Cockney, pseudo-slang et argot de série noire : San-Antonio et le moment Peter Cheyney du roman noir français

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

446 Downloads (Pure)


This article examines how in post-war France slang became a byword for the noir genre. It considers the mechanisms, models, networks and translators' practices which set the tone for the "Série Noire”, whose influence, both written and on the screen, had, within a decade, become, a "mythology" studied by Roland Barthes. It argues that this use of slang is redolent of the inauthenticity which characterises this stage in the reception of the Noir genre in France. It is certain that this artificial French slang is far from devoid of charm, or even mystery. But it tends to depreciate and deform the translated works and seems to be the hallmark of an era that might have defined and acclimatised Noir fiction in France, yet remains one which has not fully understood the gravity of its purpose. While such translations seem outdated nowadays (if not quite incomprehensible ), original works written at the time in French by writers inspired by the model of " pseudo- slang" and the fashionability of American popular culture have benefited from them. In this very inauthenticity, derivative novels have found a licence for invention and freedom, with authors such as Cocteau hailing it as a revival of the French written language. We see here how the adventures of Commissaire San Antonio, by Frédéric Dard constitute the best examples of this new creativity in French and draw upon a template set for the reception of American literature
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)129-150
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Slang
  • Translation
  • Noir
  • Crime Fiction
  • Argot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this