French Literary Context in the 1840–1850: The Emergence of Roman Feuilleton and Popular Literature

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Polina A. Makarova

PhD in Philology, Lecturer at the Chair of Foreign Languages for the Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia


Section: History of Journalism

The paper discusses the French literary context in the 1840s — 1850s. In particular, it focuses on the emergence of a new genre, le roman feuilleton, in literature and journalism. The paper analyzes the debates surrounding this genre from 1836 till 1848. The author contends that a study of this genre allows to identify some crucial shifts occurring in the French literary field. One of them was a widespread expansion of the press at that time. These shifts conditioned the rehabilitation of the “vulgar” genre of the novel, the rise of popular literature, or belles lettres, and the emergence of the opposition “elite literature — popular literature”. The paper also examines the terminology problem concerned with the phenomenon of popular literature and its genre forms. Using the example of the French historical novel of the 1840s — 1850s the author studies the transformations which took place in the French literary field during this period.

Keywords: novel, roman feuilleton, the press, popular literature, romanticism, controversy over roman feuilleton, industrial literature

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