giovedì 16 maggio 2019


About the flaws in this character of integrity 

A proposition dei difetti di questo personaggio esempio di integrità 
A propos des failles de ce personnage intègre 

Of course at first sight you could think that Simenon, when he created Maigret, wanted to build an ordinary and placid man, a good husband. A man who knows how to stand in his place, who has undoubted qualities, and who does not look for a career. As Simenon repeatedly stated, "Maigret is not clever, he is intuitive". Maybe he's not intelligent, yet he isn't stupid, as we can see for example in his relationship with judge Coméliau, whom Maigret often succeeds in overcoming, lying to him, imposing to him his own theory. Of course Maigret is not a politician, he doesn’t like politics, and when he was offered the post of Director of the Judicial Police, he refused it categorically, because this is a job that would oblige him to deal with politics. 
In short, Maigret is a man of integrity. At least it seems so. Well, we know that he drinks a little too much, yet sometimes it is cold, and you need a calvados, and sometimes it is hot and you need a fresh beer… And because of the stress in his job, he will need a pause for releasing tension. Of course he smokes a lot, from morning to evening, during the interrogations that last all night through. Nowadays Maigret would be stigmatised by health-conscious and anti-smoking committees… Well, he even smokes in his bedroom, when he is just awakening in the morning! ... 
Then there are women. Here we need a more thorough reading. In none of its more than a hundred inquiries does Maigret go in bed with another woman than his wife. But this doesn’t mean that sometimes his heart was not softened in a particular way for some suspect and that he could not help but treat her better than expected. Other times he found himself in situations that awakened his sexual appetites, with provocative women. Then he's on the razor's edge for a while, but something happens so that distances are restored.  
Who knows why Simenon never let Maigret have an affair with a woman? Maybe because at the beginning he wanted to outline a character quite different from those detective characters that were in fashion at the time, particularly in France, and that, aside from being successful and reckless, were almost always lady-killer. As the series went on, however, Simenon offered many occasions to the Chief Inspector; and with an almost amused taste he brought the reader, and his Maigretto the edge of the abyss and then comes the unavoidable turn-around. Some would say this is little realistic, that in his work, the frequentation of various ambiences, all the women he had the opportunity to meet... well… how would it had been possible that there had not been at least one time when Maigret would have succumbed to temptation! Or should we say that these ambiguous situations were already transgressions for the Chief Inspector? 
There are also transgressions in his work. Not only because sometimes he did as he wanted, not caring about judge Coméliau's directives, but also because, when it was possible and he thought it right, Maigret did so that law would not prevail over justice. And therefore, failing in his duty, which was to investigate and not to decide what the culprits should become, he acted so that the person's fate would undergo a turnaround. Thus his surname of mender of destinies… humanly understandable, but certainly not the best thing from the point of view of a judicial police officer.  
This certainly has nothing to do with the tough guys in the American hard-boiled, from Sam Spade to Philip Marlowe, or with the thrillers full of dark ladies and sexual intrigues. Here in comparison we are in the realm of chastity... Maybe to compensate the author's transgressions? .... 

by Simenon-Simenon 

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