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Bishop, Reverdy 's Conception of Image 10

Bishop, Reverdy 's Conception of Image 10

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"L'oxcellence d'une image est dans la justesse des rapports qui la creent et la laissent cependant absolument inadaptable a tout objet concret de la realite."1 The importance of Pierre Reverdy's theory of the image has long been acknowledged, though perhaps more so by poets than by critics. Attention has, however, usually been drawn rather to Reverdy's highlighting of the role of the image in poetry than to the specific detail of his elaborated theory. It is not in fact ontirely appropriate to speak of a definitive theory of the image and its formation in the case of Reverdy, for relevant statements are far from being compactly assembled or collectively straightforward, despite their customary individual succinotness. What is generally observable, nevertheless, in gathering together the multiple fragments of Reverdy's theory, is the lattor's overall consistency and coherence, the way in which it blends in with other aspects of Reverdy's aesthetios and, finally, the interpenetration of aesthotics and creative work at the level of their governing imaginative motifs. Poets and critics alike have cared to lay some stress upon the significant role played by the mind in Reverdy's general aesthetic theory as well as in his conception of the image. Their conclusions often suggest a broadly rational basis for the formation of the image in which poetic control is unquestioned. Little attempt to embrace the totality of Reverdy's thinking is to be found and still less an attempt to reconcile certain of its paradoxes.* Certainly the role of the mind is not to be underestimated, for many forceful declarations may be readily adduced from a variety of sources to support what should be merely a critical point of departure, but which nevertheless often becomes a conclusion. According to suoh Reverdyan declarations, tho mind alone is deemed to perceive those relationships constituting the image whoso strength is thus considered dependent upon the degree of intellectualisation present at its birth.3 And indeed Reverdy is never reticent in his assertion of the crucial function performed by the mind. Mind is a measure that permits and supports art.* The image in particular demands tho acquiescence of mind before it may be deemed "admissible" and it is "un acte d'attention volontaire",6 an out-going, grasping gesture, that would seem to be primarily responsible for securing this "admission". For art is unquestionably felt to involve discipline of the mind: H n'y a pas d'art sans discipline, il n'y a pas d'art personnel sans discipline personnelle.8 [. . .] au royaume de l'art oh la discipline de Pesprit est la seule qui compte [. . .]'

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a special form of thought: Tous les reveurs ne sont pas poetes mais il y a a des poetes qui sont des reveurs. concrete reality9—not that suoh reality may not itself be viewed as anguishing and. but which.oxfordjournals.org by guest on February 5. often paradoxical yet complementary fragments that provide a finely equilibrated overall mosaic wherein notions of cold intellectuality and dry selection are found to dovetail with notions as warmly mixed as consubstantiality. inferior to the secondary. it is nevertheless equally important to observe its positive connotations. having been finely tempered first of all by his experience of concrete reality. If it is true that the notion of dream often finds itself negatively connoted and thus lying in opposition to the rough. in conformity with Reverdy's art-nature dichotomy. in effect.11 Suoh a dream is fecund. intuition. in effect. 2011 . out-going and appropriating as well as in-coming and somewhat passively assimilating. to argue a strong case for the powerful though elusive aesthetics-orientated metaphoricity of much of Reverdy's poetry.10 For the poet's dream is felt to be of a special order. controlling imaginative structures of his poetry.16 In such a theory-conscious poet we should surely be astonished not to find a deepstructured interpenatration of imaginative motifs at all levels of expression. chance.13 The operation of the mind and indeed the constitution of the image may thus be said to be based upon a two-way movement.11 The poet's dream is the mind functioning in a particular mode of operation and showing itself to be every bit as much absorbing. "antinatural" artistio reality of image. It is possible. that this and other aesthetic principles governing his conception of the image are. apparently uncompromising and somewhat flatly articulated. most significantly.26 Pierre Reverdy will in fact go so far as to say that mind equals artist8 and we must be careful to recognize that pronouncements such as these. hard and durable. Scrutiny of Reverdy's work. admissive and receptive. provides a nucleus for many of the cruoial. H est peut-ltre bon que l'esprit du poete se laisse penetrer plus qu'il ne penetre. le rfive l'esprit qui se laisse penetrer. clearly reveals. but firm. Such a dream is. composed of small. in fact. Le rive est sterile chez ceux qui ne sont pas poetes. rather more complex. It will be useful to begin by affirming the degree to which the conceptions of mind and thought in Reverdy's aesthetics refuse to limit themselves to some narrowly encased definition. voice nevertheless what is certainly an essential aspect of his aesthetics. La pensee e'est l'esprit qui penetre.14 It is a movement that not only is to be found throughout the aesthetic doctrine of Pierre Reverdy pertaining to the image. Le reve du poete est fecond. penetrating and actively seizing. absurdity and the marvellous. shedding all notions of the mindless sterility of drifting and sleep. H tient lieu chez lui de ce qu'on appelle chez d'autres la pensee. Reverdy himself has spoken with feeling of the absolute need for a just Downloaded from fmls. Le rfive est done une forme speoiale de la pensee. healthy flesh of primary. as we shall move to demonstrate. however. poem or painting—. both critioal and creative. as it is out-going.

