Discordant harmonies and turbulent serenity: the ecopoetic rhythms of nature’s — and art’s — resistance

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Abstract

This article argues that the poetic and critical writings of Théodore de Banville represent a concerted and successful attempt to give the natural world an independent voice in literature. Ecocriticism calls for creative practices and reading strategies that refuse to see humankind as separate from nature, and allow it to resist any colonizing gestures that might presume to speak on its behalf. While the poetry of Lamartine, Hugo, Vigny and Leconte de Lisle features nature throughout, its ecopoetic potential is weakened by simplistic urban/rural oppositions that construct a nostalgic idyll as a refuge from industry, progress and society. Banville, however, places humankind at the heart of a nature pulsating with the restless energy of animistic spirits. Nature, for him, shares with genuine art an unassimilable quality. His writings on painting and poetry express this irreducible essence through interart analogies and oxymoron, while the verse of Les Exilés consistently places natural phenomena at points of tension between traditional cultural forms and a rebellious, unpredictable syntax.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-186
Number of pages20
JournalDix-Neuf
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2015

Keywords

  • Poetry
  • Environment
  • Ecocriticism
  • Versification
  • Painting
  • Interart
  • Oxymoron
  • Vigny
  • Leconte de Lisle
  • Banville

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