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Anne-Claude Ambroise-Rendu

L’affaire Troppmann et la tentation de la fiction

Le Temps des médias n°14, Printemps 2010, p. 47-61.

Notable for being instrumental in the rise of the Petit Journal as one of the most commercially successful newspaper of the 19th century, the 1869 coverage of the Troppmann killings also offered a quite unique opportunity for the fictionalization of real events. Front page columnist Thomas Grimm penned a fictionalization which, under the auspices of Victor Hugo, mixes elements of the most outlandish of dreams, quasi magical visions, and traits of factual news writing. While it appears to aim at closing a gap opened by the too-long wait between the sentencing and the execution of the convict, this writing experiment is also grounded in a didactic and moral agenda. And yet it stops as the story ends - in the 1880s, the Petit Journal adopts a strictly factual writing style. DrapeauFrancais

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