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Poetic Becomings

Studies in Contemporary French Literature


Jérôme Game

What does contemporary French poetry do to the subject? This book examines the means and effects of the subject’s transmutation into various processes of (de-)subjectivation by looking at the works of four contemporary writers: Christian Prigent, Dominique Fourcade, Olivier Cadiot and Hubert Lucot. The author explores their work in the context of Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy, building a critical apparatus – a ‘poetics of becoming’ – that informs close readings of poems and prose. Moving beyond established criteria of classical literary criticism, the book both offers a comparative discussion of Deleuze’s notions of literature and provides new insights into French writing, addressing the political dimension of contemporary poetry from the perspective of current theoretical radicalism.


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Chapter 3 - Olivier Cadiot, or the Stuttering Self 151


Chapter 3 Olivier Cadiot, or the Stuttering Self Pour continuer, j’ai été obligé de faire une couche supplémentaire, c’est- à-dire de raconter l’histoire de quelqu’un qui se comporte en Robinson de sa propre langue.1 Ce n’est pas un “personnage”, même si le livre est rempli de fausses vraies personnes. C’est une af faire délicate, mais sans tomber dans le natura- lisme. Qu’on ne doute pas de leur existence. Mais qu’est-ce qu’une voix sans corps? Qu’est-ce qu’une vraie personne qui parle? Une apparition “permanente”. Cette part d’indécidable est l’avantage des livres. C’est d’ailleurs le vrai sujet du livre.2 From the late 1980s onwards the work of Olivier Cadiot has occupied a singular place in contemporary French literature. So far comprised of eight volumes, all published by P.O.L. – L’art poétic’ (1988), Roméo & Juliette I (1989), Futur, ancien, fugitif (1993), Le Colonel des Zouaves (1997), Retour définitif et durable de l’être aimé (2002), Fairy queen (2002), Un nid pour quoi faire (2007), Un mage en été (2010) – it is generically mixed: poetry, prose, opera libretto. It has had a noticeable inf luence on both younger writers (Christophe Tarkos, Manuel Joseph, Caroline Dubois, Nathalie Quintane …) and, which is more rare, on older ones too (Dominique Fourcade, Jacques Roubaud, Emmanuel Hocquard, Christian Prigent, Anne Portugal). The traditional generational debate paused around Cadiot to recognize the pertinence of literary innovations able to synthesize several 1 O. Cadiot, interview with X. Person, “Un terrain de foot”, Le Matricule des...

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