Commune de Laxou

French popular literature

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What is the French popular literature ?

The BERP (Bibliothèque Européenne du Roman Populaire, i.e. European Library of Popular Novels) Actually, it is a literary movement, from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, which was cursed for a long time, both by aesthetes and intellectuals, just because it was aimed at the masses. Stories spoken there were, for the main part, crime, adventures, love, or science fiction stories. Those tales took on the form of novels, serials to be followed in newspapers, or collections published in parts. Authors like Eugène Sue and Pal Féval were representative of this movement.

The BERP (Bibliothèque Européenne du Roman Populaire, i.e. European Library of Popular Novels) strives toward a double objective : it wants to watch over a consequent part of French cultural heritage, and to make it available to researchers.

Moreover, it was named that way for two reasons : it stores French popular novels published in the entire Europe, just as it aims to be known from researchers from all continent, even from all over the world. Its content is unique, both by its scope and by the nature of the documents stored there. These books can not be found elsewhere : even the BnF (Bibliothèque nationale Française, i.e. the French national library) does not provide such a collection.

Its history began in 1982, when René Guise, then a teacher at the University of Literature in Nancy, created the CRRP (Centre de Recherche sur le Roman Populaire, i.e. Research Center on Popular Novels). He wanted then to increase the standing of this section of literature.

In 1984, he founded the AARP (Association des Amis du Roman Populaire, i.e. the Popular Novels' Friends' Association), gathering amateurs and researchers convinced of the patrimonial interest of popular novels. The members began then to set up a collection of popular novels.

This collection became the BERP in 1990, when the mayor of the city of Laxou allowed the AARP to move in the new library's basement.

Nowadays, the BERP has a total of more than 18,000 books, and its collection grows, thanks
to gifts from private individuals. Nevertheless, only a part of it is catalogued, because this
work is mainly realized by trainee students in library sciences, from the neighbouring
polytechnic institute.

The BERP is meant for enlightened amateurs and researchers whose studying field deals with
French popular literature from the 19th and the 20th centuries.

The collection is open on appointment. The consultation is allowed only there, when the library is open.