Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

A Rhapsodist at Mid-Century: Refiguring Disability in the Poetry of Tristan Corbière

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2009), 3, (1), 51–66.

Abstract

The essay uses Kant's notions of autonomy and heteronomy as a framework for examining the personal and aesthetic significance of figures of disability in Tristan Corbière's Yellow Loves (1873). Far from being an unmitigated reflection of a life lived with impairment in the nineteenth century, these poems highlight a preoccupation with subject–object relations that Corbière shared with his contemporaries—most notably, Flaubert and Baudelaire. Corbière's representations challenge Romantic lyricism alongside the positivist underpinnings of Realism, reaching toward Symbolism for its capacity to suspend aesthetic dualism. Corbière's explorations of disability reiterate its centrality to aesthetic innovation in the nineteenth century, and place Corbière and Yellow Loves at the center of mid-nineteenth-century debates about the modes and motivations of representation.

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Berberi, Tammy