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Poets as Readers in Nineteenth-Century France

Critical Reflections
Edited by Joseph Acquisto, Adrianna M. Paliyenko, and Catherine Witt
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Institute of Modern Languages Research


This volume of essays focuses on how poets approach reading as a notion and a practice that both inform their writing and their relationship to their readers. The nineteenth century saw a broadened and increasingly self-conscious concern with reading as an interpretive and political act, with significant implications for poets' individual practice, which they often forged in dialogue with other poets and artists of the time. Covering the 1830s to the late 1990s, a period rich in poetic innovation, the essays examine a wide range of authors and their diverse approaches to reading as inscribed in - and related to - creative writing, and articulate the many ways in which reading developed as an active engagement key to the critical thought that drove poetic creation at the dawn of aesthetic modernity.
Joseph Acquisto is Professor of French at the University of Vermont. Adrianna M. Paliyenko is the Charles A. Dana Professor of French at Colby College, Maine. Catherine Witt is Associate Professor of French at Reed College, Oregon (USA).

Table of contents

Joseph Acquisto, Adrianna Paliyenko and Catherine Witt

 1. ‘Cet ami qui prête des livres’: Mallarmé and the Practice of Reading
Rosemary Lloyd

 2. ‘Elle avait pour la lecture une véritable passion’: Book Culture and Reading in Amable Tastu
Aimée Boutin

 3. Reckless Reading in Nerval’s ‘Les Nuits d’octobre’
Ellen S. Burt

 4. Better Well Hung Than Ill-Wed: Sighting Cythera
Timothy Raser

 5. Judgment and Satire in Baudelaire’s ‘Au Lecteur’
Catherine Witt

 6. Gautier on Baudelaire: Lessons from Hawthorne
Joseph Acquisto

 7. ‘I turned to look at you to read my thoughts upon your face’: Baudelaire’s readers transposed
Helen Abbott

8. Zut pictura poesis: Lyric Relations and Legacies in Coin de table and ‘Le Sonnet du Trou du cul’
Robert St. Clair

 9. The ‘Zutiste’ and the Parnassian: Verlaine as Reader of Coppée
Nicolas Valazza

 10. Illumining the Critical Reader in the Poet: Malvina Blanchecotte and Louise Ackermann
Adrianna M. Paliyenko

 11. Tough Crowd: The Perils of Reading Poetry Aloud, or How Literary Value is Negotiated Through Performance
David Evans

 12. Reading as a Desperate Practice
Kevin Newmark