Entering the literary pantheon : consecration of contemporary poets in France
More than other images, the standard image of the poet is that of an exceptional creator whose degree of fame is commensurable with his/her genious, a quality that can only be explained by a kind of singularity that sociological analysis does not have access to. This article identifies two distinct moments –recognition and renown – in the social construction of consecration, showing that fame is obtained at the end of a long itinerary that encompasses several mandatory processes or developments. A path leading to consecration as a poet exists – a path here identified by means of statistical regularities. Fame develops within the art world structures the creator is active in, and the example of poetry resituates artistic ability and skill at the heart of sociological analysis, together with poets’ esthetic choices, which they make very early on. This social construction of fame applies to all actors involved in producing a highly legitimate good that over the long term guarantees its best representatives both long-lasting renown and economic profits.