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‘When familiar meanings dissolve…’

Essays in French Studies in Memory of Malcolm Bowie

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Edited By Naomi D. Segal and Gill Rye

This volume commemorates the work of Malcolm Bowie, who died in 2007. It includes selected papers drawn from the conference held in his memory at the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, University of London, in May 2008, inspired by his work in nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature. Malcolm Bowie was instrumental in shaping French studies in the United Kingdom into the interdisciplinary field it now is. The contributions to this collection are grouped around Bowie’s principal interests and specialisms: poetry, Proust, theory, visual art and music. The book is, however, more than a memorial to Malcolm Bowie’s work and legacy. In its inclusion of work by established and eminent members of the academic profession as well as new and emerging scholars, it is also a showcase for cutting-edge work in French studies in the United Kingdom and beyond.

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Part 2 Poetry 35

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PART 2 Poetry Michael Sheringham Pierre Alferi and the Poetics of the Dissolve: Film and Visual Media in Sentimentale Journée The vocabulary and technology of film, from silent cinema, through genre films, to special ef fects and video, figure prominently in the poetry of Pierre Alferi, notably in such collections as Sentimentale Journée (1997) [A Day’s Journey] and La Voie des airs (2004) [Airway]. In the last ten years Alferi has written extensively on film. Des enfants et des monstres (2004) [Children and Monsters] collects pieces on horror movies he wrote for Cahiers du cinéma; whilst Le Cinéma des familles (1999) [Family Cinemas] is a novel or autofic- tion where a childhood is viewed through the prisms of a number of films including Charles Laughton’s Night of the Hunter (1955) and Robert Fla- herty and Zoltan Korda’s Elephant Boy (1937).1 Alferi started doing public readings from Le Cinéma des familles while extracts from the films were projected behind him with soundtrack material remixed by the musician Rodolphe Burger. Then, in 2002, he produced a DVD called Cinépoèmes et films parlants [Cinepoems and Talking Films] comprising short film works he had made himself since 2000.2 The four films parlants consist of sequences from existing films, including Night of the Hunter and Elephant Boy, which Alferi re-edits, reordering, slowing down, and repeating bits of the original. He then adds a text he has written himself which is supplied either through subtitles or voice-over. In...

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