qui n'est qu'en moi et que j'y mile comma un levain. in connection with the above. poetic lanuage and the image. Things thus become a platform for the establishment of self's own word-things. Reverdy's shorthand often leads him to refer to the process Downloaded from fmls.1' Suoh questions as these. Les ohoses ne sont que ce qu'elles sont—il n'y a pas dans los choses autre chose que ce qu'elles sont. so to speak. however. that is to say for making it part of man. appropriation. unapproachable. il devient moi. assimilating and appropriating non-artistic reality via a process of verbal transmutation. sans lequel l'homme n'aurait jamais pu surmonter l'obstacle inconcevable que la nature dressait devant lui. as it were—Reverdy uses the term "reel" with either connotation) is built. the possibility of an integration and communion of self and world whose absence would leave self utterly alienated from tho world. though curiously primitive instrument for humanising the universe.1* Poetry and the image offer. over and above a concrete."M Via verbal and metaphoric transmutation reality becomes self.oxfordjournals. The mind is deemed.21 It is a process in which the reality outside self may become a reality inside self: "[L'image] est l'acte magique de transmutation du reel exterieur en reel interieur. It acts as a crucial mediator botween self and world in the struggle for the constitution of the artist's authentic being. If the image is a privileged entity in Reverdy's aesthotics. of self: L'homme commence a l'image qui est Pinstrument primitif presque unique d'humanisation de l'univers. What we must permit ourselves to explore briefly. Reality becomes a support for 'Tirrealite" or "la surrealite".27 equilibrium between poetic "personality" and aesthetics.19 Surreality.org by guest on February 5. domination and liberation. if it were not for man's special relationship with them via language and most especially the image. In this perspective the image is said to bo a unique." w In this way a certain consubstantiality is achieved: "Par l'irreel. inescapably separate. for its role is in no way superficial. lie outside the scope of our present examination. sauf 1'homme qui s'y est introduit ot les rend humaines et se les approprie par l'image. 2011 . primary "reel" (a rid1) in the poet's continual aspiration towards an unattainable and even feared absolute reality. then. nevertheless allow a certain closing of the gap between self and nature.10 A coming-together is brought about by means of the dual process of grasping penetration and welcoming assimilation. is Reverdy's obsession with the concepts of assimilation. ot ma realite s'affirme. to befinallyresponsible for artistic reality and it oxercises this responsibility in the realm of poetry by admitting.17 Things would remain things. although straining away from nature to become antinature. it is not now difficult to see why. s'exalte et flambo dans uno participation transcendante a la saveur incomparable de la vie.18 A secondary "reel" (a rid'. though in need of analysis. as we have seen. [le reel] mo devient consubstantiel. and in particular that of the metaphorical self-reflexiveness of Reverdy's poetry.

towards a mode of free functioning. the movement towards the mind's liberation.80 so—and here we have the second point of significance—so does domination involve not just a going-forth to take possession. au lieu d'un art pur un art batard.28 as one of taking possession or of domination. indeed. moreover. as we shall be able to observe. Art is. Words in freedom constitute chaos. between the two poles. Its constitution is.** Once more the imagination tends Downloaded from fmls. that the image shuns artificial engineering.32 The operation the mind engages in is one of subtle but fundamentally chancy speculation.*3 In the drawingtogether or nearing process involved in the creation of those relationships constituting the image. The creation of the image must not then be narrowly confined to some notion of rigidly calculated mental control.org by guest on February 5.M At the same time as the thirst for domination is quenched. despite the continuing and essential mediation of the mind in the formation of the image. This. logical processes as may have been thought. by the arbitrary. unforeseeable: "II ne s'agit pas de faire une image. in effect. BO to speak.oxfordjournals. bastardisation and as such are poetically ineligible: "Car on ne peut pas tout prendre et se servir de tout sous peine de creer. at once actively selective and somewhat passively approving and. The formation of the image is. il faut qu'elle arrive sur ses propres ailes". Reverdy can therefore say. as we have already seen. Firstly.28 But what is particularly interesting to observe is the way in which the motifs of liberation and domination intertwine via the interplay of their "sub-motifs". the arrival of the image being fundamentally spontaneous. Reverdy is quite explicit at times. the latter is not as rigidly governed by rational. seen as "le mouvement prodigieux de l'esprit vers sa liberation". if liberty paradoxically implies measurement and intuitive judgment2* of what is cognitively and emotionally offered at the altar of the mind. but also a letting-come upon oneself of both reality and its transformer into surreality. that the image is produced by a voluntary act of attention. the image. There are two specific points that it is useful to make at this juncture. "une forme de jeu de l'amour et du hasard". the role played by chance. The image is uncontrollable. But he can equally say.31 From this we can see that. in the finely allusive words of Reverdy. Reverdy's aesthetic doctrine takes care to resolve this dialectic only by insisting upon the tautness of the equilibrium ultimately achieved. the mind achieves an unparalleled degree of freedom. On ne peut pas tout ecrire. contrived fabrication."27 The formation of the image is thus caught between the complementary poles of liberation and selection. should not be confused with ideas of freely associative wording processes. employer tous les mots ni toutes les tournures syntaxiques dans une oeuvre de creation sous peine d'en faire un inadmissible chaos. and indeed he must say to conform to the matrix of his imagination. 2011 .18 For. from above. freedom and control. seeks to estabUsh itself as of equal importance with that assumed by choice and domination. will ultimately render more supple our view of the overall patterning of Reverdy's conception of the image. in effect.

