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Wallace Stevens, Poetry, and France

"Au pays de la métaphore"

Juliette UTARD
Lisa GOLDFARB (eds.)
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  • Format : 15 x 21 cm
  • Nb pages : 268
  • Parution : 2018
  • ISBN 978-2-7288-3690-1

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Actes de la recherche à l’ENS-PSL n° 25



Wallace Stevens, Poetry, and France offers the first book-length study of the various effects–poetic or prosaic, serious or comic, strange or familiar–produced by the deployment of French languages and cultures in Stevens’ poetry. Prominent Stevens scholars reexamine here a number of key issues, from angles as diverse as translation studies, aesthetics, linguistics, comparative literature, French theory, and politics, raised by Stevens’ special relation to France around the writing of poetry. 


Poète francophile, connu pour émailler ses poèmes de mots et segments en français, Wallace STEVENS (1879-1955) fut longtemps considéré comme le plus européen des écrivains modernistes américains – alors même qu’il ne fit jamais le voyage outre-Atlantique. Wallace Stevens, Poetry, and France est la première étude approfondie des effets, poétiques ou prosaïques, sérieux ou comiques, étranges ou familiers, produits par le déploiement de la langue et de la culture françaises dans la poésie stevensienne. autour de la création poétique.

The author

Wallace STEVENS (1879-1955) was a Francophile whose poems are often remembered as strewn with French words and phrases. Until recently, Stevens was customarily viewed as the most European amongst American Modernist writers, regardless of the fact that he never set foot in Europe.

Editorial board and the contributors

Agnès DERAIL-IMBERT is Associate Professor of English at the École Normale Supérieure and the author of Moby Dick. Allures du corps (Rue d’Ulm, 2000). She coedited a translation of Melville’s last poems (Derniers poèmes, Rue d’Ulm, 2010), and a translation of Francis Scott Fitzgerald with Cécile Roudeau (Histoires de Pat Hobby, Gallimard, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 2012). In 2016, she co-published Puritains d’Amérique (Rue d’Ulm), a French anthology of Puritan writings. She has written several essays on 18th- and 19th-century American literature.

Bart EECKHOUT is Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Antwerp in Belgium and has been Editor of The Wallace Stevens Journal since 2011. He studied at Columbia University and taught at Fordham University and the Gallatin School of NYU. His books include Wallace Stevens and the Limits of Reading and Writing (University of Missouri Press, 2002), Wallace Stevens across the Atlantic (co-edited with Edward Ragg; Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), Wallace Stevens, New York, and Modernism (co-edited with Lisa Goldfarb; Routledge, 2012), and Poetry and Poetics after Wallace Stevens (co-edited with Lisa Goldfarb; Bloomsbury, 2017). He has contributed to The Cambridge Companion to Wallace Stevens (2007) and Wallace Stevens in Context (2017) and compiled the entry on Stevens for Oxford Bibliographies in American Literature (2016).

Lisa GOLDFARB is Associate Professor at the Gallatin School of New York University, President of the Wallace Stevens Society, and Associate Editor of The Wallace Stevens Journal. She is the author of The Figure Concealed: Wallace Stevens, Music, and Valéryan Echoes (Sussex Academic Press, 2011), co-editor of Wallace Stevens, New York, and Modernism (Routledge, 2012), Poetry and Poetics after Wallace Stevens (Bloomsbury, 2017), and two special issues of The Wallace Stevens Journal. She recently contributed a chapter on “Music” to Wallace Stevens in Context (2017). Her current book project, Unexpected Affinities: Modern American Poetry and Symbolist Poetics, explores the interconnections between modern Anglo-American poetry and French symbolist poetry and poetics, in particular, Valéryan poetics (forthcoming Sussex, 2018).

Juliette UTARD is Associate Professor of American Literature at Université Paris-Sorbonne and a fellow of the CNRS for the year 2016-2017. She serves on the Editorial Board of The Wallace Stevens Journal and has recently contributed essays to Wallace Stevens, New York, and Modernism (Routledge, 2012), Poetry and Poetics after Wallace Stevens (Bloomsbury, 2017), and Wallace Stevens in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Her monograph on Stevens’ late poetry and the question of late style, Wallace Stevens, une poétique du fini. Pour une approche matérielle de l’œuvre, is forthcoming with Honoré Champion.

