A la dérive
A la dérive
Drifting in and out of Form in French Literature and Visual Art from Bataille to Bergvall
The notion of the formless found a lasting definition in Documents, the dissident Surrealist magazine led by Georges Bataille, Carl Einstein and Michel Leiris from 1929 to 1931. In an unassuming short entry for its ‘Dictionnaire’, Bataille presents the informe emphatically not as a system or a structure, but as ‘un terme servant à déclasser’; yet neither the disruptive impulse of the 'Dictionnaire', nor the more recent exhibitions it has generated, can avoid a measure of taxonomic organisation (L'Informe: mode d'emploi, 1996; Undercover Surrealism, 2006). In the realm of poetry, free verse has eroded the boundaries of the poetic, but its freedom from formal constraints is limited too; as Jay Parini (2008) contends, ‘formless poetry does not really exist, as poets inevitably create patterns in language that replicate forms of experience.’ Through a small number of case studies, this chapter will consider the legacy of Bataille’s definition while assessing the ongoing tension between form and its undoing in textual and visual art of the twenty-first century.
Liverpool Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.