Call for papers
Topics of language and languages in narrative fiction
XXXV International Colloquium of SATOR
Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris, 23-25 November 2023
On the occasion of its XXXVth international colloquium, SATOR wishes to invite researchers to reflect not so much on the – too many – topoi corresponding to speaking situations (in the sense of speeches, direct or indirect, written or oral )but rather to “recurring narrative or discursive configurations”, or “mini-scenarios » in which language (its conditions of articulation, acquisition, formulation) and languages (ancient or vernacular, native or foreign, their regional or social variants) are effectively thematized, are the subject of a discourse, of an explicit staging or plot.
This does not exclude topoi relating to discursive actions, but on condition that the linguistic dimension takes on a reflexive dimension.
Thus, consider the following quotation, taken from the Perverted Peasant (1776) by Rétif de la Bretonne:
You remember it ; when we went to school, under master Jacques, I had the misfortune to learn to read, write and throw faster than you […] And thereupon, our poor father and mother (though with good intentions) thought I was made to become a doctor. […] ; when they saw that I was fluently reading a Latin book in French, they felt no joy, and destined me to live in towns, to make a fortune there. […] Oh the cursed ease that I had there!
This passage could certainly constitute an occurrence of a discursive topos of the type “Narrator regretting past choices” or “Correspondence between brothers”; however, within the framework of this symposium, it will be more relevant as being related to the topos “Learning to read”, of which it is moreover an “accredited” occurrence (proposed by Nathalie Ferrand).
Existing topoi like (in alphabetical order) “Learning to read”, “Censorship causing circumlocution”, “Communicating clandestinely”, “Communicating without words”, “Deciphering secret message”, “Denouncing rhetorical trickery”, “Narrator justifying style”, “Double-meaning speech”, “Linguistic communication problem”, could be considered fresh again and enriched with new occurrences and interpretations; others could be proposed, in particular concerning the learning of language or languages, either in childhood or in contact with new populations; foreign or imaginary languages; translation and translators; the characters of interpreters or translators; encrypted languages and spy figures; pastiche or parody as a linguistic or stylistic reflection; talking animals or animal communication; feints related to the disguise of voice or speech; the discourse of authors or narrators confronted with their own linguistic nature; the integration into fiction of philosophical discourses on language; conversely, the insertion of topical narrative fragments in philosophical writings on language… This list is obviously neither prescriptive nor exhaustive: its main purpose is to give a more precise idea of what this colloquium would like think collectively.
While SATOR concentrated during its first decades of existence on French literature, then European literature from the “Ancien Régime”, from the Middle Ages to the 18th century inclusive, it has gradually opened up over the past fifteen years. years to earlier and later periods (Antiquity, 19th-21st centuries) and to other cultural areas: the scientific committee will gladly examine proposals relating to narrative fiction in the broad sense, all periods and all cultural areas combined, both literary and audio-visual (films, television series).
Scientific Committee: Hélène Cussac (University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès), Jean-Pierre Dubost (University of Clermont Auvergne), Véronique Duché (The University of Melbourne), Catherine Gallouët (Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Geneva), Elodie Ripoll (University of Trier) , Yen-Maï Tran-Gervat (Sorbonne Nouvelle University).
Paper proposals of approximately 300 words, accompanied by a short bio-bibliography, should be sent to email@example.com before April 15, 2023.
A response will be sent after deliberation by the scientific committee no later than June 30, 2023.
 The list of topoi retrieved from Satorbase shows a large amount of topoi already listed in relation to different types of speaking, from the eight propositions containing the action of “Accuse…” to “Violence of the verb”, passing through eleven topoi listing recurring interventions by the “Author…”, and even more concerning forms of discourse by the “Narrator…”. The Satorbase.org site has unfortunately not been accessible online since 2021, but thanks to the efforts of Daniel Maher and Madeleine Jeay in particular, a “raw” list of topoi has been recovered, as well as certain corresponding files. SATOR is currently working on the implementation of a Satorbase 2 in order to make the database once again searchable and possibly modifiable by the research community.
 For the different definitions of the topos according to SATOR throughout its history, see the summary article by Jean-Pierre Dubost: https://sator.hypotheses.org/983
 Restive of Bretonne, The Perverted Peasant Lausanne, L’Age d’Homme, 1977, edition by François Jost, Letter II, p.22