“I is another", wrote Arthur Rimbaud in his famous so-called Seer Letters (1871). Then, as today, this statement raised a series of questions, whether about the poetic or novelistic genre, the lyrical or narrative enunciation, or their interactions. Several members of ECR strive to rethink these issues from various angles, ranging from the analysis of historical and contemporary lyricism to the indecision clouding the generic space of self-writings.
Our group explores what J.-M. Maulpoix called “the fourth person singular” (N.B. All translations are our own), viz. a subject that would be both (or “neither…nor…”) an empirical and a fictitious subject, what has often been called the “lyric(al) subject”. What is its ontological, semantic, and pragmatic status? In what literary genres does it operate, and through which forms? What are its effects? Our team confines our exploration of the reduction of the “lyrical subject” to the poetic field alone, preferring, as Ph. Hamon states, to speak of “texts with a subject effect”. This change in terminology, which also allows us to avoid reducing the problem to a singular aspect of the “subject”, makes it possible to rethink more globally the question of subjectivity and auctoriality. This has been a necessary step, especially since the (false) arrival of the term “autofiction” on the critical scene – with its myriad derivatives. “Lyrical subject”, “lyrical novel”, “lyric essay”, “autobiographical novel”, “autofiction”, etc. are all hybridizations and inventions of the self that need to be questioned, analysed, and clarified, with the aim of establishing a more precise continuum from autobiography to fiction.
In the context of a broader reflection on the lyrical genre as a culturally rooted phenomenon, we are also led to consider the question of intertextuality, often underlying, and even foundational to, our object of study. In this sense, the study of imaginaries occupies a fundamental place in the analysis of contemporary lyricism: it gives rise to an in-depth analysis on the intertexts that permeate literary creation, whether they be mythical, biblical, or originating in the interplay of more recent traditions.
The question of poetic enunciation also involves elaborating the social stakes of lyrical expression. In this way, poetry must also be considered outside the purely aesthetic framework to which it seems to owe its symbolic value. It is from this perspective that we are particularly interested in examining the “politics of aesthetics” (J. Rancière) specific to the lyrical genre, by exploring, inter alia, different forms of literary engagement.
In light of the fact that this reflection extends across the boundaries of the traditional poetic genre, experimental poetry constitutes another of our research fields. The hybridization in question is, in this case, a hybrid of media, in which the lyrical genre goes beyond traditional editorial practice to be explored through object-books, performances, documentary poems or other multimedia creations.
Adrien Chiroux, Camille Dasseleer, Geneviève Fabry, Marco Flores, Helena Van Praet, Stéphanie Vanasten