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38 - Trends in the Novel in French after 2000

from Part V - Fictions of the Fifth Republic: From de Gaulle to the Internet Age

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 February 2021

Adam Watt
University of Exeter
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This chapter identifies and analyses some of the major trends of the millennial novel in French from the huge and diverse corpus on offer: ‘reality, not realism’, ‘history, but for the present’, ‘fantasy and the ludic’, ‘language, but not for language’s sake’. The titles signal how these millennial versions of trends recognisable from past centuries have taken on nuances that clearly distinguish them from their predecessors. The millennial ‘realist’ novel stages authentic, non-fictional voices within a fictional frame, using the fictional as a means of investigation into reality; the millennial historical novel takes a présentiste (Hartog) approach to history, often using the present tense to bring even the distant past into the realm of the present. The millennial version of the fantastical and ludic novel benefits from the readers’ greater awareness of the novel as a created object, an awareness which is also exploited by writers of more popular literature. So too do the novelists who experiment with language, producing works that depend on the reader’s acceptance of it as belonging to a fictional universe. The chapter concludes that a readership trained in the art of novel-reading is vital to the success of all of these trends.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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Further Reading

Blanchet, Marc and Masson, Jean-Yves, Gérard Macé (Revue des Sciences Humaines, 297 (2010))Google Scholar
Blanckeman, Bruno and Dambre, Marc (eds.), Romanciers minimalistes 1979–2003 (Paris: Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2012)Google Scholar
Braudeau, Michel, Proguidis, Lakis, Salgas, Jean-Pierre and Viart, Dominique, Le Roman français contemporain (Paris: Ministère des affaires étrangères, 2002)Google Scholar
Chaillou, Michel, ‘L’extrême contemporain’, Poésie, 41 (1987), 56Google Scholar
Cruickshank, Ruth, Fin de millénaire French Fiction: The Aesthetics of Crisis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davis, Colin and Fallaize, Elizabeth, French Fiction in the Mitterand Years: Memory, Narrative, Desire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)Google Scholar
Demanze, Laurent, Encres orphelines: Pierre Bergounioux, Gérard Macé, Pierre Michon (Paris: Corti, 2008)Google Scholar
Duffy, Jean, Thresholds of Meaning: Passage, Ritual and Liminality in Contemporary French Literature (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fortin, Jutta Emma, Method in Madness: Control Mechanisms in the French Fantastic (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2005)Google Scholar
Gros, Karine, L’Œuvre de Gérard Macé, une ‘oltracuidanza poetica (Quebec: Éditions Nota Bene, 2008)Google Scholar
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Heck, Maryline and Guidée, Raphaëlle (eds.), Modiano (Paris: L’Herne, 2012)Google Scholar
Hippolyte, Jean-Louis, Fuzzy Fiction (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2006)Google Scholar
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Trout, Colette, Marie Darrieussecq: ou voir le monde à neuf (Leiden: Brill, 2016)Google Scholar

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