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L'Extase matérielle  
Author J. M. G. Le Clézio
Original title L'Extase matérielle
Country France
Language French
Genre(s) Essay
Publisher Gallimard, Paris and Imprint from colophon by Mayenne : Impr. Floch, 1993.
Publication date 1967
Pages 221
ISBN 9782070327454
OCLC Number 150450422

'L'Extase matérielle' is an essay written by French author and Nobel laureate J. M. G. Le Clézio. The book's title means Material Ecstasy in English. This essay may be advising that we should pay the utmost attention to what there is around us, not to what there might be or ought to be. According to a review of 'L'Extase matérielle' the reasoning behind the essay is to accept that "what there is is all there is"(and to demand more is ludicrous)[1]


Writing Style

La beauté de la vie,
l'énergie de la vie ne sont pas de l'esprit,
mais de la matière

Life's beauty and energy do not come from thoughts of the mind, they come from life's own substantiality

L'Extase matérielle
Le Clézio


This essay consists of personal deliberations ,discursively written,which are (probably)intended more to provoke his readers than to comfort them. Le Clézio seems to have been motivated to write this essay not just taking ideas from other writers ,but also to explain his own research and also to relate his very own perspective on life. The essay is emotionally written.[3]


Je suis amoureux des details. Jaime bien tout ce qui est petit, j'ai comme du respect pour les animaux, pour les objets. Plus ils sont tenus, plus ils me plaisent.

I am in love with details. I like all small things and creatures,for I admire animals, just as much as I admire objects.The more they are needed, the more pleasure they give me

L'Extase matérielle
Le Clézio[4]

This is a collection of essays which explicitly theorize many of the principles Le Clézio himself wrote in Terra Amata. Le Clezio expresses his fondness for small things in these essays[5].

Themes in L'extase materielle

  • Le Clézio meditates about his bedroom
  • Le Clézio writes about the woman
    • (and about the woman's body)
  • Le Clézio writes of love,
    • (even of a fly or a spider)
  • Le Clézio discourses on writing
  • Le Clézio`writes about death
  • Le Clézio gives some ideas of what he thinks "an absolute" (of anything) could be
Le corps est vie, l'esprit est mort.

There is life in the body even though the spirit may be dead.[6]
La matière est être, l'intellect néant.

Matter exists even if there is no intelligence

Et le secret absolu de la pensée est sans doute ce désir jamais oublié de se replonger dans la plus extatique fusion avec la matière.

And the secret of thought is perhaps this desire never to forget to plunge into an ecstatic union with substance.[7]

L'Extase matérielle
Le Clézio[8]

Publication history


First French Edition

Le Clézio, J M G (1967) (in French). L'extase matérielle.. Paris: Gallimard. pp. 229. ISBN 9782070327454.  Re-Printed 1971OCLC 82053973

Second French Edition

Le Clézio, J M G (1993) (in French). L'extase matérielle : essai. Mayenne: Impr. Floch. pp. 313. ISBN 9782070238248.  

Third French Edition

Le Clézio, J M G (2008) (in French). L'Extase Materielle (Nobel Prize Literature 2008). Mayenne: Impr. Floch. pp. 221. ISBN 978-0785928386.  


  1. ^ Sturrock, John (1967-06-22). "L'extase materielle" (in English). London,UK: From The Times Literary Supplement. Retrieved 2008-11-18. "(Second paragraph)There are sections in it where the paradoxes are so thick on the ground that the mind can make little headway and it is a great relief when movement is finally restored by a lucid axiom about bow we should try to live. What M. le Clezio proposes above all is that we should pay the utmost attention to what there is around us, not to what there might be or ought to be."  
  2. ^ "Jean-Marie Le Clézio, prix Nobel 2008 de littérature" (in French). Actualité diplomatique. Ambassade de France en Azerbaïdjan. Retrieved 2009-02-13. "(translated)Ever since he started writing, JMG Le Clézio has given literature great scope: he wrote in one of his essays Extase The material published in 1967 "Time acquires a prefect form through writing". In this discourse, he was summing up his existential philosophy: "Life's beauty and energy do not come from thoughts of the mind ,they come from life's own substantiality"
    (Original French)"Depuis ses débuts, J.M.G. Le Clézio attribue à la littérature un grand niveau d’exigence : « L’écriture est la forme parfaite du temps », écrit-il dans l’un de ses essais L’Extase matérielle, paru en 1967. Dans ce traité, il résumait ainsi sa philosophie existentielle : « La beauté de la vie, l’énergie de la vie ne sont pas de l’esprit, mais de la matière"  
  3. ^ "L’extase matérielle de J.M.G. Le Clézio[Littérature française XXe"] (in French). Retrieved 2009-02-13.  
  4. ^ L'Extase matérielle :Page 110Real,, Elena; Dolores Jiménez. J.M.G. Le Clézio. Universidad de Valencia. p. 209. ISBN 9788437009124.  
  5. ^ "J.M.G. Le Clezio's Terra Amata: A micro-fictional affection for the real". Racevskis, Roland. Romanic Review. 1999-05-01. Retrieved 2009-02-14. "second paragraph/first page"  
  6. ^ (Matter is being, intellect not being)
  7. ^ And thought's absolute secret is without doubt this never forgotten desire to plunge into the most ecstatic fusion with matter [i.e., "the material]
  8. ^ There is a review in a blog called The Valve which cites this from 'L'Extase matérielle'"2008 Nobel Prize for Literature: Jean-Marie Le Clézio". Posted by Adam Roberts. The Valve. 2008-11-10. Retrieved 22 December 2008.  


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