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Through this arch enters an enormous character, rather frightening to
look at. He absolutely must be made up violently with red, green, blue,
white, and especially black [20].) 6
In short, visually Gauvreau has created, as André Bourassa puts it, 'an
infernal world where the tortured night of the soul is illuminated only by
spectral light emanating from some murky deep' (109), out of which
emerges a phantasmal character, who introduces himself as the greatest
of all poets, Frédéric Chir de Houppelande, his name itself replete
with the sonority and playfulness characteristic of French surrealism.
United with nature, especially its nocturnal creatures, this 'frère du
hibou' (brother of the owl) with a voice that is 'sœur du hibou' (sister
of the owl) and that affects 'les cœurs de lianes rousses' (the heart of
rust-coloured lianas), has nonetheless lost the expressive powers that
can release his desires: 'Je voudrais porter à mes lèvres une larme de la
nuit qui m'hallucine. Je suis halluciné, et je hurle et je hurle et les crépite-
ments des mirages ne me répondent pas.' (19; I want to bring to my lips
a tear of the night that hallucinates me. I am moonstruck, and I howl and
I howl and the cracklings of mirages do not reply [20].) At this moment
of extreme frustration, underscored by the repetitive rhythm and intense
imagery, 7 the maiden Corvelle arrives on scene, not the muse that
Frédéric hopes for, but herself seeking fulfilment through his words:
'L'univers en rut me murmure dans ses frémissements des paroles bien-
aimées de Frédéric Chir de Houppelande.' (20; The universe in rut mur-
murs beloved words to me from Frederick Chir de Houppelande [21].)
Frédéric attempts to endow the trees with magical power - he 'passant
devant chacun des arbres de la forêt a fait le geste du semeur et les arbres
à mesure qu'il les ensemence imaginairement s'illuminent de rouge
comme s'il semait sur eux la couleur rouge' (makes motions of sowing
seeds, passing in front of each of the trees in the forest. As he pretends to
broadcast seed on them, the trees light up with red as if he had sowed
them with that colour). His powers seem to work their past magic, since
voices now sing out from an illuminated forest reminiscent of the sym-
bolic and synaesthetic forest of Baudelaire's 'Correspondances': 'Les
voix de la forêt (venant des arbres illuminés de rouge) - Je chante la voix
de Frédéric Chir de Houppelande qui a dit: “Je berce la jeune fille comme
le lac berce le ciel.”' (20; The Voices of the Forest: (Coming from the red-
lit trees.) I sing the voice of Frederick Chir de Houppelande, who said: 'I
rock the girl as the lake rocks the sky' [21].) Yet the maiden's desires re-
main unfulfilled, since her only response to the forest voices' query of
what she feels -'Jeune fille, ne sens-tu rien?' - is to ask the identity of a
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