For citation:

Chekalov K.A. The Je Sais Tout Magazine and the Features of Belle Epoque Mass Reading (A New Book by Daniel Couégnas).Studia Litterarum, 2020, vol. 5, no 1, pp.370–379. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2020-5-1-370-379

Author: Kirill A. Chekalov
Information about the author:

Kirill A. Chekalov, DSc in Philology, Chief Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-9050-0636

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: June 10, 2019
Published: March 25, 2020
Issue: 2020 Vol. 5, №1
Department: Reviews
Pages: 370-379

UDK: 821.133.1
BBK: 83.3(4Фр)
Keywords: magazine, narration, mass literature, detective story, speculative fiction, novel, short story, reader, horror.


A new book by a famous French mass literature expert Daniel Couégnas focuses on one of the brightest belle époque periodicals, the Je sais tout magazine. The author limits his study to a certain period of the magazine’s life, from its first issue in 1905 to 1914, leaving out World War I and the later years. The article compares and analyzes literary, publicistic, and popular texts published in this magazine, leading the author to a conlusion that those texts appear isomorphic. Methodologically, Couégnas relies on the conclusion method of Сharles Grivel, a literary critic who first turned to the study of the phenomenon of the fascinating nature of fascinating phenomenon of the nature of popular reading on the one hand. On the other hand, he employs the concept of “homogenic syncretism” of periodicals, proposed by Edgar Morin, a sociologist. The author mostly focuses on the prose of Maurice Leblanc (Arsene Lupin short stories) and Gaston Leroux (Le Fauteuil hanté novel), while also paying attention to the typology of the fictional heroes (a “mad professor,” an “honourable scholar,” a criminal, a man of fashion). Using his “African impressions” (prose and documentary essays) Couégnas analyzes how the magazine approaches the problem of foreign cultural space. Couégnas thinks that the “encyclopedism” declared as the key strategy of the magazine by its editor Pierre Lafitte, was mostly lost after 1914.


1 Couégnas D. Fiction et culture médiatique à la Belle Époque dans le magazine “Je sais tout” (1905–1914). Limoges, Pulim, 2018. 237 p. (In French)
2 Van Herp J. “Je sais tout”, le roi des magazines. Bruxelles, Éditions Recto-Verso, 1986. 168 p. (In French)