[PAST EVENT] Talk by Prof. Evans (U. of St Andrews)

April 17, 2014
3:30pm - 5pm
Washington Hall, Room 315
241 Jamestown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Prof. Dave Evans (University of St Andrews, Scotland) will be giving a talk on "Constructing French Poetry with Theodore de Banville (or, How Not to Write Poetry in C19th France,") on Thursday, April 17, 3:30-5:00 pm, in 315 Washington Hall.

Histories of C19th French poetry have tended to focus on quasi-mythologised figures such as Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Mallarme and the writer's search for an aesthetic ideal which somehow transcends the limits of language, providing us with flashes of insight into the mysterious 'correspondences' of a world beyond the sensory limits of everyday human experience. While the work of Theodore de Banville, an important influence on these poets, shares this aesthetic idealism, it also probes with a provocative, mischievous humour the cold reality of poetic creation: rhyming dictionaries, deadlines and the problem of finding ever new rhythms and rhymes. This paper will explore how, in a century in thrall to a relentless capitalist, materialist logic - bigger! faster! louder! longer! harder! - Banville's poetry fearlessly and playfully probes the material problems of writing authentic poetry, of entertaining an increasingly skeptical public and of walking the tightrope between genuine art and pale imitation, real poetry and mere doggerel.

Prof. St. Clair