What is the meaning of this nice expression, "littérature touchante", I came across it in a book by Jean-Luc Nancy.


Quoting the full sentence:

Je n'essaierai même pas de protester que je ne fais pas l'éloge d'une douteuse «litterature touchante». Car je sais distinguer l'écriture de l'eau de roses; mais je ne sache pas d'écriture qui ne touche pas. Ou bien, ce n'est pas de l'ecriture, c'est du rapport, de l' expose, comme on voudra dire. écrire touche au corps, par essence.

  • 4
    What is the whole sentence please?
    – Charly
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 9:59
  • 2
    What do you want to know? And can you give more context (like a sentence)? Anyway it is not an idiomatic expression, rather an invention of the author.
    – Distic
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 9:59
  • Basic dictionary word: "touching, moving" (as in affecting the emotions). SO it's just, y'know, sentimental literature.
    – Circeus
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


The text is arguing about this expression. Put in a more straightforward way, it basically means:

Je reconnais que je fais l'éloge d'une "littérature touchante", non parce que je ne saurais pas faire la différence entre la littérature et la romance à l'eau-de-rose, mais parce que toute écriture touche, au contraire d'un rapport, ou d'un exposé. Par essence, écrire touche au corps.

So in this text, in some way "littérature touchante" does mean "sentimental literature", but in some more fundamental way it does not. My interpretation is as follows:

Some may say I am defending a "littérature touchante", and they are right, but not in the sense they believe. They believe I am defending sentimental literature, while I am saying literature (as opposed to reports) is always touching people in their bodies, which is far from implying I can't make the difference between sentimental literature and the true literature.

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