Christine Angot claims the right to feed her novelistic universe mainly with facts from her real life. This radicalism earned her a conviction in court, on May 27, 2013, for violation of private life in the novel Les petits. She was convicted for turning a real recognizable person of her entourage, into an unflattering novel character. The Parisian Court found that Les petits, could not be described as a "novel", despite the assertions of the author and her publisher, and despite the fact that it is presented to the public with the qualification “novel” in the paratext. This position seems extreme in so far as the magistrates choose to ignore the notion of genre, a notion still fundamental today. One can, as a matter of fact, argue that the genre should be considered constitutive of the meaning, and accept that the interpretation depends on the genre, that it is genre-bound. To that extent, to simply discard the notion of genre seems unacceptable. To counter the reasoning of the Court, Angot develops a certain number of arguments that will be addressed using the theories of Genette, Searle and Cohn. We will come to the conclusion that by taking into account literary and linguistic theories, and therefore the manner in which an eventual breach in privacy occurred, the Court could have made a fairer and more readily accepted decision, or at least one more in accordance with the rule of proportionality expected in every democracy.
Copyright (c) 2019 Nathalie Hauksson-Tresch
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