Catalogue


Literary polemics : Bataille, Sartre, Valéry, Breton /
Suzanne Guerlac.
imprint
Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1997.
description
294 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0804727155 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1997.
isbn
0804727155 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
1559886
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [271]-281) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
During the 1960's and 1970's, the eruption of theory was presented as an epistemic break, reorganizing the field of questioning both prospectively and retrospectively. In the forefront of this new movement was the influential journal Tel Quel, which both canonized a body of preferred avant-garde texts (both literary and theoretical) and nullified prominent figures from preceding generations. In a broad remapping of French modernism, this book shows how the milieu of Tel Quel transferred myths of the powers of literature inherited from Bataille, Sartre, Valery, and Breton to theory, in the process erasing the traces of these myths and their common ground. The author analyzes cultural and theoretical positionspure art, automatism, engagement, and transgressionthat structured the literary and critical field from the 1920's to the 1950's to show their strong impact on the formulation and elaboration of theoretical issues in more recent decades. Focusing on the question of relations between poetry and action, she reexamines these positions and uncovers proximities between them that significantly displace theoretical issues. These proximities emerge when a philosophical subtext of Bergsonantiphilosopher and nondialectical thinkeris revealed to operate alongside the more obvious subtext of Hegel. The discourse of Bergson shifts the category of action central to these literary polemics and revalues the visual register, suggesting a reconsideration of Surrealism. The book concludes by examining the ideological pressures associated with the eclipse of the discourse of Bergson as well as some of the effects of this erasure on our understanding of the modern as distinct from the postmodern.
Flap Copy
During the 1960's and 1970's, the eruption of theory was presented as an epistemic break, reorganizing the field of questioning both prospectively and retrospectively. In the forefront of this new movement was the influential journal Tel Quel, which both canonized a body of preferred avant-garde texts (both literary and theoretical) and nullified prominent figures from preceding generations. In a broad remapping of French modernism, this book shows how the milieu of Tel Quel transferred myths of the powers of literature inherited from Bataille, Sartre, Valery, and Breton to theory, in the process erasing the traces of these myths and their common ground. The author analyzes cultural and theoretical positions--pure art, automatism, engagement, and transgression--that structured the literary and critical field from the 1920's to the 1950's to show their strong impact on the formulation and elaboration of theoretical issues in more recent decades. Focusing on the question of relations between poetry and action, she reexamines these positions and uncovers proximities between them that significantly displace theoretical issues. These proximities emerge when a philosophical subtext of Bergson--antiphilosopher and nondialectical thinker--is revealed to operate alongside the more obvious subtext of Hegel. The discourse of Bergson shifts the category of action central to these literary polemics and revalues the visual register, suggesting a reconsideration of Surrealism. The book concludes by examining the ideological pressures associated with the eclipse of the discourse of Bergson as well as some of the effects of this erasure on our understanding of the modern as distinct from the postmodern.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-02:
Adding to such recent treatments of Tel Quel as Danielle Marx-Scouras's The Cultural Politics of Tel Quel (CH, Sep'97), Guerlac (Emory Univ.), author of The Impersonal Sublime: Hugo, Baudelaire, Lautreamont (1990), rereads texts not canonized by Tel Quel, especially Henri Bergson's, to reconstruct the lost common ground of the incompatible voices of Sartre, Valery, and Breton. Part 1, an analysis of the centrality of "transgression," includes readings of Georges Bataille's L'Erotisme and Julia Kristeva's La revolution du langage poetique, emphasizing the latter author's importance to theory. Part 2 analyzes the theoretical positions of engagement, pure art, and automatism in relation to their common thread of poetry versus action. Here, Guerlac's readings of Sartre, Valery, and Breton in proximity to one another reveal diminished oppositions and unmask the importance of the effaced discourse of Bergson, thus offering a fresh reading alongside the traditional Hegelian one. Part 3 focuses on Bergson's thinking, especially his organization of the issues for the next generation and the effects of the eclipse of Bergson and surrealism on the understanding of modern and postmodern. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates; graduate students; researchers; faculty. J. C. Kohl; emeritus, Dutchess Community College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Guerlac rereads texts not canonized by Tel Quel, especially Henri Bergson's, to reconstruct the lost common ground of the incompatible voices of bataille, Sartre, Valery, and Breton."-- Choice
"Guerlac rereads texts not canonized by Tel Quel, especially Henri Bergson's, to reconstruct the lost common ground of the incompatible voices of bataille, Sartre, Valéry, and Breton." Choice
"This is, without question, a unique and important work, refreshingly uncontaminated by received opinion. Guerlac demonstrates that the work of the journalTel Quelin general (and that of Kristeva in particular)far from constituting the radical break with its philosophical and literary forbears it is usually represented as beingreflects a complex engagement with at least two preceding generations of thinkers. Many readers will be sharply taken aback by what Guerlac has uncovered, and any number of facile assumptions are going to be disturbed."Philip R. Wood, Rice University
"Guerlac rereads texts not canonized byTel Quel, especially Henri Bergson's, to reconstruct the lost common ground of the incompatible voices of bataille, Sartre, Valery, and Breton."Choice