Charles ALTIERI is Stageberg Professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley and serves on the Editorial Board of The Wallace Stevens Journal. He is interested in relations among poetry, painting, and modern philosophy. He is the author of many books, including Painterly Abstraction in Modernist American Poetry: The Contemporaneity of Modernism (Cambridge University Press, 1989) and, most recently, Wallace Stevens and the Demands of Modernity: Toward a Phenomenology of Value (Cornell, 2013) and Reckoning with Imagination: Wittgenstein and Literary Theory (Cornell, 2015).

Antoine CAZÉ is Professor of American Literature and Literary Translation at Université Paris Diderot. A specialist of American poetry, he devoted his PhD to Emily Dickinson and is an elected member of the Emily Dickinson International Society Board. He wrote a monograph on John Ashbery (John Ashbery, à contrevoix de l’Amérique, 2000) and a book-length study of H.D.’s Trilogy (Écrire entre les murs: Trilogy de H.D., 2013), as well as over 60 research articles on American poetry, literary theory, and translation. As a translator, he was awarded the Prix de traduction Maurice-Edgar Coindreau in 2005 for his translation of Nicholson Baker’s A Box of Matches and The Size of Thoughts; most recently, he translated Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson into French (Ypsilon, 2017).

Aurore CLAVIER is Associate Professor at Université Lille 3. Her research bears on the historical and geographical redefinitions of American modernism, with a specific focus on the works of Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and Ezra Pound. She is the author of several articles on modernist poetry and of a forthcoming book on Marianne Moore and the question of American origins and originality.

Angus CLEGHORN is Professor of English & Liberal Studies at Seneca College in Toronto. His first book was Wallace Stevens’ Poetics: The Neglected Rhetoric (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), and he has guest-edited two special issues of The Wallace Stevens Journal. Since 2004 he has been Editor of The Elizabeth Bishop Bulletin. He has recently co-edited two books: Elizabeth Bishop in the 21st Century: Reading the New Editions (Virginia University Press, 2012), and The Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Bishop (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Since then he has published three essays on affinities between Stevens and Bishop.

Thomas GOULD recently completed a PhD in Comparative Literature at King’s College London, writing a thesis on Wallace Stevens, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Maurice Blanchot. He is currently working on a project on poetry and drawing.

Gül Bilge HAN is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at Stockholm University, Department of English. She has recently completed her doctoral dissertation on Wallace Stevens and the poetics of modernist autonomy. Her current research interests include world literature, global modernism, transnational solidarity, and the politics of aesthetics. 

Xavier KALCK lectures in American Literature and Translation Studies at Université Paris-Sorbonne. He edited a collection of poems by the British poet Anthony Barnett, Miscanthus (Shearsman, 2005), and is the author of Muted Strings: Louis MacNeice’s The Burning Perch (PUF, 2015) and the forthcoming George Oppen’s Poetics of the Commonplace (Peter Lang).

Anne LUYAT is the author of various essays on Wallace Stevens and has translated some of Stevens’ essays and poems into French. Until recently she taught at Université d’Avignon as a Professor of English and American literature. She was a guest editor of The Wallace Stevens Journal for the special issue “Wallace Stevens and France” (Fall 2008).

Glen MACLEOD is the author of Wallace Stevens and Company: The Harmonium Years, 1913-1923 (UMI Research Press, 1983) and Wallace Stevens and Modern Art: From the Armory Show to Abstract Expressionism (Yale University Press, 1995); co-curator of the art exhibition Painting in Poetry/Poetry in Painting: Wallace Stevens and Modern Art (Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, 1995); editor of Wallace Stevens in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2017); and editor or co-editor of seven special issues of The Wallace Stevens Journal. He is Vice President of the Wallace Stevens Society and Professor of English at the University of Connecticut at Waterbury.

Maureen N. MCLANE is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Mz N: the serial: a poem-in-episodes (FSG, 2016) and Some Say (FSG, 2017). She has also published two critical monographs on British romantic poetics, Romanticism and the Human Sciences and Balladeering, Minstrelsy, and the Making of British Romanticism (both with Cambridge University Press), as well as numerous essays on Anglophone poetics, 1750-now, and contemporary literature and culture. Her book My Poets (FSG, 2012), an experimental hybrid of memoir and criticism, was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography. Ongoing projects include work on rhyme, “compositionist” poetics, and lyric discontents. She is a Professor of English at New York University.

