Scott Shinabargar René Char and the Matter of Language There is in the poetry of René Char a distinct sense of conscience--the dual faculties, conveyed by this single word in French, of awareness and moral imperative. An unwavering lucidity checks the tendency of poetic expression to sublimate and transcend circumstances of the real ("Malgré la soif de disparaître, je fus prodigue dans l'attente, la foi vaillante. Sans renoncer" 142). While this quality is most famously associated with the work written during Char's involvement in the Resistance--his Feuillets d'Hypnos--it is nowhere more pronounced, in the strongest sense of this term, than in the writing that directly precedes that period. In contrast to the laconic reserve that will be necessary to the maquisard, the poetic voice here recurringly erupts in condemnation. The collection Placard pour un chemin des écoliers, for instance, dedicated to children killed in the Spanish Civil War, opens with the imprecation: "Incomparables bouchers! Honte! Honte! Honte!" (89). In Dehors la nuit est gouvernée, the following collection, such enunciations recur even more frequently, and in a very specific discourse--the proclivity for accumulation and attachment to things and ideas, inherent in human nature, is repeatedly decried by the poet
French Forum – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Apr 25, 2012
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