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Le Manifeste littéraire revisité. Explorations fictionnelles du genre dans la littérature francaise contemporaine

Doctoral thesis
Authors Mette Tjell
Date of public defense 2015-03-07
ISBN 978-91-628-9307-1
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Language fr
Keywords literary manifesto, Éric Chevillard, Antoine Volodine, Édouard Glissant, Le Caoutchouc décidément, Le Post-exotisme en dix lecons, lecon onze, Tout-monde, contemporary literature, avant-garde, speech acts, ethos
Subject categories Languages and Literature


This study shows how features of the literary manifesto, a genre associated with the avant-garde period, are integrated in three contemporary French novels: Le Caoutchouc décidément (1992) by Éric Chevillard, Tout-monde (1993) by Édouard Glissant and Le Post-exotisme en dix leçons, leçon onze (1998) by Antoine Volodine. The aim of the study is to understand what these features reveal about the way writers today claim a position in the literary field and to determine whether the novels can be considered a continuation of the manifesto genre in present times. To conduct this research in the fields of the novel and of the manifesto, a pragmatic approach is applied. The macro-speech acts that define the manifesto discourse are outlined and the proclamation of a new aesthetic is found to be dominant. To assess the impact of these macro-speech acts in the novels, it is necessary to take into account the authorial ethos, which indicates the writer’s position. The analyses expose that the fictional worlds consolidate the aesthetic convictions that the writers seek to assert in the literary field. In fact, to different degrees, the novels reproduce the performativity of the manifesto. However, the manifesto discourse in the novels differs from its original revolutionary form by its loss of the collective enunciation, as well as by its intention: rather than subverting the values of the literary institution, the novels are configured to support them. These results are compared with statistical studies on the evolution of the manifesto genre and with case studies, confirming that the tendencies in the novels correlate with the evolution of the literary manifesto in France.

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