Travel Reference
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Pierre no longer hesitates to force a stroke ('il les amincit encore'), to
transform visual reality ('ce ne furent plus que des fils'), in order to ex-
press an idea: the fragility of existence ('comment pouvaient-ils tenir
debout'). At the same time, the campfire emits a warmth that symbol-
izes the persistence of human culture through the metaphor of the lit
candle ('un cierge allumé'), achieving an effect of 'grace' in the two
senses of the term, both applicable to art: beauty and spiritual ascen-
dance. 22 The camp tent, redundantly and thus pointedly modified by
the adjective 'humain,' is set against the surrounding trees ('À la nudité
de cette forêt il opposait souvent un petit campement humain'), a juxta-
position of culture and nature that dominates Pierre's landscapes.
Moreover, as Pierre explains to Stanislas, the bunch of leaves has been
borrowed from another context, the nearby Luxembourg Gardens, to
effect a synthesis of near and far, present and past: 'L'art se plaisait donc
à ces rencontres imprévues d'objets naturellement si loin les uns des
autres. Créer des liens était sa vie même.' (155; Art, it would seem, took
pleasure in these unforeseen encounters between objects naturally so
remote from one another. Linking things together was of its very es-
sence [166-7].) Again, the uniting power of art, here the link between
France and Canada, seems to reinforce the notion of a universal, not
just national, identity.
In his portfolio for the illustrated version of La montagne secrète , René
Richard includes many images of campsites: some in colour; some, like
this one Le campement (figure 8.2), in black and white.
This image, unlike any of the others, appears more than once: in fact,
before each of the novel's twenty-six chapters. It may be said, then, to
represent Richard's 'composite' view of the novel and to constitute the
recurrent visual motif that holds the illustrated version together. In one
sense the tent is a place, set against the vast space of the forest, a re-
minder of the presence and persistence of human activity and culture in
the face of the forbidding wilderness. In another sense, however, the tent
stems from nature, its crossed poles made of trees and resembling the
trees in front of which they stand, themselves (as Roy's text gives us to
understand) symbols of human solitude and suffering. Ultimately, by
superimposing the camp against the forest and surrounding both by
empty space, Richard creates an image of harmony, which captures the
reciprocal relationship between nature and man, the former giving man
shelter and a sense of his primitive origins, man lending nature its iden-
tity, through perception, comprehension, and representation. This sense
of the contradictory yet complementary tendencies that compose the
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