But it is certainly in the philosophy of the 1960s that these various influences find their point of convergence, with a clearer configuration of the phenomenon, also due to a sensational controversy which itself constitutes an important literary fact, and far transcends the terms of the question.. Already in 1957 J. Pommier, a professor at the Sorbonne, had severely criticized Barthes’s Michelet par lui-même (1954) and Richard’s essay on Baudelaire, collected in the volume Poésie et profondeur(1955): the arbitrary method was accused and restrictive, and lack of clarity, of the “young critic”. But it is Barthes himself who in 1963 attacked “university”, that is, traditional criticism (see his Essais critiques, 1964); in 1965 the answer of another “professor”, R. Picard, Nouvelle critique ou nouvelle imposture, which crushes Barthes’ Sur Racine (1963); in 1966, replicas of Barthes (Critique et Vérité), of Doubrovsky (Pourquoi la nouvelle critique. Critique et objectivité), of Weber (Néo – critique et paléo – critique), and the aftermath until 1968 of this new “querelle des anciens et des modernes “(J. Pommier, La Querelle, in Revue d’Histoire littéraire de la France, January-March 1967; P. Daix, Nouvelle critique et art moderne, 1968), which, moreover, not even today can be said to be completely extinguished or dormant. According to Shoppingpicks, the deep gap is not so much between university criticism and militant or anti-academic criticism (many “modern” critics are also university professors, and many university professors, even from the previous generation, have long been on “modern” positions), but it is in the quality of very different, even opposing, methods which appears clearly (even if controversially) in the very lucid booklet of Barthes, Critique et Vérité, whose most important data can be summarily indicated: literature is a fact of language, of “writing”, that is essentially formal and structural; and language is not an instrument of expression, a vehicle of contents, but is itself the subject of the literary work; there is no “background”, a “secret” of the work, to derive, to study, to explain, as the “base” of a literary work is itself as such, and is indeed the absence of an object (and its destruction); therefore a book is a world with its own complete, autonomous, unique organization; the critic therefore must not and cannot “translate” contents that do not exist, he cannot explain or clarify the meaning of a work, but create senses, continue, in a
Of course, not all of the “nouvelle critique” is recognized in these formulas, and it is very easy, as has been done several times, to distinguish various strands, from the still “anthropomorphic”, humanistic and existential one, which always places at the center of the investigation the ‘man, the author, but he reconstructs from the inside the sensitive world, the myths, the obsessions, and resorts to psychoanalysis and Bachelard’s suggestive schemes (see App. III, 1, p. 198) – and we quote Richard, Poulet, Mauron and Sartre himself, who dedicated a book-summa to Flaubert, of which the first three large volumes (L’idiot de la famille, 1971-72) -, to the more openly sociological one (Goldmann; see, in this App.); but undoubtedly the most consistent address is precisely the “formalist” one – and we remember, in addition to Barthes himself, Genette, Todorov and a group of linguists, theorists, scholars of “human sciences”, such as Jakobson, Cohen, Foucault, Lévi -Strauss, Althusser, Derrida, who also practice literary criticism, or whose works are constantly kept present and discussed in the literary field and by an avant-garde magazine such as Tel Quel (1960 ff.) -. This debate has in a certain sense conditioned the developments of French literature in the last fifteen years, but in turn it has been conditioned and permeated by them, in a dense network of interferences, especially in fiction.
It is not that the traditional novel and, at least, of the nineteenth-century structure, has not yet had its authors and its audience. On the contrary, the quite wide favor with which the latest novels of writers already fully established in the period between the two wars, or the immediate post-war period have been received: while Malraux (died in 1976; see in this App.) has definitively renounced the novel, to devote himself, in recent years, after his studies on art, to active politics and its “anti-memories” (Antimémoires, Les chênes qu’on abat…, Lazare, Hôtes de passage) , Mauriac interrupted his intense activity as a journalist to return to the autobiographical novel with Un adolescent d’autrefois, published just a year before his death (1970), and which can be considered a continuation, on another level, of his “inner memories” (1959-65). And many writers born at the end of the last century, or in the early years of the twentieth century, have moved between novel and autobiography, and who in this period disappear or survive for a long time to themselves: remember, more than G. Duhamel (1884-1966), J. Romains (1885-1972), who has still enriched his already vast production with novels and essays; H. de Montherlant (1896-1972), who continued his multifaceted, “heroic” career as a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet until the last tragic act (he committed suicide), also yielding to one more or more less open confession in the Carnets and in his latest writing, Mais aimons – nous ceux que nous aimons ? (1972); P. Morand (1889-1976), who after adding other novels, essays, short stories to his innumerable books, wrote again an “autobiographical journey”, Venises (1971); R. Queneau (1903-1976), who in recent years has continued and concluded his humorous vein as a poet and novelist, anti-academic and “baroque”, with Zazie dans le métro (1959), Les fleurs bleues (1965), Courir les rues (1967), Battre la Campagna (1968), Fendre les flots (1969), La chute d’Icare (1970); and finally M. Jouhandeau (born in 1888) and J. Green (born in 1900), who have thickened their double autobiographical register of the “diary” and the novel with cards: and we quote from the first the Mémorial (7 vols. up to 1972), and the Journaliers (19 vols. Up to 1973); of the second, which has also republished some of his works in a definitive edition (Années faciles and Si j’étais vous…, in 1970), the novels Chaque homme dans sa nuit(1960) and L’Autre (1971), the vast autobiographical reconnaissance in four volumes: Partir avant le jour (1963), Mille chemins ouverts (1964), Terre lointaine (1966) and Jeunesse (1974), and the continuation of the Journal (VIII vol. In 1967, IX in 1972; the X was published at the end of 1976): a very intense writing activity, and always excavated and dramatic, that of Green, which in recent years has also obtained some official consecrations, such as the election to the Académie française (1971) and the collection of complete works in the “Bibliothèque de la Pléiade”. To all these writers, already famous for some time, we must add at least J. Giono (died in 1970: see App. I), who after World War II experienced a notable recovery, of invention and success, especially deepening his stendhalian vein. in another series of works: Le Hussard sur le toit (1951), Voyage en Italie (1953), Le bonheur fou (1957), Angelo (1958), Le désastre de Pavie (1963), Deux cavaliers de Orlage (1965), Ennemonde (1968), L’Iris de Suse (1970).