Explication de Texte

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Explication de Texte is a French formalist method of literary analysis that allows for limited reader response, similar to close reading in the English-speaking literary tradition. The method involves a detailed yet relatively objective examination of structure, style, imagery, and other aspects of a work.[1] It was particularly advocated by Gustave Lanson.

It is primarily a pedagogical tool, similar to a formal book report.

A simple format for writing an Explication de Texte is this:

  1. A brief summary of the literal, not the figurative, content;
  2. A description of the text's type and structure (e.g. Was it a sonnet? What kind?) and its tone;
  3. The poetic devices used in the text (e.g. personification)
  4. Conclusion

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aldridge, Alfred Owen; Meriwether, James B.; Fleishmann, Wolfgang Bernard (1963). "Symposium on "Explication de texte"". Books Abroad. 37 (3): 261–270. doi:10.2307/40117866. ISSN 0006-7431.