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

Duggan, Maryse Madeleine Elisabeth, «Les contes de Mlle de Lubert : les textualités du ludique», Vancouver, University of British Columbia, thèse de doctorat, 1996, 274 p. Dir. : Olga Cragg.

The fairy tales of Mlle de Lubert (1710-1779) are all but forgotten today even though they stand out as unusual in the vast production of the eighteenth century. This research, based on Gérard Genette’s theory of «transtextualité» presents, as a minor literary case, a phase in the evolution of the genre, in which the concept of fairy tale has been revisited and often pushed to extreme.

Chapter one studies the aspect of paratext and essentially of definition by title. Due to their repetitive scheme, titles function as contracts of reading. According to a structural approach which takes into account the concept of typology, the titles outline two categories of fairy tales, one being traditional, the other totally outside the norm.

Chapter two considers the remaining aspects of paratextuality, namely the information on author and conditions of publishing, and the liminary texts. The prevalent censorship encourages the mention of phony places of publishing; author and dedicator remain broadly anonymous; prefaces are places to fight preconceived ideas about fairy tales and to offer a complete theory of the genre with a unique motto : pure entertainment.

In chapter three, the intertext considers the literary and esoteric realms, including Greco-Roman mythology and Cabal. The major intertextual field remains the folktale with a predilection for motives such as metamorphosis and monstrosity among masculine and feminine characters.

Chapter four takes into account the principle of hyper/hypotextuality. The texts with an obvious hypotext are mainly imitations but transformation can become usurpation. Some tales present the characteristics of parody without being given as such. These converging textualities surround Mlle de Lubert’s practice in literary fairy tales and settle the corpus as an outburst in the pleasure field.

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