The Immobile Voyage: Textual Movements in Contemporary French-Language Poetry


This dissertation studies global movements that occur structurally, thematically, syntactically, and semantically in postwar poetry through reading poets Jacqueline Risset (France), Anne Teyssiéras (France), Edouard Glissant (Martinique), and Gaston Miron (Quebec). Analyzing the functions and effects of movement in poetic language and the nexus of writer, text and reader within which these effects operate, I examine the ways in which poetic idiolects translate poetic and theoretic tradition and trace how the cumulative effect of textual movements is to ultimately direct readers toward particular ways of perceiving and questioning existence. When writers who have already been marginalized by dint of gender, racial, or linguistic identity choose to shape their creations in the oblique medium of poetry, it behooves us as readers to consider the connections among subjectivity, communication, and community and how these affect not only our standards of aesthetic pleasure and of meaningfulness, but alter the ways in which we come to understand ourselves and others. Movement is central to poetry as rhythm, and is central to human perception insofar as we tend to think in spatial and orientational metaphors that convey affective content experienced at a subconscious level. Textual movement acts in a similar way, making itself felt and thus communicating crucial information about the text, the writer and the writer's horizon. Risset's circularity in writing about writing, while conveying what is at work in écriture, generates a movement of return that opens up a space within which to meditate on choices and what is at stake in making them. Teyssiéras privileges movement in the primacy of giving oneself over to a vital force--pulsation. For Glissant, accumulation is the most appropriate technique for uncovering the diffuse history of the Caribbean. Miron's expansive ?march to love' traces a radius from the singular to the collective in a bid for wholeness. This study examines, within a hermeneutic and phenomenological framework, how these movements offer experiential constructs for affective and cognitive reactions to and engagement with poetic language and with the writer's history.
Thesis (Ph.D.) -- Brown University (2008)

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Parker, Adele E., "The Immobile Voyage: Textual Movements in Contemporary French-Language Poetry" (2008). French Studies Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.