Henri Michaux: Poetry, Painting, and the Universal Sign by Margaret Rigaud-Drayton

By Margaret Rigaud-Drayton

Henri Michaux is well known as a huge twentieth-century French poet and painter. even if his fascination with common languages has attracted the eye of numerous of his critics, it has up before been handled as a marginal trouble. Henri Michaux: Poetry, portray, and the common signal argues that his principles on what may perhaps represent a common language are critical to an figuring out of his works. It means that either his ambivalent articulation of his courting to the languages and literary traditions of his local Belgium and adoptive France, and his efforts concurrently to exacerbate and subvert the diversities among phrases and pictures, are rooted in Enlightenment theories of the connection of the self to nature and its language Rigaud-Drayton's research makes a considerable and unique contribution to the research of this advanced artist, exploring the complicated relationships among notice and snapshot in his poetry and work, and his quest for a unmarried, unifying language or signal.

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Additional info for Henri Michaux: Poetry, Painting, and the Universal Sign (Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs)

Sample text

To be or not to be’ is beside the point if being merges with non-being. Reduced to a deceptive whiff, or indeed to a misleading myth, the self defies conventional linguistic expression. Attempts to define it merely exhibit the inability of words to deal with what escapes readymade categories, as the furiously italicized but flatly inexpressive ‘il s’agit du de ce que’ suggests, for all its open-ended vagueness. Unable to think of anything but that wind-like self, yet not confident that his thoughts on the subject can be verbalized, Michaux confronts the failure of solipsistic writing in ‘Toujours son ‘‘Moi’’’.

33 But Michaux continued to believe that ontogeny recapitulated philogeny long after most of his contemporaries had ceased to do so. 34 Indeed, on the road to humanity, children, for him, are lost in a primordial state of nature: his fascination in the same work with what he calls ‘l’enfant-singe du Burundi’ is telling, as is 30 31 32 33 34 Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, 54. See Michaux, OC i. 118, 713, and 447; and ii. 43 and 126. Georges Bataille, ‘L’Art primitif ’, Documents, 7 (1930), 389–97.

Cxxxiv. 22 michaux between france and belgium 1922, Bruxelles Lecture de Maldoror. Sursaut . . qui bientoˆt de´clenche en lui le besoin, longtemps oublie´, d’e´crire. 1925 Klee, puis Ernst, Chirico . . Extreˆme surprise. Jusque-la` il haı¨ssait la peinture et le fait meˆme de peindre, ‘comme s’il n’y avait pas encore assez de re´alite´, de cette abominable re´alite´, pensait-il. 55 But his first encounter with Klee, Ernst, and di Chirico does not merely expand on his discovery of Lautre´amont’s Chants de Maldoror.

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