Axel NESME, a Professor of American Literature at Université Lumière Lyon 2, specializes in 20th-century American poetry. He edited two volumes of articles on Elizabeth Bishop. He has published two articles on Wallace Stevens in The Wallace Stevens Journal and is also the author of L’Autre sans visage: lectures de l’élégie américaine, a book-length study on American elegies from Dickinson to Stevens, published by Honoré Champion in 2012.

Edward RAGG is a poet and wine professional based in Beijing, China. His first book of poetry, A Force That Takes (Cinnamon Press, 2013), won the Cinnamon Press Poetry Award. His second volume is Holding Unfailing (Cinnamon Press, 2017) and he is currently working on a third collection. Ragg is the author of Wallace Stevens and the Aesthetics of Abstraction (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and co-editor, with Bart Eeckhout, of Wallace Stevens across the Atlantic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). He contributed to Wallace Stevens, New York, and Modernism (2012), Poetry and Poetics after Wallace Stevens (2017), and Wallace Stevens in Context (2017). Ragg is an Editorial Board Member of The Wallace Stevens Journal and previously taught at Tsinghua University (2007-2017). He co-founded Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting in 2007, writes for numerous international wine publications, and is currently studying for the Master of Wine (MW).

Tony SHARPE lectures at Lancaster University, UK, where he was for several years Head of the Department of English & Creative Writing. He is the author of books about Vladimir Nabokov (Edward Arnold, 1991), T. S. Eliot (Macmillan, 1991), and W. H. Auden (Routledge, 2007), and has edited the volume W. H. Auden in Context for Cambridge University Press (2013). His published work on Stevens includes Wallace Stevens: A Literary Life (Palgrave, 2000), as well as essays inLiterature and Theology (2011), Key Words (2014), Twentieth-Century Literature (2014), Romanticism (2016), The Wallace Stevens Journal (2016), and a chapter on “Stevens and Religion” in Wallace Stevens in Context (ed. MacLeod, 2017). His essay on “W. H. Auden and the Criterion of the Ear” was recently published in Essays in Criticism (January 2017), and his essay “‘Always Present’: T. S. Eliot and Re-cantation” will appear in Modernism/modernity in 2018.

Lisa M. STEINMAN is the Kenan Professor of English and Humanities at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. A poet, critic, and teacher, her books include Made in America: Science, Technology, and American Modernist Poets (Yale University Press, 1987); Invitation to Poetry: The Pleasures of Studying Poetry and Poetics (Blackwell-Wiley, 2008); Masters of Repetition: Poetry, Culture, and Work (St. Martin’s, 1998); and Absence and Presence (University of Tampa Press, 2013). She is also co-editor of the poetry magazine Hubbub.



A “Special Relation”? Stevens’ French, American English, and the Creolization of Modern Poetry, by Juliette UTARD

Part One. Stevens' Uses of French

“Luminous Traversing”: Stevens’ Near French and the Vagaries of Translation, by Antoine CAZÉ

Thinking through the Senses: Stevens and Valéry (with Echoes of Proust),

“The lingua franca et jocundissima”: The Comedian as a French Speaker,
by Aurore CLAVIER

Poetic Sanctions: Stevens’ French as the Language of Love and Law,

Part Two. Stevens' Poetic legacy across the Atlantic

Hoobla-hoo and Hullabaloo: Divagations with Stevens, by Maureen N. MCLANE

A Queer Visit to Paris: Richard Howard’s Encounter with Stevens on French Soil, by Bart EECKHOUT

Parents “in the French Sense”: Stevens and Louis Zukofsky, by Xavier KALCK

Bad Boy for Good: Baudelaire in Stevens and Bishop, by Angus CLEGHORN

Part Three. Stevens' French Connections Real and Imaginary

“Bordeaux to Yucatan”: Stevens’ French Connections, by Tony SHARPE

“A Touch of Paris”: Stevens, Walter Pach, and Matisse, by Glen MACLEOD

The Hartford Bourguignon: French Wines in Stevens’ Writings,
by Edward RAGG

French Masks and the Life of the Mind in Stevens’ Poetry, by Anne LUYAT

Part Four. Stevens and French Thought

Jacques Rancière and the Political Dimensions of Aesthetic Autonomy in Stevens’ Depression-Era Poetry, by Gül Bilge HAN

“Of patches and of pitches”: Stevens, Jean-Luc Nancy, and the Sense of a World, by Thomas GOULD

Stevens’ Reality and Imagination through a Lacanian Lens, by Axel NESME


My “Stevens in France”, by Charles ALTIERI

Works Cited