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Jules Laforgue: a legacy of paradox

McMahon, Elizabeth Mary (1989) Jules Laforgue: a legacy of paradox. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The two volumes of poetry, "L'Imitation de Notre-Dame la Lune"(1885) and "Des Fleurs de Bonne Volont6"(1886) by Jules Laforgue are the subject of this commentary. The study involves an examination of background, content, themes and structure. Part One, Background, covers Laforgue's life from January 1885 to June 1866. The artistic context of his work is discussed with reference to the practices of the Parnassian poets and "decadents", Impressionism, the philosophy of the Unconscious based on the treatise by Eduard von Hartmann and the newly founded science of psychology. From these influences Laforgue is shown to establish an artistic theory of paradox, ephemerality, and the commonplace. Part Two, Content, explains Laforgue's imagery: sun and moon symbolism; the original Imagery surrounding schoolgirls, Sundays and urban life; the figures of Pierrot and Hamlet. The discussion presents each symbol as an illustration of paradox. Part Three, Themes, analyses thematic elements: the philosophy of the Unconscious, women, love and sexuality and psychology. The paradoxes evident in Laforgue's presentation of each theme are explored: optimism and pessimism, misogyny and feminism and the conflict between appearance and reality in human psychology. Part Four, Structure, describes Laforgue's versification as the final step in the use of conventional forms before the exploitation of free verse. The clash between the obvious importance of the formal patterns, alongside an apparent lack of concern for form, is interpreted as a further reinforcement of Laforgue's vision of paradox.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1989
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Dec 2012 12:15

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