Book Annoucement – Les frontières du délire : écrivains et fous au temps des avants-gardes

Anouck Cape recently published her revised PhD.

La folie, comprise comme un fantasme culturel modelé par la psychiatrie comme par la littérature, a été fondatrice dans les discours et les pratiques textuelles des écrivains d’avant-garde. Elle constitue un fil directeur permettant d’observer de près l’une des mutations culturelles majeures de la première moitié du XXe siècle, qui voit le fou devenir la figure privilégiée de l’artiste moderne. Ce livre retrace l’histoire d’un bouleversement des valeurs, d’un déplacement de frontière entre littéraire et pathologique à l’issue duquel jugements de goût et normes de littérarité se sont trouvés profondément modifiés.

  1. Ms. Cape has chosen an excellent topic for her dissertation. It happens that Herman Melville was rediscovered and “revived” during the first half of the 20th century, and the critical debate over his sanity or insanity was the focus of many books. Indeed, if one identified with him or his character Captain Ahab, that was considered proof of insanity, a condition that some of his revivers almost embraced. I wrote a summary here: http://clarespark.com/2010/06/10/herman-melville-dead-white-male/. Of course the monomania diagnosis was ideological and directed against the autonomous, dissenting, truth-seeking individual.

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