Savants et savoirs à la fin-de-siècle



April 29, 2022


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Abstract 0

The Savant certainly represents one of the most popular figures in French literature at the end of the nineteenth century. A specialist of the various branches of knowledge, this emblematic figure seems to reflect the great passion for science that characterizes this particular historical era, in which progress and technological discoveries play an important role in everyday life.Savants of all kinds invade the literary fiction of these years, crossing the great multitude of literary genres that enriches the cultural panorama of the fin-de-siècle. Doctors, scientists, professors, inventors become the recurrent protagonists of literary productions, conquering the main literary scene, from Naturalism to Science fiction and from Symbolism the Decadent movement. In addition to these scientific figures, other types of Savants permeate fin-de-siècle fiction. Occultists, magicians and sorcerers indeed play an important role in the literary genres, thus embodying other forms of erudition: “occult sciences”.This article investigates the multifarious aspects of the figure of the Savant, using critical tools to analyze three emblematic novels of the fin-de-siècle literature: Le Docteur Pascal (1893) by Émile Zola, Le Vice suprême (1884) by Joséphin Péladan and L’Ève future (1886) by Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam. This study aims to identify the differences between scientific and occult Savants, but also their numerous analogies, which reflect the cohesion that exists between various literary genres during these years.

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