Poetics Of The Pretext
Poetics of the Pretext is an original study of the French poet Lautréamont (1846-1870), who was rediscovered by the Surrealists in the 1920s and promoted to the vanguard of theoretical debate by the 'Telquelists' of the 1960s, but whose work has remained largely ignored or misinterpreted beyond a small circle of enthusiasts.
Poetics of the Pretext analyses closely the texts, pretexts and intertexts of this innovative poet, bringing Les Chants de Maldoror and Poésies to the foreground of contemporary critical debates around poetics, genre, intertextuality and influence. This book will make a major contribution to our understanding not only of the work of Lautréamont but also to the function of originality, imitation and plagiarism in the nineteenth century.
"The main focus here, . . . Is the Bloomian concept of the anxiety of influence in its six forms. Literary theory is combined with literary history of the period round Poésies in ways which will offer new approaches to the study of intertextuality. In particular, the treatment of the elision in Lautréamont of creativity with plagiarism may offer a way of reading late twentieth-century production of text, including critical theory." (Forum for Modern Language Studies, Vol. 35, No. 4, 1999) "Roland-François Lack…proves himself to be not only a fine sleuth, learned and thorough, but also a clever exegete and theorist." (New Zealand Journal of French Studies, Vol. 20, No. 1, 1999)
Roland-François Lack is Lecturer in French at University College London.