unrefined reality. the image. We should not.89 his aspiration towards some absolute reality. Its apparent contradictions and paradoxes arc those very substances that make it whole. The mind may thus initiate a general volitional drive.8* is not specifically summoned. On the one aide lie art.oxfordjournals. goes forth to meet any such offering and to appropriate it in a flash of intuitive insight (a gesture whose theoretical feasibility was questioned by Andre Breton because of what was thought to be its remaining implication of a certain degree of control and consciousness).org by guest on February 5. But the mind waits—for the image to form itself and present itself. the act of transmutation of rid1 into rid'. available. the mind is no simple mechanism in Reverdy's aesthetics. To begin with. they are not brought.29 to construe the act of the image's constitution as carrying with it a certain notion of partially passive receipt. The arrival of the anomalous. Mais le merveilleux et le magique sont entrcs dans la realite depuis que l'homme les y a instaures par le sumaturel pouvoir d'inventer autre chose que ce qui est. in consequence. the marvellous were not. defines him and divorces him from nature. in order to overcome the basic obstacle thrown up by nature.87 There is—and to this question we shall later give fuller consideration—a non-specifiable point of contact between the two movemente. "Tabsnrde et l'irrationnel". As we are increasingly aware. And yet the self-provision of the marvellous reintegrates man with nature. essential and representative of a succinct. dominated reality. executed by means of wording and imagery pre-eminently. such pronouncemente as we shall now examine should be considered necessary. reality that has not come sufficiently near to the necessary point of contact or equilibrium to be reconstituted in terms of approved artistic reality. be at all astonished to hear Reverdy talk of the image in terms that might appear to be somewhat lacking in that customary sharpness of definition. sur la combination de ses idees sur les choses. The riches of chance are crucial and they bring themselves. in a mutually revelatory and profitable reconstitution of their being. in primary reality. poet with world. a certain "intentionality" directed towards the unformed image. in poetry. 2011 . parce que le merveilleux et le magique no tiennent pas aux choses mais a l'action et au pouvoir factice de l'homme sur les choses. and indeed never are properly of primary reality. Given the context of private journals and carefully measured public statements in whioh the full unfolding of his thought takes place. appropriated."88 Man's need for the marvellous. they are nevertheless capable of entering reality and taking their Downloaded from fmls. prior to their fabrication in words or paint or stone. is deemed by Reverdy to be magical. but in art. It may then convert its "attento" into activity. by rid1. though cryptic overview of those principles to which we have given attention so far. in the image: "H n'y a que le merveilleux et le magique qui n'etaient pas dans la realite. The magical or the marvellous are not in reality. And although the magical. on the other.88 But the mind. It thrives upon dialectic and tensely articulated resolution.

Reverdy deorees the inexplicable. If there are miracles in which man may no longer believe.44 where the image's irrationality and anomalousness are embraced for thenvery validity. To obtain a more oomplete picture of "cette justesse dans l'absurde". images or "poemes-objets". recognizes the pull of the unjustifiable. anguishing even. whilst tending towards the least arbitrary. Art is somehow centrally placed and the questions of nearing and distance are as important there as in the conception of the image.org by guest on February 5. This porosity of art permits the necessary nearing of art and nature which safeguards art from the pure fantasy of a distance that would "denature" it.48 The miracles of the imagination may gather around them a cloak of mystery and inexplicability—indeed. nevertheless may be said to maintain contact with each other. art and nature. purely concrete things. It remains at that tense point of equilibrium between control and uncontrollability where the mysterious may be held to be comprehensible. The latter's "realities" are not. alongside other pre-existing. too.oxfordjournals. The poem retains a certain porosity which enables a nearing to occur without damaging the essential distance between the two realities of art and nature. of course. marvellous domain of being to which the poet necessarily aspires. It is a Downloaded from fmls. where art. there is. to be directly proportional to its duration. though operating at different levels. But the image is neither one of them. unheard-of relationships between things that the poet writes41 and it is via the spontaneous combustion of the image that such miracles may occur. but their inexplicability should not bo thought equivalent to their incomprehensibility. of the poem. the marvellous in an image or work of art. Yet. it is important to recognise the irreducible and finally inexplicable mystery of both the image and the heterocosmic ensemble of the poem itself—. nearing and distance. twisting and turning in his efforts to honestly embrace the full paradoxically of his conception of the image. and finally we should briefly confirm the degree to which the motifs of "justesse" and equilibrium pervade the imagination of Pierre Reverdy and particularly his conception of the image. is a superior. 2011 . that the reality of art. They are the two explicit or implicit component parts of the image. We have seen. yet wholesome and essential. the mysterious. The two worlds.4* ultimately mysterious and miraculous.44 The act of poetic or lyrical revelation demands a certain degree of finely gauged spiritual control and yet what is revealed is above self.40 It is to discover and delight in those marvellous. We have seen that the concrete world of sensory experience is deemed by Reverdy to be a primary reality. secrecy and hermeticism are viewed negatively and are to be guarded against by the poet's notion of the "justesse" of the relationships involved in a given image. nevertheless. appreciable. of the image.43 As we shall see more clearly later.47 we should firstly take a closer look at questions of relationships. rough.30 place. coarse. fleeing the grasp of control. the BUperb compensation of those miracles available to man at any time via his "image-ination" and next to which the former can merely pale into insignificance.

