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Document Details :
Title: De vie romancée als vorm van Middlebrow-literatuur
Subtitle: De opkomst van een subgenre
Author(s): FOBELETS, Glen , VANDEVOORDE, Hans
Journal: Spiegel der Letteren
Volume: 54 Issue: 3 Date: 2012
In this article, we posit that the so-called ‘vie romancée’ should not be seen as a form of biographical writing in the first place, but as a form of the historical novel, although in theory it has always been considered as a renewal of the biography up till now. By looking at the vie romancée as a form of renewal of the historical novel we are, however, able to do justice to the novelistic characteristics of the genre and this makes it easier to classify this form of literature as a middlebrow subgenre that flourished in modernism. The objective of our article is to explain the popularity of the genre among a middlebrow audience, i.e. a broader group of readers that on the one hand enjoys a certain amount of education, but on the other hand is not initiated into the typical highbrow forms of literature. In the Netherlands and Flanders, this popularity was stimulated by a group of authors and intermediaries that formed and passed on the genre. They partly met the expectations of their reading public, which explains a number of prototypical characteristics of the genre (e.g. the frequent and unexpected use of free indirect speech, which enhances the liveliness and originates from highbrow literature). In addition to this, other (extra-)literary and historiographical factors have played a role in the rise of the genre, like the popularity abroad and the need for human heroes. All of this is based on a changed attitude towards history.