“There is the quarry.” Theoretical and practical obstacles for the historian as writer

Literary incursions
By Sylvain Pattieu

In this paper, I look back on how I became an historian and a novelist, distinguishing between the practices and final goals of both activities. My novels do not entail presenting results to the scholarly community based on shared processes; instead, they belong to contemporary French literature. They are part of a very specific publishing and artistic sector that enjoys a degree of autonomy, has its own history, is not made up of rules as clearly defined as the history discipline in academia, but nevertheless has a certain organisation and hierarchy. My novel-writing activity is therefore an artistic effort that is guided by, but cannot be reduced to, my occupation as an historian, amongst other things. It also has an economic and historical context that is very different from that of the academic field of history.

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