

  • Michaëla Mongelard


It was through literature that the Mauritian writer Loys Masson sought to create a place, a country for himself in his self-imposed exile.1 The island, matrix and prima mater, structures his work, providing the solid ground, the rich earth from which the writing draws its strength. In his texts, repeated returns to the island reflect the impossibility of forgetting: the door to the past remains wide open and writing itself becomes memory, a testament to the father who was left behind to die and by whose image the son is still seared. The father haunts the son’s work, as does the father to whom Kafka writes: ‘My writing was all about you; all I did there, after all, was to bemoan what I could not bemoan upon your breast. It was an intentionally long-drawn-out leave-taking from you...’2


Biological Father Father Figure Prima Mater Repeated Return Oedipal Conflict 
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  1. 2.
    Franz Kafka, ‘Letter to his father’ in Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings, Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins trans. (New York: Schocken, 1954) p. 75.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Marthe Robert, Roman des origines et origines du roman (Paris: Grasset, 1972) pp. 43 and 46.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Loys Masson, Le Notaire des noirs (Paris: Laffont, 1961) p. 81.Google Scholar
  4. 15.
    Jean Le Galliot, Psychanalyse et langages littéraires (Paris: Nathan, 1975) p. 48.Google Scholar
  5. 16.
    Masson, Les Noces de la Vanille (Mauritius: L’Océan Indien, 1981) p. 29.Google Scholar
  6. 18.
    Masson, Des bouteilles dans les yeux (Paris: Laffont, 1970) p. 124.Google Scholar
  7. 20.
    See ‘La Dernière fuite de mon père’ in Bruno Schulz, Le Sanatorium au croque-mort, Thérèse Douchy, Allan Kosko, Georges Sidre and Suzanne Arlet trans. (Paris: Denoel, 1974).Google Scholar
  8. 22.
    Sarah Kofman, The Childhood of Art: An interpretation of Freud’s Aesthetics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988) p. 155.Google Scholar
  9. 25.
    V.Y. Mudimbe, L’Odeur du père (Paris: Présence Africaine, 1982) p. 35Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michaëla Mongelard

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