Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Georges (zhohrzh), the narrator, a young cavalry soldier and prisoner of war. He is obsessed with Corinne de Reixach as a means of determining whether her husband’s death was an accident of war or a suicide. The product of a solid classical education but little real-life experience, Georges possesses a cultivated contempt for authority and scorns his parents’ intellectual and aristocratic pretensions. With the French army en route and in an attempt to reestablish a sense of order, Georges becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of de Reixach’s death.

Charles de Reixach

Charles de Reixach (shahrl deh ri-SHAHK), a distant cousin of Georges, the commanding officer of Georges’s squadron and the cuckolded husband of Corinne. He is elegant, controlled, distant, meticulous in dress and manner, and cordial to his men. This forty-two-year-old aristocrat presents an impenetrable expressionless face that defies access to his inner thoughts and motivations and makes him an enigma to Georges. De Reixach is killed by a sniper’s bullet, a death he may have chosen as a result of his humiliation at his wife’s infidelity.

Corinne de Reixach

Corinne de Reixach (koh-RIHN), Charles’s wife, the object of Georges’s obsession, and Iglésia’s lover. Twenty years younger than her husband, Corinne is seen as a parvenue with a reputation for promiscuity. Blonde and possessing an ideal, translucent beauty, she is a fascinating and disturbing woman/child whose shameless clothes and actions scandalize the aristocratic class. Corinne’s whims continually challenge her husband’s traditions and values, as well as his ability to control and satisfy her. After the war, Corinne remarries and has a brief affair with Georges.


Iglésia (ih-GLAY-zee-ah), who in peacetime was...

(The entire section is 805 words.)

The Characters

(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

Despite the fact that the main characters, except Georges, are filtered through Georges’s consciousness, The Flanders Road conveys a strong sense of character. This is particularly true of de Reixach, who emerges as a formidable web of complex issues concerning human nature and historical destiny. Severe and punctilious to a fault in maintaining the social position which his name and heritage commands, de Reixach is also perceived to be inscrutable. Did he, or did he not, allow his death to occur in the ambush? What exactly was his attitude toward Corinne’s infidelity? De Reixach’s inscrutability—which seemingly exists between the folds of an ambiguity embraced by cowardice and its opposite, stoicism—can be readily seen to be the product of his aristocratic demeanor, all the more so since his own end parallels that of one of his eighteenth century forebears.

In the case of Corinne, however, Simon alters his approach, or rather gives Georges a different mode of perception. In contrast to de Reixach,Corinne is seen in glimpses, at a distance, posed, suggestive. She remains an object of desire, whereas her husband is an emblem of that desire’s defeat and of other defeats which ensue. In depicting Corinne, the author’s painterly training is seen to spectacular advantage. The pictorializing effects have a peculiar appropriateness in the portrayal of Corinne, however, as they release vividly and persuasively the sensuality which she embodies. While de Reixach, Corinne, and the state of their marriage were vaguely known to Georges prior to de Reixach’s death,...

(The entire section is 652 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Birn, Randi, and Karen Gould, eds. Orion Blinded: Essays on Claude Simon, 1981.

Gould, Karen L. Claude Simon’s Mythic Muse, 1979.

Levin, Martin. Review in The New York Times Book Review. LXVI (May 21, 1961), p. 5.

Loubere, J.A. The Novels of Claude Simon, 1975.

Mercier, Vivian. A Reader’s Guide to the New Novel, 1971.

Sturrock, John. The French New Novel: Claude Simon, Michel Butor, Alain Robbe-Grillet, 1969.