involving surprise. involves a closing of the gap that destroys the marvellous third realm of the image proper. that of the tension between the natural and the fantastic. opposition is rarely found to be genuinely.64 denotes an image in which the distance between the realities at hand has become too great and where the counterbalancing pull of nearing has ceased to be felt. a fine tautness. There is no constitution of a newly created entity. Deux r6aliti6s contraires ne se rapprochent pas. nor does it foster relationships any more than the superimposition of identical elements. 2011 .M To preserve this distance and the distance between the two components of the image. The desired strength stems neither from an excessive opening nor from a somewhat stultifying closing of the compass points. And yet Reverdy stresses that the creative work paradoxically craves a newness. est [.58 or preferably the most. "pour garder sa vigueur et sa puissance comme facteur d'emotion.53 For the excessively oppositional image.61 Moreover. an aura of surprise. "brutality" or some fantastic quality. at a point of reconciliation of the nearing and distancing processes—with respect both to the question of its constituent parts or realities and to the question that art in general treats.49 where without imitation or comparison. as he binds together in a new and revelatory "surrealite" elements that are either more or less. comparison renders the nearing process cumbersome and tends to erode its element of crucial spontaneity. perches itself in a "central" position. The image.48 "un troisieme milieu". "un troisieme terme". His acute sense of the most distant relationships linking things is perpetually at stake. Pierre Reverdy's refusal of overt comparison may be seen to pertain to his desire to foster a certain distance between the two "realities" of the image. A relationship is indeed revealed. botwoen nearing and distancing. whilst maintaining at the same time an adequate degree of nearing in both respects. . then. but nothing magically revelatory occurs. . deeply forceful.67 very. Comparison merely posits the basis of a relationship between two realities. Elles s'opposent. blatant simile. it is because they are the substanco that sustains and supports the image. is a fundamental aim of tho poet.68 Poetic language generally. Conversely an image that relies too manifestly upon surprise for its effect tends rather towards opposition than towards a "just" and valid revelation: "Deux r6aliti6s qui n'ont aucun rapport ne peuvent se rapproacher utilement.60 a reconstitution and drawing together of two realities may be accommodated and something new may come into being. somewhat like art itself.69 distant from each other. II n'y a pas creation d'image.80 If Pierre Reverdy concerns himself with the nature of the relationships between realities. the greater the surreality.] constamment oblige de se renouveler et de conserver une certaine distance entre ses termes propres et les objets de la reality".oxfordjournals.81 Tho point of greatest strongth Downloaded from fmls. Comparison. Indeed.org by guest on February 5. Reverdy is categoric: the greater the distance. Reverdy remarks. Upon their strength depends that of the image.31 locus for the touching of separates. but from a tension."6* Surprise from.

