Stratégies narratives et mises en scène lexicales du roman sentimental sériel contemporain: l'auteure, le corps et les sentiments

Publication year

The article is in French but there is an abstract in English:

Love novels apparently suffer from an identity problem. It is generally thought that their women writers produce virtually identical novels according to a fixed recipe, described by Gustave Reynier as "a love, an obstacle, and when there's a happy ending, a marriage" (1908 : 302). The goal of this article is to check the veracity of this "hypothesis" through several structural and endogenous analysis applied to a sample of approximately sixty novels of this kind, whose success has been constant. We will show first of all that major differences may exist even within a common frame, with narrative schemes going from a simple combination of 4 situations to a complex combination of up to 10 different situations. We will also show how the authors have had to adapt to strict editorial instructions relating to narrative strategies. The second part of the article will examine the nature of the authors' vocabulary through discourse analysis and with the help of computerized tools applied to a corpus of two million words (50 novels, approximately 8000 digitized pages). Thanks to electronic dictionaries created specifically for this task, we will show how the vocabulary of these novels is built around redundancies and exclusions. For example, it will become apparent how hair is always described when talking about the main couple, or that ankles are described only when talking about women and wrinkles when talking about men... Through similar methods we will see the importance of verbs expressing feelings when describing the characters' first meeting, and how some verbs cannot have a feminine subject (to abuse) and others cannot have a masculine subject (to be disoriented, to be lost, to marvel…).

The focus is on words used to describe parts of the body and verbs expressing emotion.