Without Rhyme Or Reason: Gaspard de la Nuit and the Dialectic of the Prose Poem

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Bucknell University Press, 1998 - Literary Criticism - 162 pages
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On 29 April 1841, a week after his thirty-fourth birthday, Louis (Aloysius) Bertrand died of tuberculosis. This malady, his destitute poverty, and his errant existence qualify him as a quintessential poete maudit, whose one great work, Gaspard de la Nuit: Fantasies a la maniere de Rembrandt et de Callot, was not published until 1842. Now widely considered as the first collection of prose poems to appear in France, Gaspard inspired writers like Baudelaire, Mallarme, Huysmans, and Andre Breton. This study offers a rereading of Bertrand's book grounded in modern critical theory, including the work of Derrida, Bakhtin, Barbara Johnson, Genette, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Nancy. It elaborates a new perspective on a work that contains all the paradoxes of the genre, with which theorists still struggle.

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The Prefaces to the Prose Poem
Gaspard de la Nuit

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