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Title: The Parnassian Moment and the Experimental Poem, 1866-1876
Authors: Behrmann, Bridget
Advisors: Blix, Göran
Contributors: French and Italian Department
Keywords: Parnassianism
Subjects: Romance literature
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines relationships between poetry and scientific discourse over the period from 1866 to 1876 in France. Focusing on the importance of Parnassianism to this era, the dissertation seeks to reframe traditional narratives surrounding post-Romantic poetry and poetic modernity’s opposition to science. The first chapter presents these central axes of inquiry using the concepts of the Parnassian moment and the experimental poem, which offers a model of thinking through links between science and poetry via technology and the technical imagination. This chapter also introduces the 1874 Transit of Venus, a highly mediatized astronomical event that grounds the dissertation’s discussion of science and technology. Each of the following three chapters pairs readings from the period’s poetry with a technological instrument and scientific issue related to the 1874 Transit. Chapter two studies representations of Venus, analyzing photography and works by Sully Prudhomme, Albert Mérat, Leconte de Lisle, Louis Ménard, poets of the Parnasse contemporain, and Rimbaud. Chapter three concerns the search for a universal language, exploring the role of electric telegraphy in works by Rimbaud, Théodore de Banville, Tristan Corbière, and poets of the Cercle Zutique. Chapter four concentrates on Charles Cros, a poet and inventor who hoped to contact extraterrestrial life using heliography. This dissertation argues that Cros’s heliographic project informs and appears in poems from his 1873 collection, Le coffret de santal. The conclusion connects Cros’s contribution to the Dixains réalistes to the close of the Parnassian moment, the disappointments of the 1874 Transit of Venus, and the advent of fin-de-siècle poetics.
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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