Vae Victis! Adolphe Rette
Abstract

The recounting of literary history has always been staged from the winners' camp. Despite the work done by historians who seek to restore a counter-history to the literary canon, it is instead necessary to consider the same History from the point of view of literature's peripheral figures. During the nineteenth century a vast majority of poets and novelists, including poet Adolphe Retté, fell into this category: the young genius aspiring to literary glory in the capital who is left with only his lost illusions. This phenomenon can be explained in part by the increased circulation of the press, the proliferation of reviews, and the con-sensus of an informed public. It is significant however that the circle of one of literature's most elusive poets, Mallarmé, decided the literary fate of Retté. In Retté's vigorous critique of Mallarmé's poetry, he sealed his own artistic demise. However, it was Retté's self-imposed exclusion from the literary domain, his voluntary move to the losers' camp, that places into the question the fragile edifice upon which the literary canon stands. If literary history has been polarized between the winners' camp and the losers' camp, of which the former represents the authoritative voice of official literary history, what then of those exiled figures who place themselves in the latter camp so as to ensure their effacement from the literary canon? (in French)


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