en d6finitive.oxfordjournals.86 The data borne on the winds of chance have been intuitively sifted. admitted. "La puissance et la liberty de l'imagination n'ayant pas. "Justesse" is thus linked to the notion of "artistic truth" and as such is to be prized "avant toute chose". by discovery or valid personal addition. measurement and decision.68 "Justesse" alone provides that freedom sought by the poet or artist—a freedom not from responsibility. as it were. the ultimately determining factor in the establishment of the relationships posited by the image. the "justesse" of the image remains merely latent.83 The reader's inadequacy is therefore. There will be a maximum straining away from the banal relationship to the point where all slackness has been taken up and the image may be considered "justement assise". precis6ment.org by guest on February 5. Art itself performs. A truly powerful image will offer a maximum distance which will be rendered optimal by the fact of its "justesse". as two voids: truth as raw nature or its idolatrous imitation or evocation. this now vulnerable strength. like the image. can be seen to be deeply embedded in Reverdy's aesthetics. for this tense equilibrium to be achieved. de plus sur appui que la justesse.32 will be that at which the distance between the two realities is such that a compensatory nearing must be intuitively observable and beyond which the fantastic or the hermetic would lie. Without his ability to recreate. and utter falseness. with its intimately fused notions of appropriateness. l'6quilibre et cette impression de structure logique qui. 2011 Dalhousie University . truth and precision. whose full significance becomes evident only at a point of straining beyond which contact is lost and relationship reduced to non-relationship. as a stone may be said to be. yet offering upon further scrutiny and absorption the greatest degree possible of mysterious revelation. the aesthetic emotion it seeks to release lying dormant. As Pierre Reverdy also remarks. Error of judgment is implicitly associated with spiritual imprisonment.69 MICHAEL BISHOP Downloaded from fmls.87 The dangers of disequilibrium are doubly menacing. aesthetically. The attainment of such a tautness "suscite rhannonie. at the optimal relational point where contact binds revelation and mystery into a necessary whole whose authenticity is beyond dispute. Reverdy's insistence upon the complementary strength of "justesse" makes it clear that nearing and distance are locked together. At this point of maximum tautness the necessary "justesse" is present. authenticity. in effect. It is. The motif of "justesse". nor is it "true" according to any ordinary understanding of the term. crucial. a magical tight-rope walk between what are seen. though uncontrollable. dans une oeuvre 6meut sans duperie". The image is neither "real". the one being modified by a shift in the other. perhaps in immediate appearance only tenuously existent."6* A process of braking66 and validation is engendered. If the image draws its strength from maximum distance. but one which embraces them in an understanding of their unique and paradoxically liberating properties." the poet finally depends upon the reader.

1. 17. 1040 (Apr. Meroure de France. 223: "J'ai trouve ma poesie danB le reve et. The Poetic Theory of Pierre Reverdy (Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. p. despite the strong. 1921). Jacoottet. 11 Cf. 672. Cf. not to overlook the tentative and tenuous nature of aesthetic theory. En Vroc. 1948 (1970 edn). of Alabama Press. Dupin. 1967). 1971). of word-world (and self) relationships. de former a sa guise et non de se laisser mener. 74. Flammarion. despite its inner paradoxes—i. "Une aventure methodique": ". What is essential to observe here is that. to deem Reverdy's t. L'Egprit Nouveau.. ' In effeot surprisingly few oritios have systematically examined either Reverdy's conception of the image or even the imagery of hiB own poetry. • "L'esthetique et l'esprit". p. Monaco: Editions du Rooher. mon soutien le plus BUT dans la realite". 1939). Vol. Suoh a narrowing of perspective leads him. II Cf. 1950). 6. p. No. dans ma poesie. p.Vimking with regard to the dream ambiguous (op. Robert Greene's book. oit. • Cf. offers a solid and cogent general assessment. de subir aveuglement et de suivre la pente" {Mercure de France (July 1963). but permits an occurring.org by guest on February 5. 384). But we have had to wait until quite recent years for any extensive appraisal of theory of metaphonc style. No pagination. 688. Other essays may be allusive but remain quite incomplete in any assessment of image theory.). p. search. equilibrium. 2011 . muoh more deep-rootedly. Anthony Rizzuto's study. 15 Such a self-reflexive metaphoncity functions at many levels. 4 (Jan--Mar. T'art etant precisement le contraire de la nature. . Pans: Imprimerie Litteraire. tension. oit. also Le Livre de mon Bord. Reverdy's notion of dream is. op. de vouloir. The true functioning of the mind lies at a point where "undergoing" and "being penetrated" are tempered with voluntary forming and appropriation. pp. "L'esthetique et l'espnt". p. whilst being phenomenal. although blind submission is. Attention may be drawn to the poetio mind's metaphono way of being in a mixture of mild overtness and massive "demonstrative" metaphonsing—in a poem like "La tete pleine de beaute" (Flaques de Verre. 156. Style and Theme in Reverdy'a Lea Ardoisea du Toil. 673. Reverdy's essay on Matisse (Note Eternelle du Prisent.. But.p. Flammanon. of Calif. • Ibid.oxfordjournals. the notion of "undergoing" mental experience is dearly not rejected by the imagination. Le Livre de mon Bord.33 FOOTNOTES Le Livre de mon Bord. 6 (Mar. Coll. Breton. (Univ. No. p. 11 Self-Defence (n. Verve. p. . the very overall structuring of imaginative motifs in Reverdy's poetry (going forth. is at the same time creatively self-reflexive. welcoming in-coming phenomena or gestures of contact. Any examination of Reverdy'a own imagery (particularly if phenomenological in orientation) would. . Etudes Superieures. Robert Greene also quotes the passage from Self-Defence. • Cf. Pans: Bordas. Le Livre de mon Bord. p. 134-5). oubher que le propre de l'espnt est de guider. Mercure de France. compensatory or swinging movement. . but rather underplays its significance. I Downloaded from fmls.. 10 Pierre Caminade's analysis of Reverdy's aesthetics is oddly limited for the most part to Le Qant de Crin. 1970) centres upon the image and incorporates its findings (gleaned from a very limited number of texts) into a generally perspicacious overall post-Mallarmean moaaio of image and metaphor theory. a springing-up of oircumstances which may thus be welcomed and utilised. not completely unexpectedly. In Reverdy's work generally the "perhaps" assumes a significant role. 1973. presents a good exposition of oertarn styhstio mechanisms governing Reverdy's own effective use of imagery. • "La fonotion poetique". 113. of self-world relationships. lucidly polyvalent and contextually definable. 176. Pierre Caminade's analysis (Image et Mttaphore. but analysis is restricted to the one early collection.e. Burgart and da Bouchet have similarly expressed a deep-rooted and admiring fascination. too. No.) also points to a functioning of the poetry at a "referential" level which. It is important. • Cf. 17)—oaught. p. Press. positive role attributed to the mind's guidance and farming. u It is useful to quote in this regard a passage from Reverdy's essay on Braque. • Self-Defence. 1919. presumably unwittingly and lmpotently. however. je ne voudrais pas . Moreover. 160-1) shows that will does not just involve an out-going. En Vrac. etc. pp. 131 and "Le poete seoret et le monde exteneur". 672-3. 1972. between negative and positive oonnotations. p. it depends who is "dreaming" and in what overall oiroumstances and "intention". Aragon and Tzara were drawn over the years to value his ideas and admire his creative work.

