, Volume 84, Issue 2, pp 189-205

Discours Social et les "Relectures" de Paul Nizan

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Abstract

The originality of Paul Nizan's trajectory as a writer most certainly stems from his double reception: once in the Thirties and the second time during the 60s and 70s. A question that begs asking pertains to the readability of his works outside the political context in which they were written. Posing paratextual and epitextual interference as the main agents in the survival of literary works, this article ascribes interest in Nizan's works to their continuous alignment with coincident social discourse. An analysis of peritextual data, namely prefaces, reviews, articles and monographs, indicates for instance that Nizan gained universal acceptance in the sixties through the concept of dissidence, which overrode ideological differences. After having been perceived as a treasonous act during the afterwar years, his departure from the French Communist Party came to symbolize heightened personal integrity during the Algerian Crisis and in the demise of the traditional French Left. In the seventies, oddly enough, it is his exemplary orthodoxy, while a member of the Party, which becomes his trademark. And in the wake of the Left's crushing defeat in the 1978 legislative elections, Nizan continues to haunt the French intelligentsia, a constant reminder of an unfulfilled dream.