L’importation de la littérature française : un triple détournement de capital. Réflexions à partir d’une étude de réception journalistique en Suède


  • Mickaëlle Cedergren University of Stockholm
  • Ylva Lindberg Jönköping University




French literature, reception, circulation of literature, transfer, transnational, consecration


The background material of the study consists of articles about French literature gathered between 2010 and 2014 in the Swedish press. The aim of the article is to isolate the most widely discussed French literature from France in the Swedish press during the period, in order to explore why the transfer of this literature persists over time, how it is perceived, and which type of mediators bring about this transmission. The study raises questions about the image of French literature in Swedish media, Sweden’s impact on the transnational circulation of literature, and the use of French literature to place Sweden on the literary map.

The results of the reception study show that French literature is presented as both aesthetically disruptive with innovative features and as a normative and traditional model. It incarnates an image of tradition as well as of modernity. French literature from France is principally mediated by orthodox journalists with a consistent symbolic capital, and the posture of these journalists is analyzed through Sapiro’s model, inspired by Bourdieu. The orthodox journalists manage to redirect the symbolic capital inherent to consecrated French literature at three levels: national, personal, and transnational. Firstly, the importation of French literature increases Swedish literature’s symbolic capital. Secondly, this transfer allows for an auto-consecration of the orthodox journalists themselves. Thirdly, this use of highly valued imported literature engenders a supplementary consecration (surconsecration) of a national literature and its dominating language. In conclusion, these observed bilateral literary exchanges show the often overlooked importance of peripheral countries in transnational literary transmission. The results modify Casanova’s (2002) model, since they display the impact on the market from the margins. The transfer of central national literatures in dominating languages towards peripheral countries allows for dominated languages and minor national literatures to take an active part in the construction and reconstruction of the relations on the global literary map.


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How to Cite

Cedergren, M., & Lindberg, Y. (2016). L’importation de la littérature française : un triple détournement de capital. Réflexions à partir d’une étude de réception journalistique en Suède. Moderna Språk, 110(3), 108–131. https://doi.org/10.58221/mosp.v110i3.7828