L'exergue comme procédé de légitimation du roman québécois pour la jeunesse (1982-1994)

  • Claire le Brun


During the eighties and increasingly in the early nineties, Quebec novelists for children and teenagers have experimented with various intertextual devices, thus introducing young people to "great" literature. Among these devices, the presently ubiquitous epigraph appears to play a distinctive part, since it is hardly expected to be read by the target audience! The author examines the extent and the meaning of this phenomenon with a socio-cultural approach based on Pierre Bourdieu's theory of Fields. She sketches a portrait of books with epigraphs (date, publisher; series, target audience, literary genre, etc.) and discusses the functions of epigraphs in these novels. Self-legitimization seems to be at stake: this sudden burst of epigraphs in Quebec children's literature may be regarded as a part of writers' struggle for a wider recognition, exceeding boundaries of the paraliterary and educational fields.