Alix, tome 22 : La chute d'Icare by Rafael Morales, Jacques Martin

By Rafael Morales, Jacques Martin

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He remains in the house as a kind of living museum exhibit, curled up on a pedestal, beautiful of feature but hampered by "something blackish that winds several times round [his] limbs, like a thick serpent" (14). This appendage is particularly troublesome at meals, especially since he is obliged to sit next to "a tall beautifully proportioned girl" (14). At this point, Jeanne Duval makes a noise in the room and Baudelaire's dream is over. 23 Butor's brilliant application of this dream to the poet's life and work cannot be followed step by step here, but some of the major themes, as he develops them, may be singled out as of particular interest not only to the study of Baudelaire but to the study of Butor, as he has hinted in the final sentences of the book: "Certains estimeront peutetre que, desirant parler de Baudelaire, je n'ai reussi a parler que de moimeme.

233) There seems, then, every reason to believe that for Butor Baudelaire is one of those very intercessors whose role in the poet's artistic and spiritual life Histoire Extraordinaire so admirably exposes: a "mirror of what he will be" (132), an "ideal image of himself'' (143), not in the tragic shambles of his life but in the poetry to which it gave tongue and in the dedication to art of which it was the ransom. Saluting Baudelaire as a pivotal figure ("le pivot autour duquel la poesie tourne pour devenir moderne") Butor emphasizes that: 25 Le coeur meme de la pensee de Baudelaire est cette prise de conscience de la poesie Baudelaire ne se contente pas de fabriquer des poemes et de les mettre en vente comme des objets d'art; il n'est pas seulement poete, il est critique, et grand critique de lui-meme; il ne lui suffit pas de commencer a comprendre lui-meme ce qu'il fait, il lui est necessaire d'essayer de le faire comprendre a autrui, d'essayer de donner a autrui le mode d'emploi de sa poesie, d'aider autrui a en faire une lecture correcte et entierement fructueuse.

The meaning of a poem cannot be separated from it; it is immanent. 28 La Musique, art realiste The paradox is bold almost to the point of crudeness, but "La Musique, art realiste" (R2 27-42) effectively underlines the limiting nature of the conventional interpretation of realism (the source of our initial shock). This accounts for the fact, Butor argues, that, while it is almost universally acknowledged that all painting and poetry have a precise historical meaning and situation, the representative capacity of music remains underestimated or even denied.

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