La Poésie du maquis: Le Lieu dans 'Fureur et mystère' de René Char

Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2012

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Romance Languages and Literature: French Language and Literature

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



The Poetry of the Maquis examines the important ways in which René Char's decision to maintain a complete editorial silence until the Liberation drastically changed the meaning of his wartime poetry. A consideration of the many literary and political contexts of the Occupation along with a careful study of the poet's intricate use of personal pronouns, reveal parallels between the maquis and poetic texts as places of relentless insubordination. Chapter 1 shows how the poet's editorial silence indicates both an uncompromising refusal on his part to pursue authorized and clandestine channels of publication, and his complete unwillingness to support those ideological and political demands the poetic production of the Occupation put on the reader. By comparing the poet's statements to related historical documents and studies, Chapter 2 next demonstrates that Char refused his dual role as military commander in an increasingly hierarchical structure and as heir to a long poetic tradition, but instead doggedly persisted in seeing the maquis and poetry as pledges of individual freedom. Chapter 3 examines how Char's wartime poetic discourse establishes the maquis as a heterotopic (cf. Foucault) anthropological space. A close analysis of the poet's retrospective writings reveals his awareness of the performative function of his poetry. The final chapter discusses Char's celebration of vulnerability. The bold and risky hospitality shown to him and his comrades by villagers is viewed by the poet as a fierce resistance to Vichy's domineering violation of their privacy. In the process, their resistance becomes a model for a poetic language that Char then offers to his readers as a welcoming and reassuring space, as a kind of discursive temporary shelter from fear and harm. As a result, this study argues against the problematic anthologization o fFureur et mystèreas an example of poésie de résistance. Instead, it defines this essential part of Char's work as an idiosyncratic form of literature which stands alone at the crossroads of lyrical, autobiographical, epidictic, and pamphletary discourses.


French (fr)

Chair and Committee

Stamos Metzidakis

Committee Members

Colette Winn, Lionel Cuillé, Ifri Pascal, Pascale Perraudin, Joseph Schraibman, Julie Singer


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K77H1GHG

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