"This is, without question, a unique and important work, refreshingly uncontaminated by received opinion. Guerlac demonstrates that the work of the journal Tel Quelin general (and that of Kristeva in particular)--far from constituting the radical break with its philosophical and literary forbears it is usually represented as being--reflects a complex engagement with at least two preceding generations of thinkers. Many readers will be sharply taken aback by what Guerlac has uncovered, and any number of facile assumptions are going to be disturbed."--Philip R. Wood, Rice University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 1998
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Back Cover Copy
"This is, without question, a unique and important work, refreshingly uncontaminated by received opinion. Guerlac demonstrates that the work of the journal Tel Quel in general (and that of Kristeva in particular)far from constituting the radical break with its philosophical and literary forbears it is usually represented as beingreflects a complex engagement with at least two preceding generations of thinkers. Many readers will be sharply taken aback by what Guerlac has uncovered, and any number of facile assumptions are going to be disturbed."Philip R. Wood, Rice University "Guerlac rereads texts not canonized by Tel Quel, especially Henri Bergson's, to reconstruct the lost common ground of the incompatible voices of bataille, Sartre, Valery, and Breton."Choice
Main Description
During the 1960's and 1970's, the eruption of theory was presented as an epistemic break, reorganizing the field of questioning both prospectively and retrospectively. In the forefront of this new movement was the influential journal Tel Quel, which both canonized a body of preferred avant-garde texts (both literary and theoretical) and nullified prominent figures from preceding generations. In a broad remapping of French modernism, this book shows how the milieu of Tel Queltransferred myths of the powers of literature inherited from Bataille, Sartre, Valery, and Breton to theory, in the process erasing the traces of these myths and their common ground. The author analyzes cultural and theoretical positions--pure art, automatism, engagement, and transgression--that structured the literary and critical field from the 1920's to the 1950's to show their strong impact on the formulation and elaboration of theoretical issues in more recent decades. Focusing on the question of relations between poetry and action, she reexamines these positions and uncovers proximities between them that significantly displace theoretical issues. These proximities emerge when a philosophical subtext of Bergson--antiphilosopher and nondialectical thinker--is revealed to operate alongside the more obvious subtext of Hegel. The discourse of Bergson shifts the category of action central to these literary polemics and revalues the visual register, suggesting a reconsideration of Surrealism. The book concludes by examining the ideological pressures associated with the eclipse of the discourse of Bergson as well as some of the effects of this erasure on our understanding of the modern as distinct from the postmodern.
Main Description
During the 1960's and 1970's, the eruption of theory was presented as an epistemic break, reorganizing the field of questioning both prospectively and retrospectively. In the forefront of this new movement was the influential journal Tel Quel, which both canonized a body of preferred avant-garde texts (both literary and theoretical) and nullified prominent figures from preceding generations. In a broad remapping of French modernism, this book shows how the milieu of Tel Queltransferred myths of the powers of literature inherited from Bataille, Sartre, Valéry, and Breton to theory, in the process erasing the traces of these myths and their common ground. The author analyzes cultural and theoretical positionspure art, automatism, engagement, and transgressionthat structured the literary and critical field from the 1920's to the 1950's to show their strong impact on the formulation and elaboration of theoretical issues in more recent decades. Focusing on the question of relations between poetry and action, she reexamines these positions and uncovers proximities between them that significantly displace theoretical issues. These proximities emerge when a philosophical subtext of Bergsonantiphilosopher and nondialectical thinkeris revealed to operate alongside the more obvious subtext of Hegel. The discourse of Bergson shifts the category of action central to these literary polemics and revalues the visual register, suggesting a reconsideration of Surrealism. The book concludes by examining the ideological pressures associated with the eclipse of the discourse of Bergson as well as some of the effects of this erasure on our understanding of the modern as distinct from the postmodern.
Back Cover Copy
"This is, without question, a unique and important work, refreshingly uncontaminated by received opinion. Guerlac demonstrates that the work of the journal Tel Quel in general (and that of Kristeva in particular)--far from constituting the radical break with its philosophical and literary forbears it is usually represented as being--reflects a complex engagement with at least two preceding generations of thinkers. Many readers will be sharply taken aback by what Guerlac has uncovered, and any number of facile assumptions are going to be disturbed."--Philip R. Wood, Rice University "Guerlac rereads texts not canonized by Tel Quel, especially Henri Bergson's, to reconstruct the lost common ground of the incompatible voices of bataille, Sartre, Valery, and Breton."--Choice
Bowker Data Service Summary
The 1960s and 70s saw the influential journal Tel Quel convey from myth to theory the powers of literature inherited from Bataille, Sartre, Valery and Breton. This study traces the origins of these developments from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
Bataille: The Fiction of Transgressionp. 11
Kristeva: Reconciliations - In Theoryp. 38
Sartre: Reading Engagementp. 57
Valery: The Work of Perfecting and the Chemistry of the Mindp. 95
Breton: Angelic Truthp. 125
The Voluntary and the Automatic: Sartre, Valery, Breton, and Bergsonp. 165
The Politics of Erasure: The Modern and the Postmodernp. 194
Conclusionp. 211
Notesp. 225
Bibliographyp. 271
Indexp. 283
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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