The central term of our approach is that of "myth", a concept with a great expansive energy, always examined and re-examined, having a relative and variable operability due to its many definitions and typologies. Because we do not care about the context of the belief in which a myth was created, the social, practical, moral organization or habits that represent the corollary of myths, we will neglect the ethno-religious extension of the myth, the vision that ethnologists have on this notion or its anthropological acceptance. Giving priority to the binomial myth - literature we will take the phrase "literary myth" whose meanings were theoretically approximated by Philippe Sellier and which was approved by Pierre Brunel in the Dictionary of Literary Myths - where it is, in fact, transformed into a methodological tool.
In an article published in 1984 and entitled "What is a literary myth?" Philippe Sellier notes the conceptual deficit of the literary myth determined by the fact that it is designated by the same noun used in the case of ethno-religious myth . Starting from the more stable definition of the latter (founding myth, anonymous, collective, revealing, with a hierophanic, etiological function, considered true, based on a logic of the imaginary that produces in the analysis a series of strong structural oppositions, etc. ), the researcher identifies the disappearance of certain features and the preservation of others in the transition from myth to literary myth. Literary myth does not found, does not establish, does not establish a reality; the works that illustrate it are included and are not considered "true". The common features would still be the symbolic saturation, the very close structural narrative organization, the metaphysical openings. The most important contribution that Philippe Sellier makes is to include in the corpus of literary myths ethno-religious myths that survive in literature (ethnological myths; biblical myths - some comparable to those seen in various traditions, cultures, religions, the myth of paradise lost, the myth of the apocalypse; others coming from episodes or fragments that received the status of myth thanks to their rich symbolism, the myth of Cain; prestigious ancient myths, etc.) as well as everything that literature has turned into myth.
We will not discuss, therefore, the myth as an ethnoreligious, universal phenomenon existing in all civilizations, epochs, but, authorized by this theory, we will analyze it only in the field of literature as a hypotext - considering the hypothesis that mythical stories reach an author on a chain livresca, after undergoing essential transformations, operated by writers, commentators -, but also as a product of the inventiveness and virtuosity that some authors show.
The post-war novel is not a uniform, monolithic reality. Through myth, literature diversified, became permeable to new influences, the allegorical, analogical spirit developed. Myth has been used as a textual strategy, as a vehicle for a moral code (hence the need for contextualization in the case of certain writers), but also as a means by which they have moved away from the ideological. The reading of reality through the lens of myth was privileged in the postwar period, it responds to ethical impulses, the temptation to disguise or evade, and acquisitions in the space of mitocriticism and the change of the (political) associative framework recommend that I did not intend a total or exhaustive description of the mythical elements), of their manifest or latent content.