Site de Benoît Melançon / Thèses canadiennes en littérature française du XVIIIe siècle

Amann, Flora, «Sourds et muets entre savoir et fiction au tournant des Lumières», Montréal et Paris, Université de Montréal et Sorbonne Université, thèse de doctorat en cotutelle, décembre 2019, 395 p. Dir. : Benoît Melançon (Université de Montréal) et Michel Delon (Sorbonne Université).

At the intersection of the history of linguistic ideas and the history of representations, this thesis studies scholarly and fictional discourses on deafness between the final years of the Ancien Régime and the beginning of the Restoration (1776-1815). This period covers the years where the Abbé de L’Épée and the Abbé Sicard carried out their work. It matches the period of changes in the course of the history of the deaf people in France and how they were considered. The emergence of a specialist discourse on deafness, the setting up of institutions dedicated to the collective education of deaf people and the development of sign language and their literacy, mark the beginning of the integration of deaf people into society. Educators and philosophers are not the only ones to talk about deafness; the deaf people and their education also enthral novelists and authors of short fiction. The sentimental novel seized the silent character and its sign language, sometimes separating him from deafness. Without doubt, the novelists have been interested much more by muteness than deafness, because the former enabled them to question the social function of speech. In their works, the novelists use contrast to reveal the malfunction of speech caused by the Revolution.

The aim of this thesis is twofold. First, we put speech on deafness back in the scholarly context of the times and explain how it helps us understand the linguistic, anthropological and philosophical changes of this period. Secondly, through the history of the representations, we show how knowledge and fiction meet in the process of metaphorization of the idea of deafness of the end of the eighteenth century.

Keywords : eighteenth century; nineteenth century ; deafness; novel ; history of representations


Couverture de Luba Markovskaia (2019)
Amann, Flora, Sourds et muets. Entre savoir et fiction au tournant des Lumières (1776-1815), Paris, Classiques Garnier, coll. «L’Europe des Lumières», 75, 2021, 419 p. ISBN : 978-2-406-11117-7; ISSN : 2104-6395

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