French cinepoetry: Unmaking and remaking the poem in the age of cinema

2005 2005

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Abstract (summary)

The dissertation reframes the genealogy of French poetry to show how cinema has shaped the writing practices of avant-garde movements since Mallarmé. “Cinepoetry” denotes the reconfiguration of poetic writing under the sway of filmic elements such as: the cinematic apparatus, film editing techniques, film theory, the experience of movie-viewing, and the culture industry of film. Poets have been writing cinepoems especially after new types of texts connected with cinema emerged around 1910: the scenario, the intertitle, advertising, movie fan magazines and trade journals, and pulp adaptations of movies to print. The most overt and utopian moment in cinepoetry took place between the onset of World War I and the arrival of the Talkies (1929). Yet, starting in 1945, experimentalism produced a range of cinepoetic works within and beyond the metropole. The first comprehensive analysis of the permeation of film in French poetry, this study proposes new critical concepts for rereading avant-garde poetics as tarrying at the confluence of sensorial technologies, historical thought, and mass culture, in order to transmute the textual fabric of literature.

In Chapter 1 I examine how cinema dovetailed with late Symbolism's esthetic imperatives to emerge as an intermedium in poetry: Mallarmé, Jarry, Segalen, and Roussel, saw the cinematograph as transforming the mimetic, static, and temporal aspects of inscription and description. Chapter 2 assesses theoretical intersections of cinema and poetry in Romains, Saint-Pol-Roux, and especially Jean Epstein, whose reflections on the impact of mass culture on poetic writing inspired the dissertation as a whole. Chapter 3 examines the importance of Charlot as a new embodied persona for Breton and Surrealism, and for Aragon, Soupault, Goll, and Michaux. Chapter 4 analyzes the cinepoetic scenarios of Apollinaire and Billy, d'Annunzio, Canudo, Cendrars, Hillel-Erlanger, and Rolland. Chapter 5 sketches the role of film culture in the reconstruction of France and French poetry after 1945, exploring cinepoetic writings by Cayrol, Queneau, Isou, Michaux, Duprey, Damas, and Rodanski. Chapter 6 looks at cinepoetic texts by Jeanne, Roche, Kaplan, and Collobert within posthistorical and postcolonial contexts. In the conclusion I show poetry to form a new object after cinema in terms of non-figurality, affect, technology, intersubjectivity, and ethics.

Indexing (details)

Romance literature;
Motion pictures
0313: Romance literature
0298: Literature
0900: Motion pictures
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Language, literature and linguistics; Cinema; Cinepoetry; French; Media; Poem
French cinepoetry: Unmaking and remaking the poem in the age of cinema
Wall-Romana, Christophe Marc
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 66/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780542291593, 0542291592
Smock, Ann A.
University of California, Berkeley
University location
United States -- California
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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