171-2) briefly bnt observantly relates metaphor to "the quest for unity" and brings out a certain paradoxicality in the question of selfworld union. 689. the oritio would be "reduced" to intuition? It is for consideration? of this order that we might think that the most solidly grounded work on Beverdy's imagery is to be achieved either along structuralist lines (whioh. II est dans le monde. are "distance" or "justesse" to be judged? And are those notions not only subjectively gauged. 674. might tend to establish ontena different from Reverdy's own). /De l'Ordre et de 1'Aventure .34 in our view. present in germ in earlier texts. Image creee de rapports justeaentre ce monde insensible et lui!" Robert Greene quotes this passage and oonoludes: "Nowhere else does Reverdy dwell on man's capacity to 'absorb' the world. after all. it is true. the metaphono presenoe is somewhat less obvious.. 1964) and Roger Cardinal ("Pierre Reverdy and the reality of signs". 1917). 162-3: "C'est grace aux mots. that many ontios inadvisedly claim that Reverdy's work reveals a general lack of imagery. 1 (June 1933). " Anthony Rizzuto (op. 191. cit. have to remain extremely sensitive to such considerations. although. Many oritics have therefore considered Reverdy's poems to be "notations" of a fragmentary but merely direct order. The passages quoted here adjust. Certainly much of Reverdy's prose writing (poems and short stones) is intensely. » En Vrac. as suggested however. pp. of course. p. " "La fonction poetique". u Cf. What. op. " "L'emotion". En Vrac. is that a Reverdyan image may often extend over the whole poem and yet refuse to indicate the secondary metaphono pole of its compari or any specific ground. A straightforward confrontation of theory and practice to assess the degree of their convergence would. Nord-Sud. oit. the "arbitrary". Flammarion. " As suoh it may be deemed part of what Apollinaire called "oette longue querelie . preferably (for m this way the full "flavour" of theory in poetry would be brought out). are perhaps not stable. o'est grace au langage. et il s'y meut et ll y vaino grace a 1'image qu'il s'en fait. by adopting a phenomenological approach (which would willingly incorporate the imaginative motifs of theory into those of the poetry). oit. 6. " En Vrac. but muoh remains to be accomplished if the full measure of Reverdy's own imagery is to be felt. u En Vrac. 190-1. . The latter point has been shrewdly commented by Jean-Pierre Riohard (Onze Etudes tur la Poisie moderne. 64). pp. a structuralist-formalist approach would demand a considerable degree of independence for the proper development of its arguments.org by guest on February 5. p. How.. le monde insensible. p.. is perhaps only fully revealed in texts published after 1948—whioh would account for the fact that Greene is able to quote Emma Stojkovio in apparent support of his olaim. to give it meaning with words and metaphors". 10 Cf. Le Livre de mon Bord. cit. Seuil. between comparant and compari. "Note etemelle du present". but not alwayB and not obviously (very often subhminally. 161. too. this imbalance. p. p. op. been done. p. in Order and Adventure in Post-Romantic French Poetry. "L'esthetique et l'espnt". but also constantly shifting (even with the individual) in time. riohly metaphono—and quite observably so. 6. 11 Cf. 2011 . 8 (Oct. 44. however..oxfordjournals. Geneva: Georg. be difficult to validate objectively. op. "La fonotion poetique". I believe. Certain poems may supply belatedly (thus drawing out in a novel way the "distance" between poles) a compari. " Cf.. A remarkable statement in many regards to apply to such a theorist. We should strongly argue that Reverdy's whole aesthetio-criticaJ output works powerfully and consciously against suoh misinterpretation. Vol. Our argument is intended to remedy this neglect of an important aspect of Reverdy's aesthetics whioh. Blackwell. it is hoped. 1966. 38. Afinotaure. It will be important to remember. the "phantaamagorical". . " Cf. 689. (p. or. it is nevertheless partially understandable. Some good. particularly by Anthony Rizzuto. However. so that the "surprising". No. p. Mortimer Guiney suggests (La Poisie de Pierre Reverdy. pp. o'est grace aux images que l'homme B'appropne le monde exteneur. because of the discontinuous syntax). for example. 1. p. 1968. 11 Cf. No. verifiable entities or criteria—like the artist. 1973). but limited work has. Downloaded from fmls. in much of his verse poetry (especially pre--Ferrotfle). is frequently overlooked. L* Gant de Grin. 29) that Reverdy's conception of the image is in itself indicative of the "importance" attached to the phenomenal world.

