Le texte à rire : technique du secret et art de l'illusion chez Alphonse Allais
The work of the famous French humorist Alphonse Allais (1854-1905), who wrote mainly short stories and press columns, presents a good subject for literary scholars and semioticians. This study looks at the most characteristic texts of Allais as complex and clever devices specially set up to achieve a humorous effect. Two strategies seem to be particularly important to this end: on the one hand, the sharing and the spreading of information among the protagonists of the text (author, readers, characters); on the other hand, the game of appearances - (trans)forming, (mis)interpreting, discovering and concealing them – in which the protagonists are engaged. One often finds these strategies in humorous texts and in fictional discourse in general, but it is the way Allais develops and combines them for the purpose of (de)mystification that makes his writing so particular, efficient and instructive. After a precise analysis of how and why this "negotiation of knowledge" and this "manipulation of reality" are undertaken within his work, the conclusion considers the semiotic, ideological and esthetic importance of such a discourse which in principle should not have any other purpose than to incite to laughter. ...
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