lunedì 10 luglio 2017

SIMENON SIMENON. A VARYING PERSPECTIVE IN THE NOVEL “MAIGRET AND MONSIEUR CHARLES”

How Maigret and Simenon regard Nathalie and Denise 

SIMENON SIMENON. UNE PERSPECTIVE VARIABLE DANS LE ROMAN “MAIGRET ET MONSIEUR CHARLES” 
Comment Maigret et Simenon considèrent Nathalie et Denise 
SIMENON SIMENON. UNA PROSPETTIVA VARIABILE NEL ROMANZO "MAIGRET E IL SIGNOR CHARLES"
Come Maigret e Simenon considerano Nathalie e Denise


Given that Nathalie Sabin-Levesque and Denise Simenon are basically lookalikes, let’s evaluate how the detective and the author regard the two women. If one accepts that Maigret is/equals Simenonat least in this final novel for both men—one discovers an intense ambivalent Maigret/Simenon. 
In his first confrontation with “bizarre” NathalieMaigret “wondered if he was not in the presence of a maniac, or in any case, a neurotic,” but it may have taken Simenon somewhat longer to wonder the same things about his wife. In any case, the developing novel shows Maigret variably repelled by and drawn toward Nathalie as though Simenon is transferring his real experience of shifting dislike and like for Denise onto the fictional Maigret-Nathalie interaction. Leave it to ever-observant Madame Maigret to quickly recognize the situation: “To her eye, she sensed the case underway was not an ordinary matter. It was preoccupying him, and he was making it kind of a personal affair.” She intuitively recognizes the conflict well before the reader fully appreciates Maigret’s varying ambiguity as he clearly dislikes Nathalie most of the time, but does sympathize with her some of the time.
Regarding this sustained dislike, Maigret is certainly not alone, for no one in the novel really likes the woman, not even the family dog who bared its teeth every time Madame Sabin-Levesque approached it. Although she does have a faithful and dutiful chambermaid in Claire, that exception only proves the ruleMaigret thinks very poorly of Nathalie throughout, and as he leads her away in the end, she asks, “You think I’m bad, don’t you?” and he answers, “Yes.” 
In fact, Maigret “had shown himself to be stern, basically pitiless with Nathalie” and he “had manifested a certain cruelty” toward her. In a notable flashback to a Doctor Pardon-Chief Inspector Maigret conversation, Simenon emphasizes the compassion the two men display: when Pardon pointed out how Maigret “takes his investigations to heart” and they “touch” him “personally,” Maigret agreed that, for both of them, those “human experiences” were “personal matters” involving “a dear being.” Then, Simenon underscores how Maigret “liked” Monsieur Charles, the dead husband ”though he had not known him,” establishing a clear-cut contrast to his negative feelings for Nathalie, the surviving wife who progressively angers him. 
Although most of the time Maigret shows no sympathy towards Nathalie, he does show flashes of compassion and they increase gradually. “She was reeling aboutand he wound up having pity on her.” He offers his hand when she’s staggering, lends her his handkerchief when she is crying, and calls in her personal doctor when she is “dead drunk.” Notably, as the doctor opines“It’s at least the hundredth time […] she belongs in a clinic, at the very least, for a good long time, Denise inevitably comes to mind. Thus, it’s no wonder Maigret finally admits, “I can’t prevent myself from pitying you.” Expecting her to be “condemned for certain,” but appreciating “her state of disintegration,” the Chief Inspector takes Nathalie to a hospital rather than putting her in jail. 

David P Simmons 

Nessun commento: