Show Less
Restricted access

Bernard Vargaftig

Gestures toward the Sacred


Aaron Prevots

The French poet Bernard Vargaftig (1934–2012), first known in 1960s literary circles as a writer mentored by Aragon, published regularly and served on the editorial boards of Action poétique and Europe. His poetry foregrounds identity and alterity, eros and notions of self, an immediate present and an onrushing past. This book examines Vargaftig’s evolution and aims. It explores his postwar search for self-acceptance, ontological rootedness and shared forward paths. Using close readings of his poetry and prose, complemented by his comments in interviews, the book particularly considers his emphasis on the sacredness of words. His spiritual yearnings, as well as a need to heal due to lingering trauma from wartime hiding, are shown to underlie his focus on allusive imagery, recurring motifs and compact structures, where silence and sound interweave. Comparative analyses are used to show how his enthusiasm for the female Other attunes us to interpersonal bonds and to the outer world’s creative surge. The study of Vargaftig through the lens of gestures toward the sacred thus highlights poetry as a healing ritual, one that facilitates not only immersion in emotion and sensation, but also a continual process of renewal and self-discovery.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access



Adelen, Claude, “L’éclat seul dont je t’appelle” [à propos d’Éclat & Meute], France Nouvelle 1679 (16 January 1978), article découpé, VAG1 Pp 12, 1 feuillet.

Alter, Robert, The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2004).

Apel-Muller, Michel. “‘Je ne crois pas à l’éternité de la parole’: Michel Apel-Muller s’entretient avec Bernard Vargaftig.” France Nouvelle 1576 (26 January 1976), 28–30, VAG Pp 3.

Aragon, Louis, “Avant le 14 décembre: Bernard Vargaftig ou les grains noirs,” L’Humanité (13 December 1965), 8.

—— “Un grand poète: Bernard Vargaftig” [suivi d’un article de Dominique Grandmont intitulé “Description d’une Elégie”], L’Humanité, September/October 1975, VAG Pp 9, sans date, 1 feuillet.

Ariel, David, Kabbalah: The Mystic Quest in Judaism (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006).

Bataille, Georges, Théorie de la religion (Paris: Gallimard, 1995).

Baude, Michel, and Jeanne-Marie Baude, eds, Poésie et spiritualité en France depuis 1950: spiritualité chrétienne, spiritualité athée. Colloque organisé à la Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de Metz (13 et 14 novembre 1987), Université de Metz, Centre de Recherche Littérature et Spiritualité (Paris: Klincksieck, 1989).

Ben-Ami, Fanny, Le journal de Fanny, trad. Benjamin Ben-Ami (Paris: Livre de Poche, 2015).

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.