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Subject Matters

Subject and Self in French Literature from Descartes to the present


Edited by Paul Gifford and Johnnie Gration

What can we currently make of ‘the subject'? Under the sway of structuralism and poststructuralism, critical thinking took a distinctly negative turn, effectively disqualifying any form of subjectivity as a reference point in discussions of textual or literary meaning. Since the mid-1970s, however, throughout the human sciences, human agency has been restored as both a methodological principle and an ethical value: a phenomenon broadly designated as ‘the return of the subject'. Yet the returning subject bears the traces of its problematization...
The present collection of essays explores the ways in which the subject now ‘matters', both in principle and in the variety of critical approaches in authorizes. Essays, which are both literary and theoretical in character, cover authors, texts and issues in French literature from Descartes to the present. A wide range of types of writing is examined, from established forms such as the novel to relatively marginal and generically unsystematized discursive practices such as automatic writing and the ‘récit de rêve'.
Though it shuns ‘closure' in a matter which remains ultimately elusive, this book offers some account of the types of answer which remain open and of those we have learned to leave behind.

Ambiguous Subjects

Dissolution and Metamorphosis in the Postmodern Sublime


Jennifer Wawrzinek

In the history of ideas, the aesthetic categories of the sublime and the grotesque have exerted a powerful force over the cultural imagination. Ambiguous Subjects is one of the first studies to examine the relationship between these concepts. Tracing the history of the sublime from the eighteenth century through Burke and Kant, Wawrzinek illustrates the ways in which the sublime has traditionally been privileged as an inherently masculine and imperialist mode of experience that polices and abjects the grotesque to the margins of acceptable discourse, and the way in which twentieth-century reconfigurations of the sublime increasingly enable the productive situating of these concepts within a dialogic relation as a means of instating an ethical relation to others.
This book examines the articulations of both the sublime and the grotesque in three postmodern texts. Looking at novels by Nicole Brossard and Morgan Yasbincek, and the performance work of The Women’s Circus, Wawrzinek illuminates the ways in which these writers and performers restructure the spatial and temporal parameters of the sublime in order to allow various forms of highly contingent transcendence that always necessarily remain in relation to the grotesque body. Ambiguous Subjects illustrates how the sublime and the grotesque can co-exist in a manner where each depends on and is inflected through the other, thus enabling a notion of individuality and of community as contingent, but nevertheless very real, moments in time.
Ambiguous Subjects is essential reading for anyone interested in aesthetics, continental philosophy, gender studies, literary theory, sociology and politics.

Leaving Parnassus

The Lyric Subject in Verlaine and Rimbaud


Seth Whidden

Leaving Parnassus: The Lyric Subject in Verlaine and Rimbaud considers how the crisis of the lyric subject in the middle of the nineteenth century in France is a direct response to the aesthetic principles of Parnassian poetry, which dominated the second half of the century much more than critics often think. The poets considered here rebel against the strict confines of traditional and contemporary poetry and attempt to create radically new discursive practices. Specifically, the close readings of poems apply recent studies of subjectivity in poetry and focus on the works of Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud to see how each subverts the dominant tradition of French poetry in a unique way. Whereas previous studies considered isolated aspects of each poet’s lyric subject, Leaving Parnassus shows that the situation of the lyric is a source of subversion throughout the poets’ entire work, and as such it is crucial to our full understanding of their respective innovations.

Marcel Proust Aujourd'hui 1

Revue Annuelle Bilingue an Annual Bilingual Review


Edited by Sjef Houppermans, Nell de Hullu-van Doeselaar, Manet van Montfrans and Sabine van Wesemael

Marcel Proust Aujourd’hui est une revue internationale bilingue qui veut être un forum aussi bien pour les spécialistes de l’oeuvre de Proust que pour tout lecteur désirant se renseigner sur l’évolution des recherches proustiennes. Des numéros généraux alternent avec des numéros orientés suivant une thématique spécifique.

Marcel Proust Aujourd’hui is an international bilingual review that wants to be a meetingplace for Proust scholars as well as for all those readers of the Recherche who desire to know how the research on his work is developing today. General issues alternate with issues on a specific subject.


Malcolm Charles Pollard

It is easy simply to attribute the high profile of Sollers, the numerous autobiographical details in his novels, and also the espousal of so many different views and causes, to egocentrism and opportunism. Alternatively, one could say that they are all significant elements in an ongoing enquiry into the role of fiction in a society where attitudes are often thought to be determined more by images than by the written word. Given Sollers's questioning of society's conventional images (as in Debord's notion of the 'spectacle'), his awareness of his own role in the media, and his interest in developing a discourse on the visual arts, how do such concerns come together to create new forms of fiction and a coherent aesthetics? These seemingly disparate questions are all in fact related to Sollers's desire to challenge the accepted parameters of representation by creating an alternative scene in the novel, a subject which forms the basis of this book.

