La Poesie en jeu(x): Theoville de Bandore sur la corde raide de la rime

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For over 150 years, critics have persistently seen in Banville little more than a clown or acrobat of verse, a virtuosic improviser and a writer of extravagant forms with little or no semantic content. This article argues, on the contrary, that Banville's formal games, like free verse and prose poetry, constitute a method of confronting the difficulty of recognising authentic art in the post-Romantic period. In his Occidentales, Banville explores a Second Empire where fake, mechanical art is praised to the detriment of real art, which is alive and unpredictable. In pushing the form of his metrical verse to the point of absurdity with ultra-rich rhymes, enjambement and blatant filler material, Banville forces his readers, as well as the critics, to ask themselves whether regular verse form, inherited from the Romantics, is any longer a reliable guarantee of a text's poeticity. Indeed, for Banville, real poetry will always escape prescription, refusing to be reduced to mechanical rules which might lend themselves to imitation by inferior minds.
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)167-184
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010

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