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Between Stephane Mallarme and Rene Ghil: The Impossible Desire for Poetry

Between Stephane Mallarme and Rene Ghil: The Impossible Desire for Poetry Joseph Acquisto Between Stéphane Mallarmé and René Ghil The Impossible Desire for Poetry Among those who frequented Stéphane Mallarmé's Tuesday-evening gatherings in the Rue de Rome, perhaps none caused as much controversy as poet René Ghil. Ghil began as an ardent admirer of Mallarmé's poetry, but soon their views of poetry diverged. Ghil shocked the audience of Mallarmé's admirers one Tuesday evening by openly expressing his disagreement with the Master. This incident led to estrangement between them, but not before Mallarmé had promoted Ghil's poetry and even written a preface to one of his works. In reaction to the Symbolists and Decadents, Ghil created his own "Instrumentalist School," based in large part on a serious misreading of the work of German acoustical physicist Hermann Helmholtz1 and on a much too literal reading of Rimbaud's sonnet "Voyelles."2 Ghil's own contemporaries often found his work confusing or laughable.3 Critics in the twentieth century have followed suit: even those most sympathetic to him have called his literary project "an exceptional and monstrous failure."4 Those more actively hostile to Ghil have grouped him among the "freaks" of literature. One's initial hunch, then, is that René Ghil most certainly deserves his current obscurity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png French Forum University of Nebraska Press

Between Stephane Mallarme and Rene Ghil: The Impossible Desire for Poetry

French Forum , Volume 29 (3) – Feb 3, 2004

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 by French Forum, Inc.
ISSN
1534-1836
Publisher site
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Abstract

Joseph Acquisto Between Stéphane Mallarmé and René Ghil The Impossible Desire for Poetry Among those who frequented Stéphane Mallarmé's Tuesday-evening gatherings in the Rue de Rome, perhaps none caused as much controversy as poet René Ghil. Ghil began as an ardent admirer of Mallarmé's poetry, but soon their views of poetry diverged. Ghil shocked the audience of Mallarmé's admirers one Tuesday evening by openly expressing his disagreement with the Master. This incident led to estrangement between them, but not before Mallarmé had promoted Ghil's poetry and even written a preface to one of his works. In reaction to the Symbolists and Decadents, Ghil created his own "Instrumentalist School," based in large part on a serious misreading of the work of German acoustical physicist Hermann Helmholtz1 and on a much too literal reading of Rimbaud's sonnet "Voyelles."2 Ghil's own contemporaries often found his work confusing or laughable.3 Critics in the twentieth century have followed suit: even those most sympathetic to him have called his literary project "an exceptional and monstrous failure."4 Those more actively hostile to Ghil have grouped him among the "freaks" of literature. One's initial hunch, then, is that René Ghil most certainly deserves his current obscurity.

Journal

French ForumUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Feb 3, 2004

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