What is San-Antonio all about ?


(Click to enlarge)

Does the  word cloud above  provide an answer to the question asked in the title of this post ? And is that of any use to anyone?  The cloud  is based on the titles from the 175 novels published in the crime series “The investigations of Commissaire San-Antonio”. Does is tell us something we did not know about San-Antonio ? And if we don’t know who San-Antonio is, or haven’t read his books does it help us forming a first impression? Does it allow us to find a way through his work?  But maybe what we are being told here is not so much something about San-Antonio, but  about distant reading. How do you go about with the material which raw (or refined) data gives you? How do you start building a narrative, and research questions around it?

It is for readers to judge if such simple (or more complex) visualisation  can give a fair representation of San-Antonio. Not, of course, of the content of San-Antonio’s novels, as the titles are famously disconnected from the plot. But of the signifiers used by the series to connect with the public.

The San-Antonio conference taking place in Belfast this week end will help to discuss his work at length and renew our understanding of this huge body of work, read by millions.


San-Antonio International : Representations, circulation, translation, exchanges 

Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities, Queen’s University Belfast, 15 & 16 May, 2015




9:15 am Northern Ireland War Memorial 21 Talbot Street, Belfast, BT1 2LD (www.niwarmemorial.org) 028 9032 0392 Arrival, Registration and Coffee

Welcome by Ciaran Elizabeth Doran, Curator Manager, NIWM and Claire Moran, Head of French Studies, QUB

Introduction – Dominique Jeannerod & Federico Pagello, ICRH, QUB

10:00 – 11:00   SESSION 1      Northern Ireland War Memorial,

Keynote address : François Rivière, (Paris) ” Agatha Christie, la Marie Bizarre de Frédéric Dard”

11:00 – 11:15   TEA/COFFEE

11:15 – 12:45  Panel 1: San-Antonio and the Legacy of World War II in French Popular Culture

Chair: Loïc Artiaga

  1. Margaret Atack (University of Leeds), “Writing the nation as inter-nation: the Occupation novels 1946-1951”
  2. Peter Tame (QUB) ‘Images of the enemy in the novel ‘Le Sang est plus épais que l’eau’ and the play ‘Les Six hommes en question’»”
  3. Manuel Bragança (QUB) « San-Antonio, Hitler et ses doubles »

13:00 – 14:00  LUNCH – The Dirty Onion, Traditional Public House, 3 Hill Street (028 9024 3712)

14:30 – 16:00   SESSION 2      Public Record Office Northern Ireland, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Titanic Quarter

(028 9053 4800)

Panel 2: San-Antonio and the imagination of the others Chair :Thierry Gautier

1)         Françoise Rullier (Université de la Sorbonne, Abu Dhabi) « San-Antonio et l’étranger »

2)         Serge Amoré & Maxime Gillio (Amis de San-Antonio) « San-Antonio & les boches »

3)         Stéphanie Fonvielle (Aix-Marseille University), « Pensées sur les gens de chez nous et d’ailleurs : San -Antonio moraliste?”

16:00 – 16:15   TEA/COFFEE

16:15 – 17:45  Panel 3 « Français, mais international »: France & the rest of the world in San-Antonio

Chair : Natacha Levet

1)         Bernard Wagnon (CUEFA/INP Grenoble), “San-Antonio, hilare franchouillard ?”

2)         Jean-Philippe Gury (Université de Bretagne occidentale) : « Béru : un exotisme breton ?»

3)         Loïc Artiaga (Université de Limoges), « Un roman national. L’Histoire de France vue par San- Antonio »

Visit of the Titanic Quarters and stroll to the Restaurant

19:30   DINNER – 21 Social, 1 Hill Street, (028 9024 1415)


9:30 – 11:00    SESSION 3       Queen’s University, Belfast, Lanyon Building, Old Staff Common Room

Panel 4: Sexy Foodies: San-Antonio and the international construction of Frenchness

Chair: Stéphanie Fonvielle

1)         Hugues Galli (Université de Dijon) & Gérard Reymond (Amis de San-Antonio) « San-Antonio sur un plateau : opéra-bouffe pour Bérurier »

2)         Louis Bousquet (University of Hawaii in Manoa) « Ainsi Parlait Kamasutra : Le discours amoureux international chez San-Antonio »

11:00 – 11:30   TEA/COFFEE

11:30 – 13:00  Panel 5: (The anxiety of) American and English Influences

Chair: François Rivière

1)         Benoît Tadié (Université de Rennes) « Fils de (James M.) Cain : Frédéric Dard et la névrose du polar américain »

2)         Dominique Lagorgette (Université de Savoie) « San-Antonio à l’anglaise»

3)         Daniel Magennis (QUB) “Come for the Troubles, stay for the thrills…San-Antonio and

S.A.S in Ireland”

13:00 – 14:00  LUNCH – Café Krem

14:00 – 15:00  SESSION 4       Queen’s University, Belfast, Lanyon Building, Old Staff Common Room Panel 6: International Reception and Translation

Chair: Dominique Lagorgette

1)         Andrea Hynynen (University Turku) « Frédéric Dard in Finland »

2)         Markus Schleich (Saarland University) “The Man Who Wasn’t There –“Krimiland” Germany and the Disappearance of Frédéric Dard”.

15.00 – 15.30             TEA/COFFEE

15.30 – 16:30   Panel 7 – International Travels

Chair: Hugues Galli

1)         Dominique Jeannerod & Federico Pagello (ICRH, QUB) : « Cartographies des voyages fictionnels de San-Antonio »

2)         Thierry Gautier (INRIA) : « Les pays imaginaires de San-Antonio»

19.30 – 20:30   ‘Wine & Nibbles’ Reception, Hosted by Professor John Thompson, Director of the Institute of Collaborative Research in the Humanities at Queen’s University

(ICRH, 18, University Square, Common Room)

21.00   DINNER: The Barking Dog Restaurant, 33-35 Malone Road, 028 9066 1885

For more information:


Contact: d.jeannerod@qub.ac.uk


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