Associated Subjects. Alternative Names. Jean Marnold muziekcriticus. French 75 English 2. Translator , Author , Recipient , Dedicator , tra , Librettist. G42, Table 16 Examples of comparisons depicting literary genres as species. Through it, the literary critic borrows the forms, the attributes of science, and can ultimately acquire the status of scientist. In this respect, the comparison is used to add more weight to the literary discourse which, in addition to being presented as equal to the scientific discourse, also receives an external validation see Table Table 17 Example of an analogical reorganization made through comparison.
It is worth noting that sciences, and more particularly natural sciences, received considerable institutional backing which elevated them into authoritative models. Besides, using the resemblances established through comparisons, the literary critic can treat literature like science treats its object: through the power of analogy, literature and art become knowledge fields. Apart from unifying different discourses, the comparison also opposes them. Unlike metaphor, it does not map the target and the source term, but rather relies on a dual movement of imitation and differentiation that keeps the compared elements in competition.
The fundamental difference between these two tropes needs to be highlighted, since the literary critics of our corpus seem to use comparison more readily than the metaphor to give a scientific dimension to their discourse. Moreover, comparisons in the corpus of French critical texts are never combined with metaphors. It is possible, of course, to suspect that positivist literary critics distrust the metaphor because of its lyrical nature, and in general, refuse to associate the scientific discourse with images that could block or distort reality.
The reason that prevails, in our opinion, is the explicit rivalry that the comparison establishes between the scientific and literary discourse. By creating analogical parallels, literary criticism seeks not only to borrow missing structures but also to reject the domination of the sciences; it builds and demolishes a model at the same time. Thus, the generated comparisons differ from scientific comparisons which, according to Girard , prefer acquiring concepts to assimilate them. Thus, through comparison, literary criticism poses itself as a rival of science which consequently acquires the status of model.
Therefore, by simultaneously summoning and keeping the sciences at bay, literary criticism consolidates its bases in the epistemological sphere created by the scientifico-literary dialogism and reaffirms its literary singularities see Table Table 18 Comparisons exemplifying the rivalry between science and literary criticism. To conclude, the discursive dialogism established by the comparison takes part in the construction of the identity of the literary discourse. The structural analogy first gives to literary criticism a partial identity, but it is truly by distinguishing objects, differentiating the comparee and the standard of comparison that the literary discourse can afterward acquire its own identity and free itself from other domains.
This role of the comparison is directly related to the first function of comparison defined by Foucault : help to distinguish objects through their similarities and mainly their differences. In this respect, the scientifico-literary dialogism actively participates in the birth of a new discourse on literature, which validates and emancipates itself via a necessary clash with the scientific model.
This article has attempted to study the role played by comparisons in shaping the discourse of French literary criticism in the 19th century. The automatic method used reveals the important place that the comparison occupies as a catalyst for an interdiscursive dialogism. As a matter of fact, the comparison has significantly contributed to the validation of the French literary criticism of the 19th century.
The introduction of terms borrowed from hard sciences mainly stresses the fact that the identity of a new discourse is achieved first through imitation and then through differentiation. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search.
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Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Contents. At the crossroads between the scientific and the literary discourse: Comparison as a figure of dialogism Marine Riguet. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar.
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Suzanne Mpouli. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions. Abstract Through the prism of the comparison, this study examines the dialogism characterizing the discourse of French literary critics in the second half of the 19th century. Open in new tab Download slide. Distribution of the authors in the corpus of critical texts per their number of texts. Table 1. Table 2.
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Details of the manual annotation of the domains compared in a sample of sentences. Table 3. Table 4. Table 5. Table 6. Sainte-Beuve, Nouveaux Lundis, Vol. Table 7. Table 8. Table 9. Simon, Erica.
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