Narrator and Supernatural in Mérimée's La Venus d'Ille

Mérimée's story La Vénus d'Ille is studied closely in order to determine what sort of role is played by the narrator, and how validly the tale can be taken as a tale of the supernatural. Scrutiny of crucial episodes that suggest the operation of supernatural agencies suggests that in such episodes the narrator fails to provide an adequately critical perspective on events, which the reader can confidently share and that Mérimée is constantly exploiting in an ironical way the gap between the events related by the narrator and the degree of understanding of these events that he reaches – an understanding that emerges as limited and unreliable. Hence the narrator's acceptance of the hypothesis of the supernatural by no means implies such acceptance on the part of the reader who has a more critical view of events reported by the narrator than the narrator does himself. (AEP)

Pilkington, Anthony E.
Volume 1975-1976 Fall-Winter; 4(1-2): 24-30.