La lecture à voix haute : nouvelle mode ou véritable renaissance ?

Pas vraiment une nouvelle mode… puisque la lecture à voix haute remonte à l’antiquité! A l’époque, lire à voix haute permettait de déchiffrer et de comprendre un texte.  Aujourd’hui, c’est devenu un art à part entière.  La lecture à voix haute est ainsi passée de nécessité à une pratique artistique.

Un peu d’histoire

En effet, la lecture  s’oralisait avant d’être silencieuse. Cette pratique remonte à l’antiquité. Alberto Manguel, dans « une histoire de la lecture » nous relate que Cicéron et St Augustin  lisaient  les textes à voix haute afin de bien les déchiffrer. A cette époque, au cours du 1er siècle, l’écriture, devenue courante, mais attachaient les mots. Aucune séparation n’existait entre les mots. Comprendre le texte passait obligatoirement par l’aide de la parole. L’accès au sens se faisait principalement par l’oreille et non par les yeux!

A titre d’exemple, je vous laisse le soin de lire les phrases suivantes :

Dutombeauquandtuveuxtusaisnousrappelertufrappesetguéristuperdsetressuscitesilsnesassurentpointsur leurspropresmeritesmaisentonnomsureuxinvoquetantdefoisentessermentsjuresauplussaintdeleursroisencetempleoùtufaistademeuresacreeetquidoitdusoleilegarerladuree

Pas facile, n’est-ce pas?

La séparation des mots (par des blancs) et un système de ponctuation commencent à apparaître vers le IV° et V° siècle. Ce qui permet à la lecture silencieuse de se développer à partir du VI° siècle, notamment dans les monastères.

Une pratique dans tous les milieux sociaux

La lecture à voix haute, quant à elle, ne disparaît pas pour autant. Elle continue d’exister, principalement  dans les cours et les milieux bourgeois. C’est une pratique de gens lettrés. La lecture à voix haute devient alors une lecture partagée, collective et très festive.  Très utilisée au XII° siècle, elle se pratique encore vers la fin du XIX° par la lecture de roman feuilleton principalement. Les gens, particulièrement les ouvriers, aiment les écouter. La fin du XVIII° connaît, quant à elle, une fureur de lire, de romans en particulier. La lecture devient donc plus affective, plus imaginative. Et, ce, d’autant plus que l’image est de plus en plus présente dans les livres de cette époque.

Charles Dickens , Leccteur à voix haute
Charles Dickens Lecteur à voix haute

Au cours du XX° siècle, la lecture à voix haute ne se pratiquait guère qu’en milieu scolaire. C’est un moyen de contrôle du savoir, dans la prise de connaissance de mots. Si cette lecture, très scolaire, facilite le déchiffrement, en revanche, elle n’aide en aucune manière l’accès au sens. En conséquence, lire à voix haute s’apparente assez vite à un retard scolaire. Du coup, la lecture à voix haute tombe en désuétude, pour ne pas dire en disgrâce,  dans tous les milieux, y compris ouvriers. Alphabétisation et acculturation par l’écrit, par l’école et hors l’école ont eu raison de cette pratique festive et collective.

Renaissance

Mais aujourd’hui, la lecture à voix haute n’est plus l’apanage de l’apprentissage  à l’école. Devenue expression artistique, elle s’enseigne comme un art à part entière, avec ses propres techniques, ses spécificités. Véritable exercice de diction et de respiration.  Considérée comme un art mineur il n’y a pas si longtemps, elle gagne peu à peu ses titres de noblesse au même titre que les autres formes d’art.

Aujourd’hui, nous voyons bien souvent des comédiens ou personnalités reconnues s’adonner à la lecture à voix haute en public. Bon nombre de soirées, rencontres, festivals naissent chaque année autour de la lecture à voix haute un peu partout en France. Salons du livre et concours du meilleur lecteur à voix haute existent à l’instar des autres disciplines. Mais, nous sommes encore loin de ce qui se pratique dans les pays étrangers. Pays dans lesquels la lecture publique s’ouvre plus largement. La lecture audio se développe et contribue à faire connaître la lecture à voix haute. Quelques associations participent à cette reconnaissance. En revanche, elles sont encore trop souvent liées, à tort, au monde de l’enfance, de la maladie ou du handicap.

Beaucoup reste encore à faire pour permettre à la lecture à voix haute de prendre la place qu’elle mérite dans l’espace culturel . Elle s’adresse à tous ceux qui ont envie de partager ce moment ensemble.

A mon sens, la vraie renaissance de la lecture à voix haute réside et résidera dans son adaptation à nos pratiques culturelles d’aujourd’hui. Et vous qu’en pensez-vous? https://www.facebook.com/LeSonLitteraire/

PS: (texte de Racine cité plus haut :

Du tombeau quand tu veux, tu sais nous rappeler,

Tu frappes et guéris, tu perds et ressuscites.

Ils ne s’assurent point sur leurs propres mérites,

Mais en ton nom sur eux invoqué tant de fois,

En tes serments jurés au plus saint de leurs rois,

En ce temple où tu fais ta demeure sacrée

Et qui doit du soleil égarer la durée. )

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