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Mad puns and French poets: visual-verbal punning and 'l'art des fous' in Apollinaire's Calligrammes

Shingler, Katherine

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Abstract

This article examines the use of visual-verbal punning structures in Guillaume Apollinaire's calligrammes, or visual poems. It considers how Apollinaire's mobilization of these punning structures may have emerged out of an interest in ‘l'art des fous’ (art and creative writing by the mentally ill, in which punning was a recurring feature), in psychiatric discourses which insisted on a link between punning and irrationality, and in the work of Jean-Pierre Brisset, whose nonsensical, pun-based theories of evolution made him a living embodiment of that link. It argues that for Apollinaire, the calligramme was an attempt to represent the structures of thought – unfettered, irrational thought – which could not be captured by linear discourse. The article situates this aspect of the calligrammes within the broader context of Apollinaire's primitivism, as expressed in his art criticism, before considering the continuity between Apollinaire's engagement with ‘l'art des fous’ and that of Breton, exploring the ethical implications of an aestheticizing approach to the ‘mad’ or ‘primitive’ work of art.

Citation

Shingler, K. (2014). Mad puns and French poets: visual-verbal punning and 'l'art des fous' in Apollinaire's Calligrammes. Nottingham French Studies, 53(1), https://doi.org/10.3366/nfs.2014.0070

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2013
Publication Date Mar 1, 2014
Deposit Date Jun 10, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 10, 2016
Journal Nottingham French Studies
Print ISSN 0029-4586
Electronic ISSN 2047-7236
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 53
Issue 1
DOI https://doi.org/10.3366/nfs.2014.0070
Keywords Guillaume Apollinaire, André Breton, Jean-Pierre Brisset, Visual poetry, Punning, Simultaneity, Madness, Primitivism, Surrealism, Psychiatry
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/33897
Publisher URL http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/nfs.2014.0070
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information Article has been accepted for publication by Edinburgh University Press in Nottingham French Studies http://www.euppublishin...s/10.3366/nfs.2014.0070 Nottingham French Studies, Volume 53 Issue 1, Page 19-34

c2016 University of Edinburgh Press

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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