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Le Rat du Châtelet

Abstract : Le Rat du Châtelet, a small duodecimo volume published anonymously in 1790, is a novel, a report and a political statement on prisons ; it shows us how the political and the social are integrated into the literary, and how reality is described and recomposed through textual traditions, in particular the picaresque tale and parodies of noble genres. The work also provides a social portrait of criminality by 'quoting' dialogues in argot, the secret language of thieves and murderers, which here appears for the first time as the language of criminels in prison, in a context which is both realistic and dramatic and very different from the burlesque, 'comic' (in Scarron's sense) writing of the stories of beggars in early 17th-century popular literature, which was still widely sold. This work, half-way between a raw document and a literary reworking, prefigures the great 19th-century works in argot.
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Claudine Nédelec. Le Rat du Châtelet. Dix-Huitième Siècle, Société Française d'Étude du Dix-Huitième Siècle (SFEDS) Diffusé par La Découverte, 1996, L'Orient, n° 28, pp. 267-276. ⟨10.3406/dhs.1996.2112⟩. ⟨hal-03254116⟩



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