Pourquoi le changement codique a une force créatrice L’exemple des plans littéraires bilingues d’Alexandre Pouchkine

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Julia Holter


This essay proposes an example of literary code-switching from the modern period. The plans for three unfinished texts of Alexander Pushkin, “The Guests Were Arriving at the Dacha” (1828), “The Russian Pelham” (1834–1835), and “In the Waters of the Caucasus” (1831), abound with alternations between Russian and French, with some use of English and other languages. The current scholarly  consensus  is  that  Pushkin used the French language for planning, relying on its analytical features, and the Russian language, expressive but in need for renewal, as a language of textualization. The three fragments may represent a rare opportunity to see Pushkin’s bilingual creativity in action. I use Youri Lotman’s vision of code-switching as “auto-communication” on different channels (linguistic or not) to show how the ideas bouncing off the linguistic units belonging to different languages, but also sparking thanks to the mnemonic function of drawings, establish a current, a productive creative tension.


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