DS0804 - Création, cultures et patrimoines

Literary advertising and advertising literature from 1830 to nowdays – LITTéPUB

Submission summary

Projet disponible en anglais :
valorecherche.u-paris10.fr mot de passe : myriam@boucharenc

LITTéPUB is an interdisciplinary project with a strong literary base. It combines several approaches – cultural heritage, literary interpretation and publishing history – with a view toward writing an original interlinked history of literature and advertising in France since the advent of what is called “réclame”, at the end of the Restoration, to the digital revolution and brand communication. This project aims to study “literary advertising” in the dual meaning of this expression:
• advertising constructed according to literary models, by anonymous or famous writers (great names of French literature, such as Hugo, Coppée, Richepin, Valéry, Colette, Cocteau, Claudel, Giono),
• and marketing or promotional material for literature, books and authors.
The polysemy implies and highlights the reciprocal promotion introduced in the 19th century between commercial brands and writers as “brand images,” at a time when the writer was being consecrated by the media due to the rise of what Sainte-Beuve scornfully called “industrial literature.” The project also intends to explore the link between this forgotten chapter of both literary history and the history of advertising with the concomitant emergence of a literature about advertising that was reacting in real time to the advent of a market civilization and the consumer society, and to the mechanisms and rhetoric of commercial “propaganda” via the media. Whether viewed as a controversial target (Balzac, Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, Duhamel, Bernanos) or a model of poetic revolution (Cendrars, Fargue, Mac Orlan), fictionalized through the novel and drama (Perec, Beauvoir, Salacrou, Vinaver), advertising was a major subject in literature and in the debate generated by the collusion occurring between “pure literature” and the commercialization of culture. The history of the relationship between literature and advertising is one of fascination and rejection, mutual borrowings and critical distance, aesthetic compromises and strategic adherence to a new form of cultural patronage. It reveals through two conceptions of creative writing the ambiguous rivalry that has been developing between the 19th century and the present day.
To interpret and give meaning to this complex and confrontational collaboration, LITTéPUB plans to identify and inventory the fragile and ephemeral heritage of the countless texts that make up literary advertising. The purpose is to ensure the digital conservation of a significant part of the material with the assistance of several institutional partners: Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de Santé, Bibliothèque Forney, IMEC, Swiss National Library. The work will be coordinated through a collaborative website, which will also make public and visible the primary sources and the team’s publications. Through the unearthing of a significant corpus, the ambition of this project is to examine the forms, media, nature and broadcasting of these unusual and inventive texts in order to better understand the reasons why they have been overshadowed both by literary and advertising history. The interdisciplinary and international scientific search team is composed of specialists in French and francophone literature (Belgium, Switzerland), as well as Italian literature, together with historians of commercial culture, sociologists of advertising and scholars in information and communication sciences. It intends to restore to the cultural history of the last two centuries a fundamental chapter of its evolution, directly connected with the current ambitions of digital humanities and research into intermediality.

Project coordination

Myriam Boucharenc (Centre des Sciences de la Littérature française (CSLF) -EA 1586)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


Ville de Paris Bibliothèque Forney
Centre d'Etudes Blaise Cendrars (CEBC) Bibliothèque Nationale Suisse (BNS)
Paris 3 Théorie et Histoire des Arts et des Littératures de la modernité, XIXe-XXIe siècles (THALIM) - UMR 7172
Université Paris Descartes Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire de Santé
CNRS Laboratoire Communication et Politique (LCP) -UPR 3255
Université de Caen Basse-Normandie Lettres, Arts du spectacle, Langues romanes (LASLAR)-EA 4256
UPOND Centre des Sciences de la Littérature française (CSLF) -EA 1586

Help of the ANR 298,560 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2014 - 48 Months

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