Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
solitude: 'Or, quelque part dans ce haut territoire, une forêt … Quelque
part dans cette forêt de misère une cabane. Jamais encore n'a dessiné
rien de si seul Pierre.' (33; And here, somewhere in these northerly
lands, a forest … Somewhere within this forest of misery a cabin. Never
yet had Pierre recorded on paper anything so lonely [29].) Roy captures
the impact of the cabin's isolation on Pierre by the inverted structure of
the final sentence, placing the adjective 'seul,' which modifies the sub-
ject of the drawing, before the noun designating Pierre, where, in fact,
it qualifies and thus defines both the cabin and the artist. Indeed, it is
from his drawings of the cabin that Pierre learns a similar lesson, one
that responds to an earlier question of why the drawing of the tree is
more powerful than the tree itself - because art can modify nature to
accentuate a particular effect: 'Il y a lieu quelquefois de forcer un peu le
trait, de souligner. Que les choses se mettent à en dire un peu plus dans
l'image que sur nature.' (37; It was necessary occasionally to overem-
phasize the stroke a trifle, to underline. That things should have a little
more to say in drawing than they do in nature [34].) Culture sometimes
captures, and occasionally enhances, nature.
After a winter of near total darkness and beset by scurvy, with the
return of spring Pierre gets a strong sense of the warmth, animation,
and persistence of life, which leads him to learn that art must be not just
a matter of line and drawing, but also of light and colour:
Il voyait dans l'étendue grise du ciel s'ouvrir comme un petit lac d'eau
claire; des nuages roses en formaient les rivages. Il y avait dans cette eau
du ciel une couleur à laquelle n'eût pu convenir aucun nom connu,
quelque doux mélange de bleu et de vert déjà difficile à définir dans sa
pensée. Avait-il donc jamais auparavant vu des couleurs? Leur enchante-
ment éclatait dans sa tête, sans commander de formes, libres et pures, en
elles-mêmes un chant de la création. [45-6; He beheld in the grey stretches
of the sky an opening like some tiny lake of crystal water, its edges borde-
red by rosy clouds. There was, in this water of heavens, a colour to which
might properly be ascribed no name known to man: some soft mingling of
blue and green hard enough to define even in thought. Was it possible that
he had never before seen colours? Their enchantment exploded in his
mind, without reference to shape - free and pure, in themselves a song of
creation. (43)]
The effect of pure colours, freed from the objects to which they nor-
mally adhere, is captured by Roy's figurative language, which expresses
Search WWH ::

Custom Search