Pierre Reverdy : lyrisme de la réalité. Poétique du visuel
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This thesis aims to provide the first complete study of the poetics of Pierre Reverdy, who, although famous and influential during his lifetime, has not been widely published or researched. This thesis hopes to change this, as his complete works are just now being republished. The first chapter lays the basis for his conception of reality as something in which man is trapped, and which calls for a distance that, in Reverdy’s eyes, only poetry can offer. His association of the image and lyricism, is presented and analysed. The second chapter aims to provide a linguistic understanding of the poetic image called for and devises the new concept of “illumination”, to give an account of the phenomenon at work in his verse. The third chapter focuses on lyricism, as Reverdy tries to reinvent it for the twentieth century: independent of the self, dealing only with expressing the affective tonalities of the poet and acting as a catalyst for the image. The last chapter defines the visual qualities of Reverdy’s poetry by first re-examining the title of cubist poet that had been attached to him, before focussing on the many forms that the image takes in his work (imagery, but also typography, mental imagery), and finally providing the first analysis of the relationship between paintings and poems in the famous Livres d’artistes that the poet created, in collaboration with Picasso, Matisse, Juan Gris and others. It establishes that while the poems can indeed be read without the illustrations with which they were conceived, these editions deprive the reader of the opportunity to remind himself that poetry is an experience rather than a quest for meaning and also of an introduction to the unique visual qualities of Reverdy’s poetry.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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Embargo Date: 2021-02-06
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Electronic copy restricted until 6th February 2021
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