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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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Conclusion: Towards a Politics of Becoming? 227


Conclusion: Towards a Politics of Becoming? Comme si les événements jouissaient d’une irréalité qui se communique au savoir et aux personnes à travers le langage. (LS 11) Si vous voulez, le langage c’est le virtuel au pouvoir.1 In previous chapters I identified four distinct gestures of poetic (de-)sub- jectivation. In Prigent, the subject is violently decomposed, semantically as well as grammatically, with near-constant use of imperative forms and, above all, an abrupt cut of the verse, as if falling down a prosodic staircase that would also be an ontogenetic spiral throwing of f any known frame of reference. In Fourcade, the subject spreads on a horizontal surface by way of (un-)folding the sentence-verse dynamism, somehow finding a metast- able equilibrium in a permanent tripping, side-stepping or acceleration of language. In Cadiot, the subject hesitates between stitching or, on the contrary, tearing apart the fragmented surface on which it appears by way of dif ferentiating repetition (stuttering) and a sophisticated ritournelle (a becoming-bird of the self, a becoming-island of language itself ). Finally, in Lucot the subject weaves the surface of sensation-as-duration in the thickness of the prose paragraph and around the crystallization of key- signifiers in a variety of coding procedures. In other words, things happen to the subject in this literature, to its cogito and body alike: vertical dis- membering or piercing (Prigent), horizontal f luidifying or continuation (Fourcade), lateral fragmentation or stuttering (Cadiot), frontal massifi- cation or thickening (Lucot). Subjectivity is directly af fected by hearing,...

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