The Revolting Body of Poetry


If the transgressions of modern French poetry have been amply noted at thematic and formal levels, they remain largely unremarked at the most visceral level of reading. Indebted to, while problematizing the Kristevan concept of sémiotique, Scott Shinabargar’s The Revolting Body of Poetry reveals how the very “matter” of key works forces us to enact these transgressions, when articulating textures of offensive lexica and imagery. While certain phonemes provide access to previously untapped forces, first apparent in Baudelaire and Lautréamont, compulsive repetitions produce expressive inflation, diffusing any initial impact. Césaire and Char, however, demonstrate an acquired control of these forces, intensity contained. Shinabargar concludes with a survey of contemporary poets, inviting readers to consider the legacy of revolting poetics.

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Scott Shinabargar is an associate professor and chair at Winthrop University. He has previously published on Vigny, Leconte de Lisle, Breton, Michaux, and Jaccottet, among others.
Part I: Revolutions
1 La diction du mal: Baudelaire
2 An Exaggerated Scale of Evil: Lautréamont
Part II: Revolitions
3 Grounding Force: Césaire
4 In the Wind’s Gold: Char
All interested in 19 th- and 20 th-century French poetry – and in particular, the work of Baudelaire, Lautréamont, Césaire and Char – Francophone studies, literary criticism, and stylistics.