Abstract

Résumé:

Dans les années 1980, les débats autour de la mémoire de Hugo semblent s’être apaisés, après un siècle durant lequel le poète a polarisé les opinions. Dans une époque marquée politiquement par le déclin des idéologies et la normalisation de l’alternance républicaine, et culturellement par le vitalisme touche-à-tout d’un Jack Lang, la figure de Hugo peut ainsi sembler anachronique. Pourtant, à l’occasion du centenaire de sa mort, Hugo est célébré comme une figure de référence; son image est rajeunie, et son oeuvre adaptée aux supports et techniques les plus modernes, conformément au credo du ‘tout culturel’ préconisé par le Ministre de la Culture. La représentation de l’auteur des Misérables est un point d’observation privilégié du rapport qui se tisse entre le dix-neuvième siècle et les années 80. Hugo est un ‘lieu de mémoire’, témoin d’un rapport ambigu et médiatisé au passé républicain, à l’héritage de la gauche et à la culture littéraire. Modèle à la fois suranné et indépassable, il inspire récupérations publicitaires et postures politiques, dans une perspective paradoxale de célébration et de dépassement, d’imitation et de détachement. En reconstituant le réseau de discours qui contribuent à la construction de son image durant les eighties, ce travail éclaire notre rapport contemporain à Victor Hugo, et la place singulière qu’il occupe encore dans l’imaginaire culturel et politique français.

Abstract:

By the 1980s, the debates surrounding the memory of Victor Hugo seemed to have subsided after a century in which the poet had polarized opinion. Hugo could thus appear obsolete and anachronistic in a period characterized politically by the decline of ideologies, the weakening of left-wing thought, and the accepted alternation of left- and right-wing parties in government. Culturally, Hugo might seem similarly old-fashioned in an age defined by the energetic, technophile cultural policies of the omnipresent Minister of Culture, Jack Lang. And yet in 1985, on the occasion of the anniversary of his death, Hugo was fêted by the governing left as a model to follow; his image was substantially freshened up and his works updated using the latest technology and media, in keeping with Lang’s professed belief that everything is grist to the culture mill. An analysis of Hugo’s representation at this time thus gives us an important perspective on the dynamic between the nineteenth century, as embodied by Hugo, and the 1980s, obsessed as it was with an ethos of enterprise and innovation associated particularly with that earlier era. Symbolic of a nineteenth century no longer able to connect meaningfully with the present, Hugo constitutes a fascinating lieu de mémoire, bearing witness to the ambivalent and mediatized relation of the early 1980s to its republican past, its left-wing heritage, and French literary culture. Both outmoded and timeless, Hugo inspired advertising campaigns and informed political positions, being paradoxically celebrated and overlooked, at once the object of warm emulation and cool detachment. In reconstituting this nexus of discourses which helped to fashion Hugo’s image in the 1980s, this study also casts a new light on our relationship today with the writer, as well as the unique place he still occupies in the French cultural and political imaginary.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1468-2931
Print ISSN
0016-1128
Pages
pp. 525-543
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-18
Open Access
No
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