Caminade suggests that the final difference separating the conceptions of the two poets resides in the stress placed by Breton upon the arbitrary. They lie in then* separate views of what a poem may be. oit. L'Arche. p. op.: "La duree d'interet d'une oeuvre est peut-etre en raison directe de l'inexplioable qu'elle renferme. for example. Le Livre de mon Bord.p. In the Braque essay Reverdy also speaks of the illumination received from the image's "surnaturel eclat". ibid. p. the explosiveness and independent gushing forth associated with the image's formation. 6. The "pull" of "justesse" exerted upon the image is. 7. p. 32.p. 2011 . 8. ibid. p.org by guest on February 5. This is not entirely true. 38. pp. Pierre Reverdy no doubt never considered the mind to be engaging in a fully rational process of evaluation and verification of the irrational—the notions of ohance. For Breton does not quibble with speoifio images of Reverdy's poetry. etc.. Self-Defence (n. *» Cf. p. 238. 41 Cf. « Cf. Le Livre de mon Bord. p. p. 94-5. Le Oant de Crin. 4.. Nouvelle Revue Francaise. Caminade draws our attention to Jean Rioardou's notion of "le point oommun' between "compare" and "comparant" (p. M Cf. 12. 36. p. the foreseeable and the contrived in the image are as unpalatable to Pierre Reverdy as to Andre Breton. p. " In his first Manifesto Andre Breton questions the possibility that the mind may seize in full consciousness at the moment of their formation the relationships posited by the image. p. Le Oant de Crtn. related to the intuitively seizing and synthesizing gesture of the mind and tends to counterbalance the "pull" of arbitrariness and chance arrival m a spontaneous and taut reconoihation of what perhaps only appear to be contraries. u En Vrac. 1924. 11 Le Oant de Crin. Le Livre de mon Bord. ibid. whioh are then only very rarely touohed up. cit. that permeate his aesthetics. Self-Defence (n. "Note eternelle du present". oit. "surreakste chez lui". 41 Cf. Cf. 176. Cf.. must be taken to indicate a certain olosenoss of thinking that neither poet perhaps fully appreciated. subordinate themselves to the "needs of the poem as a whole). Reverdy is. p. 36. namely "antinaturel". p. p.). 7. The difference between Breton and Reverdy arises rather from Breton's view that Reverdy's aesthetics reposes on a basis of o posteriori selection via whioh the poetio merit of the image is assessed. 4i "La fonction poetique". intuition. Moreover. Reverdy's conception of the image warmly and luoidly embraces both factors and his thinking remains incomplete with the omission of either. p. •• Cf. 44 and En Vrac. 4t Pablo ptcasto. Le Livre de mon Bord. 33. 90). p. Suoh texts varyingly point to the spontaneity. ** Cf. op. ibid. 686.oxfordjournals. the Reverdyan "perhaps". 41 Cf. as we hope to have finally shown. p. op. cit. "Ciroonatances de la poesie". "Ciroonstances de la poesie". 1946). by Reverdy upon the notion of "justesse". 156 and En Vrac.. a third realm is founded in a new "here" where the image proper aimumna life. then. p. u Circonstances de la poesie". 152. And didn't Mallarme speak of a "tiers aspect fusible et olaix"? Downloaded from fmls. op. " Cf. Certainly any final relational equilibrium is instantaneously achieved—the premeditated. " Cf. for. Inexplicable ne veut pas dire incomprehensible!" Let us not overlook. 21 (Nov. oit. that Breton ultimately uses phrasing almost identical to that of Reverdys' original definition to speak of the mind's seizing oapaoity in the image formation prooess. Their differences are revealed on the somewhat inflexible platform of pubho debate.. p. In this regard it is worth noting that Reverdy onoe or twice refers to the spontaneous gushing forth of his poems (not merely of the images whioh. "Ciroonstances de la poesie".. in their separate resolution of the question of the poet's right to reject what is constituted as image by the mind—at whatever stage of the image's formation or being. We should not overlook the faot that "sumaturel" is also very close to Reverdy's synonym for artistic. m fact. p. 7. No. op. ** Cf. 44 Cf. " Cf. Le Oant de Crin.).35 ** Cf. Terms like "surnaturel" provide the basis for Caminade's (and others') argument that Reverdy's aesthetics and religious thinking tend to merge. Pierre Caminade deals fairly extensively with the Breton-Reverdy "debate" and shows. once more. " En Vrac. with Alquie. 5. indeed... 12.

