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Title: Fragmentation and Unity: Language and its Becoming in the Essays of Yves Bonnefoy
Authors: ROESLER, Layla Marie-France
Advisors: Trezise, Thomas A
Contributors: French and Italian Department
Keywords: essay
Yves Bonnefoy
Subjects: Modern language
Modern literature
European studies
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: There is an inverse correlation between the considerable amount of existing critical work on the poetry of Yves Bonnefoy relative to the rather modest quantity of poetry he has produced, and, at the same time, the paucity of critical work on his essays as compared to the great number of them that he has written. In the main, the essays of Yves Bonnefoy remain significantly understudied because they are perceived, both by the critical community and by Bonnefoy himself as being "secondary" to the primary poetic enunciation and to the theological and philosophical notion of <italic>présence</italic> that subtends his writing. This work aims to contribute to filling the gap in understanding the role and function of the essay in his oeuvre. I argue in it that Bonnefoy relies on the essay because some elements of its nature correspond to and dialogue with certain aspects of his own thought. I thus examine the generic status and characteristics of the essay to demonstrate that it can assume a number of theoretical and literary positions more easily than poetry. I argue further that in Bonnefoy's work, although poetry has a functional capacity of immediacy which can lead to an experience of "presence," it is only the essay that allows for an understanding of this "presence," and through this understanding greater receptivity to the acts of presence contained not only within its own matrix, but also that of the poetry. And this is precisely because of the nature of the essay as a genre open both to infiltration by poetry and by philosophy; both can co-exist within the boundaries of the essayistic text and nourish each other in the total experience a reader can derive from a text. This openness the definition of the essay creates a sort of blurring at the edges of the genre which Bonnefoy consciously or unconsciously capitalizes on, using the essay to integrate the apparent contradictions of his philosophical position in order to guide the reader toward a simultaneous apprehension of "ce qui est" and <italic>présence</italic>.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:French and Italian

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