[PAST EVENT] The Bellini Colloquium Series: Professor St Clair on Rimbaud & Verlaine's "album zutique"

March 22, 2012
3:30pm - 5pm
Washington Hall, Room 315
241 Jamestown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
The "Sonnet du trou du cul" is a text jointly written by Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine while they frequented the Cercle zutique, an avant-garde literary sub-off-shoot of the dominant poetic movement of the age, Le Parnasse. Over the course of the autumn of 1871 the zutistes created an "album" composed of drawings, obscene songs and scores of poetic texts in which the scatologically parodic melds with the formally experimental. The "author" first theorized by Michel Foucault is put under considerable pressure as poets write together, often times not only parodying other poets to politically subversive ends, but themselves and each other as well, offering us what we might call a literary commune(ism).
It is in this context that we find one critically marginalized poem that has long baffled critics and frustrated editors,
who have never been quite sure to whom it ought to be attributed: Rimbaud and Verlaine's co-authored, parodic sonnet entitled L'Idole sonnet du trou du cul. In this talk, we will pursue both a close reading of the poem in question, but also consider it in the larger context of the cultural history of gender norms and the politics of post-Commune Parisian literary circles.