Visualising generic changes: San-Antonio in the Special Police and San-Antonio Series

SP

 San-Antonio in the Spécial Police Series (1950-1972, 79 titles)

(Click to enlarge)

SA1

San-Antonio Series (1972-1999, 96 Titles)

(Click to enlarge)

The San-Antonio series’ longevity is exceptional. Despite frequent promises made to his readers that he has not changed, that he is still the same character, San-Antonio has evolved since his early 1950s origins at the beginning of the famous Fleuve Noir series Spécial Police. In 1972 San-Antonio leaves this series, in which he was the star author, to launch his own San-Antonio series with the same publisher. Comparing the titles of the books for the different periods is enlightening. Based on the titles of San-Antonio’s books published in each series, the respective lexical fields represented by both word clouds above show a substantial evolution. The reading pact seems to have changed over five decades. The crime series from the beginning has evolved into a sleaze series. Certainly, crime and sleaze are two important elements, and subgenres at the beginning of hardboiled paperbacks, and naturally enough San-Antonio seeks to capitalize on them both from the start. But the words used in the titles, i.e. to advertise the novels leave no doubt about the change in emphasis which occurs in the 1970s. The change of series has coincided with a rebranding of the now old fashioned noir author of its origins. The emphasis has shifted squarely from crime to sex.

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