Slavica Occitania

Transferts culturels et comparatisme en Russie - Résumés de thèse

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Cécile Gauthier

Nom, langue, identité : les errances du mot slave dans les discours de l’autre (à partir d’un corpus lexicographique – XVIIIe-XXe siècle – et romanesque – années 1880-1930 – de langue française et allemande)

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Abstract

A name, a language, an identity : the meanderings of the word Slav in the discourses of others (based on a lexicographic – XVIIIth-XXth centuries – and French and German novelistic – 1880’s-1930’s – corpus)

This analysis of the link between a name, a language and an identity is based on a study of the history of the word Slav in the French and German languages. The ideological and political stakes resulting from the act of nomination, with regards to the construction of the identity of a linguistic community, are particularly blatant when it comes to the word Slav. This study sheds light on the increasingly violent relations between the “nations” and the “races” of Europe in the wake of the 20th century. The interweaving of the words “Slav” and “Slave” are part of a representation of “slavic being” which is haunted by the motif of inflicted or willingly accepted servitude.

Similar though they may be, the stereotypes and wandering images linked to the word vary from one language to the other. Exotic excessiveness in the literary French corpus stands out against reluctance or even inner repression in the German corpus. This paves the way to a threefold study of the “Slavic language” in novels, based on the “primitivity” of a language close to its roots, the desire for a foreign language and the politicization of the language, the very weapon of the rebellious Slavic slave. Within the history of language and bearing in mind how a language shapes the relation to otherness, this “account of the Slavic figure” reveals an aspect of the history of nationalist tensions in Europe which broke out during World War One. The “Slavic other” appears to be one the distinctive figures of the “inner other”, whose lack of stigma leads to the overinvestment of the language as a sign of difference.

Pour citer ce document

Cécile Gauthier, «Nom, langue, identité : les errances du mot slave dans les discours de l’autre (à partir d’un corpus lexicographique – XVIIIe-XXe siècle – et romanesque – années 1880-1930 – de langue française et allemande)» in Michel Espagne (éd.) Transferts culturels et comparatisme en Russie, Slavica Occitania, 30, 2010, p. 331-340.