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Toward a New Poetics

Contemporary Writing in France

Serge Gavronsky (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 372 pages
ISBN: 9780520087934
December 1994
$36.95, £31.00
A quiet revolution is taking place in avant-garde French poetry and prose. In this collection of twelve interviews with some of France's most important poets and writers, Serge Gavronsky introduces American readers to these exciting new developments.

As Gavronsky explains, a neolyricism is now replacing the formalism of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. In his substantial introduction, Gavronsky notes how the ideological definition of writing (écriture) has given way to more open forms of writing. Human experiences of the most ordinary kinds are finding a place in the text.

These interviews offer a view of the poets' and writers' creative processes and range over such topics as current literary theory, the impact of American poetry in France, and the place of feminism in contemporary French writing. Each interview is accompanied by samples of the writer's work in French and in Gavronsky's English translations.

Toward a New Poetics provides a highly informative cultural and critical perspective on contemporary writing in France, introducing us to works which are now transforming the idea of literature itself.
Writers interviewed:
Michel Deguy
Joseph Guglielmi
Claude Royet-Journoud
Jacqueline Risset
Jean-Jacques Viton
Jean Frémon
Emmanuel Hocquard
Marcelin Pleynet
Jacques Roubaud
Liliane Giraudon
Leslie Kaplan
Maurice Roche
Serge Gavronsky is Professor of French at Barnard College, Columbia University. He is the author of numerous creative and critical works and is a well-known translator of contemporary French poetry.
"Timely and provocative. . . . A pioneer work both in its format and in the range of authors it presents. I came away with an enlarged sense of the French cultural scene and the vitality of the players."—Richard Macksey, author of The Structuralist Controversy

"Constitutes a definitive poetics for the recent generation of French poets. The interviews one finds here (and Gavronsky's excellent introduction) will be as important a document of postwar French writing as Symonds' The Symbolist Movement in Literature was for the age of Eliot."—Michael Davidson, author of The San Francisco Renaissance

"This is the best and only introduction to the latest and most interesting literary experimentation in France. Through thoughtful interviews with the authors and a short selection of their work we come to know them intimately and we get a good overall sense of the direction present day French Literature is taking."—Sydney Lévy, editor of SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism

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