Edited By Christine Reynier
Mediterranean cultures are shown to haunt American and British culture and artistic productions. The relation between British and American literature and art on the one hand, and Mediterranean arts on the other goes beyond the mere inscription of British and American culture in a Mediterranean tradition. British and American culture and art come out as unearthing a wide variety of Mediterranean artistic forms, renewing and transforming them.
This collection shows how lively the encounter between the Mediterranean and the English-Speaking worlds still is. It highlights how much English as well as American culture and art owe today to the Mediterranean ones; how, mainly in the fields of literature and art, the two civilisations have never discontinued the dialogue they adumbrated centuries ago.
VINCENT DUSSOL - Ed Dorn, an American Heretic in Languedoc - 45
VINCENT DUSSOL Ed Dorn, an American Heretic in Languedoc A lifelong interest in heresy After nearly forty years of writing on the American West, American poet Ed Dorn (1929-1999) launched into Languedoc Variorum, a work the title of which seemed to promise a major excursion out of his field. The pro- ject’s starting point was the chance factor of Dorn’s coming to Montpel- lier’s University Paul Valéry for a semester in 1992 on the then-existing exchange program with the University of Colorado at Boulder. It was, he said, his wife’s reading of Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie’s Montaillou, vil- lage occitan, during their stay which sparked off his interest in Langue- doc’s history, one rich in religious outcasts. This is what accounts for the subtitle Dorn gave to his book:11 ‘A Defense of Heresy and Heretics’. Dorn’s work always evidenced an ‘emotional alliance with marginal- ized people’ (McPheron 5). ‘Thesis’, a poem written in the 1960s, reads: Only the Illegitimate are beautiful […] […] only the outcast and the ab andoned to the night are faultless only the faultless have fallen only the fallen are the pure Children of the Sun only they move West (Dorn 1974: 179-180; Dorn 1997: 8-9) Interestingly, this poem was among the very few from his earlier collec- tions which Dorn chose to include in High West Rendezvous, the collec- tion in which extracts from Languedoc Variorum were first published. 11 Only extracts from the book were published during Dorn’s lifetime: first in Saget- rieb, then...
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