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Master Thesis

Quand la littérature de jeunesse raconte l’Histoire : Les Mystères romains de Caroline Lawrence, un voyage au cœur de l’Antiquité romaine

Abstract : The historical novel, this literary genre intended for young people, tends to use two notions: fantasy and truth. This essay intends to take an interest in the connection between fiction and knowledge that we find in those novels. How do authors manage to reconcile two concepts in contradiction that, put together, represent a nonsense, such as the critic Bertrand Solet has observed? Our study focuses on the literary series by Caroline Lawrence, The roman Mysteries, taking place in the ancient Rome. What are the aspects of fiction and truth in those stories and how do they coexist?
Certainly, The roman Mysteries are anchored in history but the latter is told. Though Caroline Lawrence assumes a status of historian writer, she does not neglect the fictional aspect of her works and the pleasure of reading she has to relay. Police plots, characters we can identify with, narrative structures full of suspense and familiar for the reader: all these fictional aspects hold the attention of the readers and are a part of their escape in a fantasy world.
Then, how does the historical knowledge slot into narration? The culture of readers is enhanced by implicit and explicit knowledge that are displayed in The roman Mysteries. Inherent in plots, the events and the historical characters, the societal facts and laws, the religious and mythological themes give a wide depiction of the Roman life in Antiquity. At the same time, both didactic language in narration and also Editions Milan’s editorial ‘paratext’ come to complete the knowledge inherently shown in fiction.
This correlation between fiction and reality allows to take an interest in the educational approach of the historical novel in school. Combining fantasy and knowledge, two essential aspects for children, is this literary genre not a necessary tool in education?
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Magali Regnacq. Quand la littérature de jeunesse raconte l’Histoire : Les Mystères romains de Caroline Lawrence, un voyage au cœur de l’Antiquité romaine. Littératures. 2013. ⟨dumas-01140214⟩

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