Contemporary biographical fictions in France: between narrative and visual – This paper discusses an evolution of point of view on biographical fictions from 90’ to the present, due to the important increase of literary practices exploring images and their role in the constitution of the biographical discourse. The relation between fiction and reality presented from the point of view of Paul Ricoeur’s ‘narrative identity’ in first approaches of biographical fictions is now substituted by the reflection about the relation between narrative and visual which discloses, particularly in the case of biographical portraits of writers, the commemorative aspects of a literary text.
The novels of Jean Echenoz are particularly known for their playfulness with which they deconstruct the codes of the paraliterary genres, as well as for a casualness with which they approach the topos of the modernist novel. The production of this author of the last two decades nevertheless testifies of a new direction that slips in the biographical. Like many writers of his generation, Jean Echenoz deals in Jérôme Lindon (2001), Ravel (2006), Courir (2008) and Des éclairs (2010) with the lives of illustrious personalities of our era. We can wonder what the objective of this approach of a writer, who shows his admiration with regard to his characters, is. Is it a simple tribute or need to fill out gaps in history that we will never complete for lack of evidence to support? This paper also tries to deal with the problem of the genre of these texts that lie at the edge between fiction and factual literature.