La Contagion de l’écho: “L’Obsession” de Charles Cros

Charles Cros’s comic monologues are less famous than his collections of poems Le Coffret de Santal and Le Collier de griffes, though they were theorized by contemporary actors such as Coquelin cadet, and more recently analyzed by scholars from Daniel Grojnowski to Françoise Dubor. In this study of “L’Obsession” (written and performed in 1878), I argue that the technique of voice and diction tends to liken language and the flow of words to a mental disease. In connection with the clinical experiments that Charcot carried out in the Salpêtrière or with French psychiatric concepts and studies that influenced his sense of drama and onstage recitation, the way in which Cros focuses on his monologue’s verbal and physical tics brings to light a new theory of echo and poetic phrasing not only based on repetitions but also deeply rooted in the speaker’s body. (In French)