Writers and the Press in France: Pamphlets, Propaganda, and Politics

Call for Papers

11 September 2013

The University of Bristol

Keynote Speaker: Gisèle Sapiro, directrice de recherche at the CNRS, directrice d’études à l’EHESS, and directrice du Centre européen de sociologie et de science politique (CESSP-Paris)

There remains a widespread and persistent assumption both in academic circles and public perception that the phenomenon of the écrivain engagé in France begins with the Dreyfus Affair in the 1890s and enters into decline in the aftermath of the events of May 1968. This process is seen to be intrinsically linked to the emergence of the press in its modern form, framed by Zola’s J’Accuse and by the image of Sartre selling copies of La cause du peuple on the streets of Paris.

This one-day, bilingual conference seeks to re-examine this assumption, often itself politically driven, by looking before and beyond this narrow timeframe, studying the character, origins, and development of the politically engaged writer from the early modern period to the present. It will do so through the study of French writers’ interactions with the press, understanding the term ‘press’ in its broadest sense: from the poet’s use of the printing press as a political tool in the controversies of sixteenth-century France to the press of a mouse today, by way of the pamphlets of the Enlightenment and the jobbing-journalism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that paid the wages of many professional writers in France.

Papers should be delivered in French or in English and last no more than 20 minutes. Proposals of up to 350 words should be sent to Dr Marieke Dubbelboer (Marieke.Dubbelboer@bristol.ac.uk) and Dr Rowan Tomlinson (Rowan.Tomlinson@bristol.ac.uk) by 1 February 2013.

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