Images et imaginaires scolaires de la littérature française du XVIe siècle : création, modélisation et transmission d’un corpus canonique de la Renaissance (1880-2011)

Abstract : From Michelet’s definition of the Renaissance and its literary productions in 1855 to the actual discourse of high school textbooks, this dissertation reveals the process by which a canonical representation of 16th century French Literature, as well as a canonical form of this literature, are built and shared. The study is based on a wide range of school textbooks, from Gustave Lanson’s Histoire de la littérature française to textbooks published in 2011, as well as literary anthologies from the first half of the 20th century and the famous Lagarde et Michard published from the 1940’s until the 1980’s. The form in which 16th century authors and their work are represented in these textbooks and anthologies indicates that several mechanisms contributed to bringing out the idea of a « literary century » which was organized by an institutional selection of texts on one hand, and, on the other hand, by the circulation of a doxa about both the writers and their writing. Therefore, as this discussion underlines the construction of classical representations for each of the most represented authors, it also establishes that these figures tend to create an overarching canonical representation of the century, as well as a canonical corpus for this time period. This canonical representation and its corpus take shape as a hierarchical construction, within which each author and literary work are given a specific place. This place thus determines the ranking of the writers in the canonical space, which cannot easily be changed, as the canon turns out to be quite identical throughout the length of the study. On the contrary, the institutional representations seem to evolve during the 20th century, and so the « 16th century » of Lanson proves to be quite different in its discursive form than the one of the current textbooks. Moreover, the canonical « idea » of a 16th century in French Literature is linked to the development of French literary history and its institutional goals. Thus, this idea has to be put in perspective with the ideological values which are meant to be transmitted by the national school curricula, from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st. This reveals that the notion of a « literary century » is essentially a historical construction, a narrative that ought to be questioned in order to understand its presuppositions and the values that inform its construction.
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Marjorie Broussin. Images et imaginaires scolaires de la littérature française du XVIe siècle : création, modélisation et transmission d’un corpus canonique de la Renaissance (1880-2011). Littératures. Lyon 2, 2019. Français. ⟨tel-02316086⟩

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