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Robert St. Clair - Lecture and Workshop

A Poetics of the Common: Baudelaire ‘with’ Rimbaud
November 16, 2017 - 11:45am to November 17, 2017 - 11:45am

Lecture: Lind Hall 320

Workshop: Folwell Hall 307-B

Lecture - Thursday, November 16, 4:00-5:30pm, Lind Hall 320

Workshop - Friday, November 17 1:00-2:30pm, Folwell Hall 307-B

If it is the case, as Jonathan Culler has recently suggested, that we can think of the lyric as an epideictic (rather than a merely mimetic) literary mode; that is, a mode of producing value or presenting truth-claims, then perhaps we need to evaluate the kind of ontological and epistemological claims the ecopoetic in the 19th-century lyric allows us to advance: what kind of insights it may or may not entail about what it is to be rooted in shared worlds and narratives, in an oikos or web-of-life. Such is perhaps one of the core stakes of thinking the ecopoetic from any perspective: namely, it enjoins us to attend to interweaving problems and forms of materiality; to a ecology of the linguistic, corporeal, social and historical whose intersections in literary texts often resist easy synopsis and legibility.

For this talk, I propose to explore some avenues into the materiality of the lyric that the ecological – that is, the relation of poetry to worldliness, to relationality and embodiment – might signpost. For we find in Baudelaire and Rimbaud different iterations of something we might theoretically put under the rubric of a lyrical materialism, or a poetics of the common that Rimbaud formally derives yet epistemologically distances himself from in Baudelaire: a writing and a thinking that is attentive to and scrutinizes the multifarious, strange, creative, and estranging ways that human beings are incorporated into an ici-bas, into worlds that we inspect, interrogate, produce and transform in ways both wild and mild.

Bio:

Robert St. Clair received his PhD from the University of Minnesota and is currently assistant professor of French at Dartmouth College. He has authored numerous studies on nineteenth- century French poetry, literature and culture and is particularly interested in the theoretical stakes involved in thinking the socio-cultural and historical materiality of aesthetic forms and practices. He is the co-editor-in-chief of Parade sauvage (Paris: Garnier), the international journal of  Rimbaud studies and is the author of a book-length study on the utopian politics of the body in the works of Arthur Rimbaud.

Refreshments will be served at both events