Literature and Journalism
In this course we will explore the complex and often difficult relations that have developed between literature and written journalism in France from the en of the 19th century to the present. We will first examine Balzac’s pejorative image, growing out of his own experience in this milieu, of the press and journalists in his novel Illusions perdues. It is this image that dominated literary representations of the press and that is evident again in Goncourt’s Charles Demailly, as well as in the second great 19th C. novel, Bel-Ami by Maupassant, that we will study in more depth. However this deprecatory image dramatically changes after 1880 under the influence of more modern writers, such as Zola, conscious of the possibilities that journalism offers to literature. Literature borrows new genres: the chronicle, the reporting. We will also study examples of great chroniclers : Proust, Barbusse, Vialatte, Giono, and then, in the 20th C., famous writer-reporters : Albert Londres, Simenon, Kessel, Roger Vailland. Finally we will analyse, using the work of two major authors, Camus and Mauriac, how the 20th C. writer uses the press as a forum to promulgate views on political and social issues, thereby achieving intellectual and moral authority. We will finish by considering the contemporary period examining whether the union of writer and journalist still exists in a period of general decline of the traditional written press (and literature itself?).
Texts : Mauriac, Bloc-Notes, t. V, 1968-1970, éd. du Seuil, Points-Essais, nº 270, EAN 13 : 9782020128186; A collection of texts will also be provided.