Heroics and humanism: A study of intra-genre divergence within modern French fantasy literature

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Virginia Tech

This study explores the manner in which modern French fantasy novels have diverged from the Tolkienian, high-fantasy precedent established in the late 90s and the very early 2000s. From 2010–2020, authors Jean-Philippe Jaworski, Justine Niogret, Pierre Pevel, and Claire Duvivier have re-imagined the fantasy realm by deliberately working in opposition to the tropes of high-fantasy. The following work is split into two segments–the first of which analyzes how this high-fantasy divergence manifests within the evolved role of the hero, as it pertains to Jaworski, Pevel, and Niogret. The latter tackles the inverse, being the de-heroized, humanist approach of Duvivier that further depicts how the genre continues to evolve. Through a varying theoretical framework, this interdisciplinary work establishes that the following novels mutually support one another in an effort to diverge from the historic, high-fantasy precedent: Jaworski's Gagner la guerre (2009), Niogret's Chien du heaume (2010), Pevel's Le Chevalier (2015), Duvivier's Un long voyage (2020).

French, fantasy, Jaworski, Niogret, Pevel, Duvivier, heroics, hero, heroine, divergence, standard, Tolkien