"Li premerains vers"

Essays in Honor of Keith Busby


Edited by Catherine M. Jones

This volume celebrates the career of Keith Busby, one of the most prominent researchers of medieval French literature of our time, or as one of the contributors states, “one of the true knights errant among us—a scholar defined by the nobility of his intellect who upholds and defends medieval studies.” The chapters presented here bring together leading scholars from the United States, England, The Netherlands, France, Canada, Germany, and Australia. The authors focus on subjects related to Professor Busby’s broad research interests. Topics include, but are not limited to, Arthurian literature, courtly literature, fabliaux, epic, romance, Chrétien de Troyes, Marie de France, Breton lays, manuscript studies, iconography, and Occitan literature. This collection also offers critical editions of two texts: the Dit des Boulangers and an Anglo-Norman Quadripertitus Hermetis. These chapters will be of particular interest to specialists and students of medieval literature and manuscript studies.


James W. Brown

James Brown’s study of Camus’ Noces explores the many crossovers from mind to text by recording the writer’s consciousness as an emanation and the reader’s consciousness as a reception-perception. Writer and reader become one in this movement. Their shared mental space is analogous to the locus of the transmission of wisdom in many spiritual traditions. This book focuses on the textual and linguistic means through which the crossover takes place. Brown’s new reading of Camus is an outgrowth of bare awareness meditation. He subjects a text that was intended by Camus as meditation to another meditative consciousness, that of the reader-writer who comes to Noces without ideological baggage. In this sense the reading process itself becomes an ‘essay’ in the original meaning of the word: a trial, an attempt, an inquiry. Another original aspect of ‘ Sensing’, ‘Seeing’, ‘Saying’ is the fact that the reading process doubles as non-directed meditative practice, for it does not attempt to interpret, judge, or evaluate the text in question but aims to engage it spiritually, to enter into its ‘presence’. As background to his reading the author uses vipashyana, or insight meditation, which derives directly from the Buddha’s own experience and teaching.


Edited by Marie-Agnès Sourieau and Kathleen M. Balutansky

Jacques Stephen Alexis, Jacques Roumain, René Depestre, Marie Chauvet, Frankétienne, J. J. Dominique, Jean Métellus, Dany Laferrière, Yanick Lahens, Lyonel Trouillot et Edwidge Danticat sont quelques-uns des écrivains haïtiens dont l’écriture est marquée par le contexte politique d’Haïti. Les régimes dictatoriaux ont, en effet, affecté l’espace créatif, imposant un certain nombre de contraintes auxquelles ces écrivains, chacun à leur manière, ont ingénieusement riposté et réagi. Ce recueil d’essais critiques et d’entretiens tente d’illustrer et d’analyser comment les oeuvres romanesques, poétiques et théâtrales s’accommodent du « pays assiégé » et déploient des stratégies linguistiques et formelles permettant de transcender les forces d’oppression.

Jacques Stephen Alexis, Jacques Roumain, René Depestre, Marie Chauvet, Frankétienne, J. J. Dominique, Jean Métellus, Dany Laferrière, Yanick Lahens, Lyonel Trouillot and Edwidge Danticat are some of the Haitian writers whose writing is marked by Haiti’s political history. Successive dictatorships have indeed shaped Haiti's creative space, imposing constraints that the authors ingeniously counteract and against which they all react. This collection of essays and interviews illustrates and analyzes the various ways in which the fictional, poetic and theatrical texts transcend the forces of oppression through linguistic and formal strategies.

Helmut Pfeiffer

Gründe von Erfolg und Misserfolg höchst vielfältig sind, hatte Montaigne gleich in seinem ersten Essay zu dem ebenso resignierten wie faszinierten Fazit geführt: „Certes c’est un subject merveilleusement vain, divers, et ondoyant, que l’homme: il est malaisé d’y fonder jugement constant et uniforme.“ (E

Helmut Pfeiffer

Kreis der Freunde, Nachbarn und Verwandten beschränkt, und sie realisiert sich in den informellen, zwanglosen Formen der Unterhaltung, des Vergnügens und der Interaktion mit dem Buch, das die Person des Autors vertritt. Der Autor der Essais ist als Privatmensch ohne Amt kein subject digne et riche