Narratological approach of the film adaptation of Thérèse Desqueyroux by François Mauriac


  • Despina Gialatzi



liberty, nature, crime, justice, isotopies, Thérèse Desqueyroux, intersémiotique translation


The aim of this paper is to examine translation as a phenomenon from literature into movies through isotopies. In particular, the research concen-trates on the intertextual phenomenon between the original classic version in literature and the two film versions (1962 and 2012). In Gideon Toury’s work, translation is seen as an intertextual phenomenon. The three “texts” form  an  intertextual  triangle.  Mauriac’s  classic  novel  is  at  the  top  of  the  triangle as a significant guide, and at the same time the two films rest on the triangle’s base. In 1927, the French writer, François Mauriac wrote his iconic  work,  Thérèse  Desqueyroux.  In  his  novel,  the  writer  describes  the  tragic  story  of  a  poisoner.  This  is  a  woman  who  hovers  between  the  romantic of the past and the realism of the present. The young heroine lets herself  go  psychically  into  her  dreams,  and  she  does  not  see  reality  in  its  logical dimension. Her marriage is not a romantic, happy and ideal union taken  from  the  romantic  works  of  the  19th  century.  It  is  a  cold,  cruel  and  indifferent marriage. In a way, Thérèse is a victim of herself. Unveiling the psychographic image of this fatal woman called Thérèse D, the application of Greimas’s narratological method offers a fertile field of research, and the examination of the transformation into a double cinematographic portrait. Thérèse  is  a  woman  prisoner  in  her  name:  Desqueyroux.  The  narrative  structure of the work turns on the fragile psyche of the heroine. Is she real-ly a fragile female figure or, a cruel poisoner in a search of mental freedom?



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Original title: Thérèse Desqueyroux. 1962. Claude Miller (1h 49m). Availa-ble at:

Original title: Thérèse Desqueyroux. 2012. Georges Franzu (1h 50m). Avail-able at:




How to Cite

Gialatzi, D. (2022). Narratological approach of the film adaptation of Thérèse Desqueyroux by François Mauriac. Digital Age in Semiotics & Communication, 5, 193–220.