By Dr Michael Syrotinski
Defying Gravity is an incredible reassessment of the paintings of Jean Paulhan in the context of his personal occasions, in addition to within the mild of up to date debates in literary conception. top recognized for his long-serving editorship of the influential Parisian literary overview, los angeles Nouvelle Revue Francaise, Paulhan is now commonly said as probably the most crucial but least understood figures of twentieth-century French highbrow and literary background. Syrotinski's learn admirably plays the twin goal of introducing a certainly leading edge and precise author to a normal anglophone readership, whereas enticing seriously together with his texts and their reception. Syrotinski's readings of Paulhan are either unique and provocative, and firmly determine him as an unavoidable aspect of reference for twentieth-century French literary heritage and concept.
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Extra resources for Defying Gravity: Jean Paulhan's Interventions in Twentieth-Century French Intellectual History
Since this involves accounting for its production, the essay also, by analogy or by extension, tells the story of the production and the uncertain status of the narrative itself. A reading such as the one we have just performed effectively decontextualizes the essay, and shows it to be concerned as much with its own linguistic and narrative complexities as with the supposed object of its study. It is a mark of Paulhan's ability to exploit the resourcefulness of his own texts, and also an exemplification of the proverb's own metonymic capacity for recontextualization, that this essay resurfaces in another form as a presentation for the shortlived College of Sociology.
If it means to stop thinking critically (or in short, to stop reading), then it would certainly contaminate the proposition itself that Paulhan's writing is thematically linked to the emergence of deconstruction. Even his friends were increasingly unsympathetic to some of his outspoken views towards the end of his life; he was, for example, in Page 22 favor of Algeria remaining French, argued in the 1960s that Rudolf Hess was being victimized and should be released from prison, was a great admirer of pornographic writing, and was critical of the early semiological writings of Barthes, which he saw as products of Marxist theory.
Only old people take filanjanas. If you go to market on foot, people will make fun of you. What is at stake is not the question of marriage and divorce, but the proverb that unites them inseparably, and as long as it is a question of the proverb, the narrator is wrong to dissociate them: Ralay didn't mean that a first hasty act was liable to lead to a second one: rather, he cited a fact which included both hasty acts, without being able to distinguish between them. To argue, as the narrator does, in a way that questions the set composition of the proverb, is as futile and as incomprehensible as, for example, disagreeing that in French and adjective agrees in gender and number with the noun it qualifies.
Defying Gravity: Jean Paulhan's Interventions in Twentieth-Century French Intellectual History by Dr Michael Syrotinski