Faire de l'original à tout prix

Title: Faire de l'original à tout prix
Source document: Études romanes de Brno. 2013, vol. 34, iss. 1, pp. [67]-78
  • ISSN
    1803-7399 (print)
    2336-4416 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

In a letter to his sister, Jules Laforgue declared that he "had but one single aim: to be original at all costs in his "little fantasy poems"", which he was writing at the time. Indeed the innovative features are to be found aplenty in Les Complaintes, which show a distinctly provocative streak in the many forms of transgression which they contain. These can have a musical dimension, playing on the rules of pronunciation – rules on pronouncing the final -e are regularly flouted, using highly colloquial pronunciation, noted by the spelling, quite out of place in a poetic text. The transgressions also concern intertextuality and cultural references which are treated with disrespect, for example parodying sacred texts. But what marks Laforgue out as original and an opponent of tradition is without doubt his singular treatment of vocabulary. He does not hesitate to use down-to-earth or even gross language, which is quite incongruous in poetry, but he also coins new words, in particular blends and extremely curious flexional neologisms. He also uses conventional words in a most unconventional manner both for their meaning and their collocations, thus producing strange and striking associations. It should be stressed that these innovations are by no means the result of any ignorance or disregard of the rules but on the contrary come from a deliberate ploy to transgress and to turn to derision, which was part and parcel of Laforgue's aesthetic stance.