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POEtiques. L’influence de Poe sur les théories et les pratiques des genres dans le domaine français du XIXe au XXIe siècle

POEtics. Poe’s influence on generic theories in 19th and 20th century French literature and culture

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Publié le lundi 01 septembre 2008 par Delphine Cavallo


La célébration du bicentenaire de la naissance d’Edgar Poe (20 janvier 1809) offre l’occasion de réévaluer l’influence d’une des œuvres les plus novatrices et les plus internationales de la littérature moderne. L’empreinte de la France sur l’œuvre de Poe est une invite à examiner l’influence que celle-ci a exercée en retour sur la littérature française et francophone. Le thème du colloque sera limité aux œuvres qui attestent la reprise globale des déterminations thématiques, modales, formelles, culturelles, configurées par Poe, et qui sont particulièrement révélatrices du travail des genres, ces catégories pratiques qui guident la création en faisant apparaître, sous la diversité des approches individuelles des auteurs, une certaine communauté de pratiques. Cinq archigenres seront étudiés : la traduction, la transposition sémiotique, la prose, la poésie, et la critique.


International Symposium


Poe’s influence on generic theories in 19th and 20th century French literature and culture.

The celebration of the bicentenary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday (20th January 1809) gives the opportunity to reevaluate the influence of one of the most innovative and international writers in modern literature. The special relationship between Poe and France can be described in terms of attraction and counter-attraction. Our colloquium will have to do with the complete transpositions and transformations (excluded partial borrowing) of Poe’s works, within the French and Francophone literature and surroundings. One could deal with the following domains: translation, transposition (music, picture, movie, videogame,), prose, poetry, critical discourse.

Place: C.T.E.L. (Centre de Recherche Transdisciplinaire en Epistémologie de la Littérature), UFR de Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France.

Date : 22 and 23 January 2009.

Deadline for contributions: 30 October 2008.  To be sent to:

Organizer: Nicole Biagioli, professor in French langauge and literature, codirector of the axis Generic Identities at the CTEL.

Organizing committee: Yann Baetens (professeur, université de Leuwen), Daniel Bilous (professeur, université de Toulon), Jean-Pierre Naugrette (professeur, Paris 10) Jacques Neefs, professeur (Paris 8 et Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore), Michel Remy (professeur, université de Nice), Jean-Marie Seillan (professeur, université de Nice)

Associate: Poe Studies Association.

Theoretical framing:

The identity of a literary genre is formed through interactions between producers and receivers in reaction to literary works and according to cultural horizons. The celebration of the anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday gives the opportunity to reevaluate the influence of one of the most innovative and international writers in modern literature. Indeed, Poe brought so unexpected and appropriate answers to questions raised at his time that they have modified the cultural horizon beyond their own linguistic and cultural context.

The conception of the literary genre as a cultural construct, which originates in M.Bakhtine’s works (cf “The discourse in life and the discourse in poetry”, in Todorov’s M.Bakhtine’s Le Principe dialogique, Seuil, Poétique, 1981) is founded on interdiscursive but also interlinguistic exchanges (one of the authors studied by Bakhtine is Rabelais). The linguistic discrepancy reveals not only linguistic but also textual regularities and differences, in the translator’s as well as the writer’s cultures. An author who attracts translators is also potentially an author who prompts to write and reflect upon the interlocking problematics of language and literature.


Limitations have to be brought to such a large field of investigations and it has been decided to remain within the French and French-speaking domain, considering that there was a special kind of relationship between Poe and France. His influence results from an attraction and a return of that attraction. Two of his most famous short stories, The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Purloined Letter take place in Paris and their hero - the detective, also the author’s alter ego - is French.

Our perspective is centered on a single transtextual relation, that of Genette’s “architextuality” (Genette, Introduction à l’architexte, Seuil, Poétique, 1979, p.88) i.e. “the inclusive relation which links each text to the various types of discourse which it belongs to”. Quotations from, and allusions to, Poe’s works and personal legend are innumerable. Intertextual relations establish links between two texts or fragments of texts and thus function as shifters or/and   signs of generic attraction, but they cannot be reduced to it. Indeed, hypertextual relations – the deriving of a text from another through simple or indirect transformation (cf. Genette, Palimpsestes, Seuil, Poétique, 1979, p.14) does not necessarily imply architextual adequation. Even in such an obvious case as the process of continuation in Jules Verne’s Le Sphinx des glaces, which prolongs the narrative of The Adventures of Gordon Pym, the generic conformity to the hypotext should be investigated into.

The theme of the symposium will thus be limited to the productions in which thematic, modal, formal and cultural determinations are taken up. Particularly significant of the process at work in the genres, those categories reveal a certain community of practices under the diversity of approaches and give a new direction to creation.

The aim of the symposium is to describe the migration of generic forms across linguistic, cultural, historical and semiotic barriers, from their “etymon” – i.e. Poe’s works whose “fortune” has rendered them “modelizing”. In order to be practical and open onto the didactics of literature, a writing workshop will be organized to test certain writing protocols drawn from the architextual mechanisms laid bare during the various contributions.


Poe’s works are still felt to be profoundly original because they originate in the deliberate intention to play with the genres, to blend them – a poem and a short story – to hybridize them – fiction and objective report in mystifications -, to displace them – from the press, scientific reports and philosophical essays to literature – and compare them – by building some equivalence between the poem and the short story. In order to understand the inclusion of that process into French culture, one could deal with the following domains:

- Translation : a prerequisite to the spreading of the knowledge of Poe’s works, it has given birth in France to a specific history, that of the translations and translators of Poe’s texts, thus throwing light on translation theories and helping translation to become a genre in itself.

- Transposition : a corollary to translation, it confronts the re-writer to the mechanisms of carrying the same meaning into a different medium. Owing to their stylistic and generic features, Poe’s texts can be easily transposed into still or moving images, theatrical and musical texts. New 20th century genres, such as strip cartoons, video games and multimedia productions have brought Poe to the knowledge of a larger and larger public.

- Prose : the term gathers all the genres created or launched by Poe in the field of the short or long narratives, characterized by a tendency to scenographic disguise (as in Colloquy of Monos and Una, a short story cum philosophical dialogue) and to a confusion of registers (grotesque and scientific as in Some words with a mummy). They gave rise to a great number of texts, some obvious albeit ephemeral as with Jules Verne, some less noticeable but recurring more as with the press humorists of the late 19th century.

- Poetry : lying at the core of Poe’s works, its influence on French poets goes way beyond Baudelaire, Mallarmé and Valéry and goes right into the 20th century.

- Critical discourse: The Philosophy of composition has been frequently reappropriated by generations of writers for the past two centuries. The hermeneutic model proposed by Poe has been revisited and generalized in the field of literature (from a critical point of view by Barthes) as well as in the field of humanities (as in psychoanalysis with Lacan).



  • Centre de recherche transdisciplinaire en épistémologie de la littérature, EA1758, UFR Lettres Arts et Sciences Humaines, Université Nice-Sophia Antipolis, 98 Bd. Herriot
    Nice, France


  • jeudi 30 octobre 2008


  • Poe, architext, literary genres, translation, prose, poetry, critical discourse, semiotical transposition


  • Nicole Biagioli
    courriel : biagioli [at] unice [dot] fr

Source de l'information

  • Nicole Biagioli
    courriel : biagioli [at] unice [dot] fr

Pour citer cette annonce

« POEtiques. L’influence de Poe sur les théories et les pratiques des genres dans le domaine français du XIXe au XXIe siècle », Appel à contribution, Calenda, Publié le lundi 01 septembre 2008,