Wordplay with Names and Onomaturgic Constructions in L’enfant léopard (1999) by Daniel Picouly

Giorgio Sale


The aim of the research is to verify in what way the onomastic devices found in the French novel L’enfant leopard [The Leopard Boy] (1999) by Daniel Picouly determine a potentially plural reception of the text referring to one’s historical, fictional, and rhetorical competence. Devoted primarily to the literary onomastics, the analysis focuses on identifying various contexts reused by the author of the novel and from which he draws the names of the characters and places of his fictional universe. Proper names can be understood as historical references which fulfil the function of authenticating the story, serve as referential anchoring of the narrative, and include intertextual references only a reader of deep literary awareness can grasp. And finally, proper names can be understood as imaginary onomaturgic constructions devised by the author, who employs linguistic and rhetorical strategies to achieve the ludic character of the text. The study reveals the story-building process and by following the onomastic traces, it captures the very method of literary creation adopted by the author.


onomastics; the French novel; L’enfant leopard [The Leopard Boy]; rhetorical strategies

Full Text:



Barthes, Roland. (1972). Proust et les noms. In: Barthes, Roland, Le degré zéro de l’écriture suivi de Nouveaux essais critiques (pp. 121–134). Paris: Éditions du Seuil.

Béglé, Jérôme. (1999). Picouly se la joue aristo. Paris Match, pp. 4–5.

Dauzat, Albert. (1980). Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de famille et prénoms de France (ed. revised and augmented by Marie-Thérèse Morlet). Paris: Larousse [1st ed. 1951].

Garane, Jeanne. (2014). Playing with the Past: How and Why Daniel Picouly Rewrites Chester Himes. In: Dominic Thomas (ed.), Afroeuropean Cartographies (pp. 82–96). Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


Himes, Chester. (1958). For Love of Imabelle. Greenwich, CN: Fawcett. [French trans. by Minnie Danzas, La Reine des pommes. In: Himes, Chester. (2007). Cercueil et fossoyeur : le cycle de Harlem. Paris: Gallimard.]

Himes, Chester. (1959). The Crazy Kill. New York: Avon.

Himes, Chester. (1960). All Shot Up. London: Panther. [French trans. by Jeanne Fillion, Imbroglio negro. In: Himes, Chester. (2007). Cercueil et fossoyeur : le cycle de Harlem. Paris: Gallimard.]

Himes, Chester. (1960). The Big Gold Dream. New York: Avon.

Himes, Chester. (1965). Cotton Comes to Harlem. New York: Putnam.

Himes, Chester. (1966). The Heat’s On. New York: Putnam.

Himes, Chester. (1969). Blind Man with a Pistol. New York: W. Morrow.

Picouly, Daniel. (1999). L’enfant léopard. Paris: Grasset.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17951/ff.2019.37.2.179-190
Data publikacji: 2019-12-31 19:00:46
Data złożenia artykułu: 2019-02-02 20:01:04


Total abstract view - 660
Downloads (from 2020-06-17) - PDF - 431



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.