Australian Journal of French Studies

Significant Others, or Textual Congress: Concerning Baudelaire and Tranter

Australian Journal of French Studies (2018), 55, (3), 223–236.

Abstract

This essay is a three step investigation of the relation between two poems, Baudelaire’s “L’Invitation au Voyage”, and the Australian poet John Tranter’s “Grab Your Passport”. The first step rejects potential construals of intertextuality in terms of common metaphors such as “inspired”, “source-text”, “calque” on the grounds that they attribute a negative value to the “derived” text. On the contrary, when we adopt instead the concept of the paratext, Tranter’s poem could be seen to supplement “L’Invitation au Voyage” by making it function in a new idiom. At the same time, the Baudelaire poem echoes through it as they are read together: no longer is their relation determined by chronology. In the third step, Dichtung, the relation of similarity and difference is reconstrued through Jakobsonian poetics: as in the projection of the paradigmatic on to the syntagmatic axis, so each poem calls and responds to the other and language is enriched by their coexistence. (AF)

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Benjamin, Walter. “Theses on the Philosophy of History”, in Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt. New York: Schocken Books, 1969. Theses on the Philosophy of History Illuminations Google Scholar

Jakobson, Roman. Language is literature, ed. Krystyna Pomorska. Boston: Harvard University Press, 1987 (“Linguistics and Poetry”, 62-94; “What Is Poetry?”, 368-378). Language is literature Google Scholar

Johnson, Barbara. Défigurations du langage poétique. Paris: Flammarion, 1979 (“Comme dirait l’autre…”, 101-160). Défigurations du langage poétique. Google Scholar

Larkin, Philip. Collected Poems, ed. Archie Burnett. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1988. Collected Poems Google Scholar

Tranter, John. Starlight: 150 Poems. Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 2010. Starlight: 150 Poems Google Scholar

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Author details

Chambers, Ross

Chambers, Ross