Abstract: The transfer of the notion of cliché into the literary field, at the end of the 19th century, has retained a complex conceptual support. In order to describe the effects of stereotypy in literature, Remy de Gourmont has combined two resources: first a practice of quotation, borrowed from the old tradition of admiration for the classical values; then a linguistics of the usage, one of a “democratic” nature, interested in the experience of the speakers as an essential factor of the distortion of the facts of language. It is especially this last component that has an equivocal status. The cliché could not be homologated in literature unless regarded as a distortion of a certain work by means of collective usage: therefore its description has implied a physics of contact, the qualification of a sensible experience and the involvement, from this perspective, of a phenomenology of the presence. And it is exactly such a consequence that directly contradicted the criticism of the cliché as an “absence”: alteration of perception and blindness regarding the world. The article follows both the contradicting genesis of the literary cliché and the counter°project distribution of the values of “presence”.
Keywords: expérience du cliché, simplicité sensible, Remy de Gourmont, pratique de la citation, usage linguistique