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'Am I not an author?' Social class and the contemporary French novel

Chadderton, Helena


Helena Chadderton


While the term ‘working-class’ has fallen out of usage as the concept of class has lost its visibility and its power as a métarécit, this does not mean the issues that this term evokes have gone away. The hardship that comes of particular working lives, as well as the values and culture which are distinct from dominant bourgeois values, still exist. Indeed in a France and a Europe in which inequality is growing, and in which ‘précarité’ has become an everyday term, how is this reality represented in the contemporary French novel? Through a discussion of the relationships between class, society and literature, this article will explore the tensions between the literary world and the working-class novel. It will then turn to the work of contemporary writers Olivier Adam and Edouard Louis, who not only engage with issues of social class in their creative work, but equally condemn the disconnect between literature and society on the French literary scene. This article will show that the working-class experience has potentially been side-lined as a result not only of the reduction in visibility of the very idea of social class but also as a result of the French literary scene’s approach to literature.


Chadderton, H. (2019). 'Am I not an author?' Social class and the contemporary French novel. Modern & contemporary France / ASM & CF, 27(3), 281-294.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 13, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 21, 2018
Publication Date 2019
Deposit Date Oct 31, 2018
Publicly Available Date Mar 22, 2020
Print ISSN 0963-9489
Electronic ISSN 1469-9869
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 3
Pages 281-294
Keywords Working-class; Society; Social; Novel; Literary scene; Olivier Adam; Edouard Louis
Public URL
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