n French Studies in Southern Africa - Babar lit Balibar ou Le maître d'école est caché sous le texte

Volume 2002, Issue 31
  • ISSN : 0259-0247



In the light of Renée Balibar's thesis, formulated in (1974), we would like to re-evaluate the theme of scolarity in French literature. While one often makes a link between school and literature, one rarely acknowledges the importance of primary school in the process of literary conceptualisation. With the establishment of realism in literature, around 1850, the need arose to make use of basic, elementary French, in order to reflect the language of characters of low-class origin. Hence the creation of a "fictional French", of which one finds obvious traces in Flaubert's (1857) : it is not by chance that this ground-breaking novel starts off in a class-room.

Not surprisingly, this particular scene will re-surface, carefully rewritten, every time French literature tries to implement a shift in its level of language, as in Celine's (1936), when he attempts to introduce Parisian "slang" into literature), more recently in the Caribbean writer Chamoiseau's and the Belgian poet Verheggen, who all subject the French language to the influences of creolisation or Walloon.

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