Literary Poetics and Social Uses of Public Communication in French (15th-16th c.)
The research project studies the development of public eloquence in French at the time of major upheavals, such as the invention of the printing press and the rise of the Reformation, in order to demonstrate how Early Modern societies became media societies. It explores the cultural model of the orator promoted by intellectuals, and its progressive dissemination towards wider and less educated communities, who cultivated specific literary genres and used them as media. Why and how these unprofessional authors and ordinary readers instrumentalized literary forms of expression in an attempt to intervene within the public sphere and exert influence on the opinion networks?
In order to define the concept of medialiterature, the project will offer a comparative approach of unpublished texts and archives, and study the poetics and the social uses of the verse historiography, of occasional poetry, and of political theater in French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Belgium between 1460 and 1560. In doing so, it aims at developing a new research field integrating literary and cultural history, and history of media.