is overly negative. 1970. especially. Le Livre de mon Bord. ibid. the notion of "justesse" is to be quite widely. 1918). 16 (Oct. ibid. o'est de decider. op. clou de diamant. Le Gant de Crin. oit. ibid. vertigineuse pesee des forces ennemies. ] Toi.. parure des oiels oloues BUT les poutres de 1'innni.. In one of his Picasso essays Reverdy also links fantasy and surprise to disequilibrium (Note EterneUe du Priaent. 110). Excessiveness in any direction. 385. too. 1962. H y a dono une mysteneuse hmite que l'esprit doit savoir atteindre et ne pas depasser.. Chemins meles dans le fracas des ohevelures. ll se sent enchatme". 13 (Mar. Reverdy's essay on Gargallo is lndioative: ". p. oit. M Cf.. and Le Gant de Crin. the basis for Reverdy's overall "logio" of the image is.oxfordjournals. p. 1988. pp. 9: "L'amour du vrai pousse & fond en art le nie et le detruit. TTi» stress. "Cinematographe". 24. 36. " Cf. It is interesting to note an unexpected self-reflexive touch m a line from "Les amants reguhers" where excessive distanoe is linked to brutality of comparison: "On va cheroher bien loin les oomparaisons brutales" (B%sques et PirUa. oit. though in different wayB. 3. Nord-Sud. 30 and p. No. . stabilizing function must prevail in order to reconoile the swinging. 3. . 197). 112. "Ciroonstanoes de la poesie". 30. that the mind iteelf is deemed to be a locus where opposing forces are at play and where its pivotal. 31-2.. Une aventure methodique". •• The notion of equilibrium appeals greatly to Reverdy's imagination. p. 1971. it would seem. oit. Gallimard. 32. 31. si Gargallo eat habile. oonoentrating upon its presence in contemporary poetic theory. purete. p. 30. •* Cf. " It is useful to note in connection with these notions of tautness and equilibrium. " Cf. already laid. l'artiste—trop le pervertit—trop peu le gene et le reduit a l'impuiasance ("L'ongmahte de Gargallo". En Vrac. pivot eblouissant du flux et du reflux de ma pensee dans les hgnes du monde". op. (Flaquea de Verre. Cinq Grandes Ode*. in Note EterneUe du Priaent. p. 135). •• Cf. for example. p. p. 103). in any oontext. ll a cette habilete des grands artistes qui consiste a etre juste a la mesure des besoms et des faoultes lnteneures d'expression. 167. The concluding lines of "La tete pleine de beaute" (in which "toi" is equated to mind) express much of this: "Toi. 8. Paris: Tenade. Le Qant de Crin. 60). Flammanon. M Pierre Caminade suggests that the braking is to avoid temptation and vertigo (op. . M Cf. GaUimard. La Semaiton. Le Gant de Crin. Plafond des idees contradiotoires. " Georges Braque. p. But Reverdy has already recognized the role of the inexplicable in Self-Defence (1919) and the function of surprise in art in Nord-Sud (1918). GaUimard. Although the references are generally applicable to art and not speoifio to the image. Trop d'habilete ou trop peu gate. in our view. He particularly relates its function to the question of an art-nature homologouaness in the writings of Roger Caillois about poetry and Perse. 20)—which the surrealists tend to welcome.org by guest on February 5. 1918). to Jaccottet's view of the necessity of non-excessivenesa. No. chaque fois qu'il pique dans l'erreur. p. 10 Cf. . 1955. p. la pince aux sources de la vie qui maintient l'exacte tension". Le Qant de Crin. of the desirability of the tensions of contradictions (of. p. p. p. 72). 2011 . [ . Fureur et Mysttre.. /Elle est la regie de vie. p. Nord-Sud. 23-4. p. " "L'Image". for example. pp. 20). M Ibid. as opposed to "arbitraire".. to Char's expansion of the thinking of Heraclitua with regard to the resolution of contraries in "antiphysical" harmony and poetic truth (of." u Cf. .. 6. op. p. and "L'Image". p. ibid. ibid. Cf. " Cf. Toi. Chaque fois que l'esprit prend une decision juste. p. •• Cf. M Au Soleil du Plafond. 11 Downloaded from fmls. elle est la forme de l'etre. ll se hbere. 174: "La vie libre de l'esprit. p. Surely. 17 Cf. is baneful.36 " Cf. p. Robert Greene suggests that in Le Lime de mon Bord Reverdy is "perhaps belatedly echoing Bretoirs 1924 manifesto" with his recognition of the role of arbitrariness and surprise in the miage's fabrication. p. Pierre Caminade devotes a useful section of his book Image et Mitaphore to the notion of "justesse". "tidal" movements affecting it. related to—for example—Claudel's conception of "Temperance" ("Elle eat la mesure oreatrice.

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