Lorsque la voix déchire la lettre: la fiction au Moyen Âge comme poétique de l’entre-deux

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The emergence of the romance (as language and poetic discourse) in the Middle Ages shows an emancipation from Latin and neo-Latin literary models that suggests an acute perception of the scriptural dynamic acting at the heart of the fiction. Nevertheless, Paul Zumthor’s and Bernard Cerquiglini’s works in the 1980s have clearly shown that this emerging literature does not suppose an interruption with oral background on which it is based. But the opposite is equally true: the prologues remind us constantly that the legitimacy of the literary phenomenon cannot be based entirely on an ethics of the voice and that it supposes more and more an epistemology of the writing. The development of a literary consciousness in the vernacular language is thus neither simple affirmation of a vocal presence that deeply resonates in the texture of the written poems, nor a pure claim of the power of the letter that threatens the
fragility of the orality whose symbolic prestige begins to decline especially from the 12th century: as romances and chanson de geste show us fiction seems to appear above all an experience of the in-between which emerges from the constant tension, even counter-diction (R. Dragonetti), between the letter and the voice.
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)41-59
Number of pages18
JournalCarnets: revue électronique d’études françaises
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • French Literature
  • Middle Ages
  • Orality/writing
  • Fiction
  • Poetics of the voice

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