Rage et Impuissance: Contemporary French Fiction and the Cigarette's Fall from Grace
In his Lettre sur les aveugles, Diderot shares the discovery that the cane of the blind is not a crutch, but a privileged organ of sensory perception, structuring the encounter with external reality and shaping its internal representation. Bernard Pivot may have had the same powers in mind when he compared the cigarette of Françoise Sagan to this cane: the writer can't see, and therefore can't write, without it. How has the mythical literary status of the cigarette fared in the decades since the first tobacco-control laws? How is smoking represented in an era of growing panic about addictions, as well as persistent unease about the role of government in promoting and enforcing good health?