Poetry Proscribed: Twentieth-Century (Re)Visions of the Trials of Poetry in France

Poetry Proscribed: Twentieth-Century (Re)Visions of the Trials of Poetry in France

Poetry Proscribed: Twentieth-Century (Re)Visions of the Trials of Poetry in France

Poetry Proscribed: Twentieth-Century (Re)Visions of the Trials of Poetry in France

Synopsis

This work opens a different line of inquiry into the stakes of poetry through indepth investigations of the mishearing inherent to poetry's relation to philosophy, history, politics, and the law.

Excerpt

It is self-evident that nothing concerning art is self-evident
anymore, not its inner life, not its relation to the world, not
even its right to exist.

—Adorno

Have we become so accustomed to aporetic reflections on art that there is not much shock left at the notion of how obviously art’s right to exist is not anymore self-evident? Is there even much shock left in art having become the expression of this absence? That Adorno’s reflection hinges on the temporal qualifier “anymore” offers an initial equivocal answer by signaling a postwar epochal shift in the foundations of art. It also suggests any number of other historical moments in which the right of art to exist is its express question. For instance, Stéphane Mallarmé’s late nineteenth-century formula—“A savoir s’il y a lieu d’écrire”—also already revolves around the question of an art form founded neither entirely on the creative processes immanent to the mind nor on relations to external objects. and it highlights the founding moment in which writing takes place as both a statement of fact and a question by indicating that something remains to be known (“à savoir”) that might answer the question as to whether there are grounds for writing (“s’il y a lieu d’écrire”). Mallarmé’s formula equally offers an alternative perspective on the expression non-lieu: a legal case that is subject to dismissal due to insufficient grounds. Though these grounds are up for debate, from the legal perspective they invariably obey something akin to natural laws that follow inviolable and inviolably enforced rules and codes. Those who weigh the legal arguments for or against these grounds eventually agree or disagree as to whether there is reason to pursue a trial. While the literary . . .

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