Pourquoi j’ai mangé mon père, ou l’autobiographie du genre humain 


  • May Chehab Université de Chypre

Mots-clés :

Frazer, Freud, Cannibalism, Anthropology, Environmentalism


In What We Did to Father (1960), the British writer Roy Lewis traces the history of the birth of humankind, condensing it into the time frame of a life narrated in the first person. The French translation of this first title (Pourquoi j’ai mangé mon père, which would be adopted in more recent editions of the original novel), erases the suspense found in the original while trivialising cannibalism – a classic metaphor for primitivism. It even elevates it to the level of an apologetic discourse that had given birth to the autobiographical genre in modern literature initiated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions. This article examines the novel through the prism of comparative mythology and anthropology, and explores its current environmental implications.

Biographie de l'auteur

May Chehab, Université de Chypre

May Chehab, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, has been teaching at the University of Cyprus since 2000. BA in English & American Literature, BA in French Literature, MA in Philosophy: Art and Civilization Critique, Panthéon-Sorbonne Paris-I and PhD in Literature and Art, Aix-en-Provence). He is also a 2005 Visiting Fellow at the University of Princeton and Jean Monnet Professor for History of European Integration. She has published two monographs Méditerranée : ruptures et continuité in collaboration with Y. Ioannou et F. Métral, 2003 ; Marguerite Yourcenar entre Littérature et Science with R. Poignault, 2007; AutoBioPhagies with A. Lampropoulos and the participation of Ph. Lejeune, 2011, and authored more than sixty articles on her research interests, which focus on today’s Antiquity, new Autobiography, interaction between science, philosophy and literature, European Studies.