Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Although critics have commented on how Therese of Lisieux' name, words, and ideas appear in Bernanos' work as early as 1922, her impact has been only randomly observed. The noted German-Swiss theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Guy Gaucher, a well-known Carmelite scholar and an authority on both Therese and Bernanos, have both particularly insisted however on the influence of Therese of Lisieux on Georges Bernanos' creative vision. In 1954 von Balthasar declared: "Sainte Therese est partout presente dans l'oeuvre de Bernanos," while in his 1960 article comparing the author with the saint, Gaucher stated: "Nous avons cite beaucoup de textes mais nous sommes certain qu'un travail exhaustif donnerait des resultats etonnants.";Bernanos' entire work, both fiction and non-fiction, is examined in this thesis in chronological order in search of both explicit and implicit evidence of the saint's presence. As early as 1913 in an article on "La Malibran" her presence is discovered, then traced through fiction and non-fiction until it reaches its climax in the author's spiritual testament, Dialogues des Carmelites, completed just before his death in 1948.;Part One elucidates explicit textual references to Therese which seem to culminate in Les Grands Cimetieres sous la lune, while Part Two traces her implicit presence in the author's fictional characters, many of whom are revealed as either parallel or reverse images of the Carmelite saint. More significant still, however, is the discovery of the deep harmony between Therese's message and Bernanos' favourite themes whether it be heroic childhood, the acceptance of weakness, the uniting of personal suffering with the Holy Agony, or the attitude of approaching God with the outstretched hands of a beggar.;As Bernanos' work evolved, explicit references to the saint gave way to more subtle implicit ones to the extent that in Dialogues des Carmelites her implicit presence can be found on every page. Thus may one conclude that Therese of Lisieux' message of childhood and acceptance of weakness had become Bernanos' own.



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