Literature has a history that is bound up with the constant redefinition of its role and its generic categories. The récit, always on the margins of canonical genres such as the novel, for example, today extends over a vaster territory than ever, and its unequivocal emergence in Quebec since 1980 enables a broader interrogation of the concerns of contemporary literature. Until now, the work of our research group, attached to the Centre de recherche en littérature québécoise (CRELIQ), has allowed us to bring into relief the signs of the récit's expansion as a practice, notably the increasing rhythm of its production and the wide range of publishing houses that are involved with it. We have also been able to begin describing the characteristics, and sketching a poetics, of the récit [for a more detailed account, readers may wish to consult Voix et Images 69 (printemps 1998), "Le récit littéraire des années quatre-vingt et quatre-vingt-dix."].
The articles that follow offer a less panoramic view of the récit. Through a series of case studies, they allow for an appreciation of the contours of the genre. Indeed, it is striking to note the extent to which the same questions recur at the heart of the récit. From its very first appearance between autobiography and fiction, precisely what space has the récit occupied? Traversed by an existential quest, does the récit enable identity to be given form? Is the récit more on the side of that which can be told or of that which cannot? Is the récit, because it is concerned with la mise en écriture, fundamentally bound to problematize its relation to language? The hybridity of the récit reminds us of the current fascination in literature for mixed genres. Its emergence reminds us, moreover, of the degree to which cultural discourse in its entirety is traversed by la mise en récit and the writing of memory (see Micheline Cambron, Une société. Un récit. Discours culturel au Québec [1967-1976]. Montréal: l'Hexagone, 1989.)