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Le réel et l'artificiel chez les Goncourt
Vol. IX/2007/1, pp. 65-73
Keywords: naturalism, theatre, impressionism, "artist style", probability
The Goncourts, known for their devotion to naturalism, desired to attain maximal fidelity in the rendering of reality. One of their objectives was to provide an exact transcription of conversation, quoting all its truths and freshness. But the effort of rendering reality as faithfully as possible is only one of the numerous sides of their aesthetics. The influences of their interest for the theatre on their novelists' technique show their fidelity to the convention, but can also increase the impression of probability. This is one of the aspects of their interest in artificiality, which is in an apparent opposition with their realism. The "écriture artiste", a style of their own, invented to render all their momentary sensations as exactly as possible, also appears as an ideal solution to quote a conversation. In this way, elements which could seem contradictory to the pursuit of truth can help the authors attain this objective.