Les dossiers de Bouvard et Pécuchet (Flaubert)

General description: The aim was to use the online publication of the preparatory documents left by the author to explore possible endings for this unfinished novel.

The BOUVARD project made it possible to publish a fragile and complex patrimonial set (combining manuscripts, printed and mixed materials) of high scientific and cultural significance on a dedicated website. This set is comprised of the documentation files that Flaubert gathered to write his last novel. These 2400 sheets are now kept at the Rouen library in the form of eight collections of various documents and two additional collections dedicated to the Dictionnaire des idées reçues. The online availability (through images and transcriptions) of a corpus that used to be very hard to access is accompanied by noteworthy scientific enrichments (search engine, metadata, annotations, and libraries). Its main asset is an original computing device producing configurable arrangements of quotations extracted from the published documents. Among other arrangements, web users can produce hypothetical reconstructions of Bouvard et Pécuchet’s second volume. Flaubert had partially planned this volume and started to gather material, but death prevented him from completing the work.

Thanks to the full XML-TEI encoding of the corpus, the site offers both a multi-format online edition and a tool producing arrangements of quotations. The corpus has been transcribed by the scientific project team and then encoded in XML-TEI, a free and open computer language that seeks to describe the logical structure of documents and to identify there different components. Thanks to this choice, the edition site offers several ways of visualizing each document from a single digital file. The site also offers a technical solution for the other part of the project geared toward the hypothetical reconstructions of the second volume of Bouvard et Pécuchet: it allowed to cut virtually the corpus into autonomous text fragments (according to the logic that Flaubert had already partially implemented when he began to write his "critical and farcical encyclopedia"), while ensuring that each fragment is connected both to the image area which it transcribes, and to the different textual units to which it belongs, such as the page where the fragment appears. Stored in a relational database, fragments can be gathered and organized according to various research hypotheses. The resulting arrangements of quotations (possible second volumes) may be exported in XML or PDF.

Related resources: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/ANR-07-CORP-009/


Stéphanie Dord-Crouslé
École Normale Supérieure de Lyon - Site Descartes
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Telephone: +33 4 37 37 62 51
Email: Stephanie.DordCrousle@ens-lyon.fr

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