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Poetics of the Subject

Foreword
Joanny MOULIN

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1Late twentieth-century literature, philosophy and criticism announced with apparent unanimity (or so it seemed at the time) the demise of the subject. Yet within the last few years, it has appeared that the place of the subject is again to be negotiated in the humanities. Is this just a reflection of the interplay between the contemporary and the modern or are some other underlying forces at play? One synthetic approach to the issue may be found, for instance, in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, where Jürgen Habermas explores the limits of the philosophy of the subject, considered as a narrative that began with the Reformation and the Renaissance, to culminate in the Enlightenment before embarking on a protracted catastrophe through Romanticism and Modernism. The contributions in this volume tackle this phenomenon from a variety of angles in the anglophone domain. These may include the stylised subject of aesthetics or the ethical dimension of the subject as it defines its existence in a constant inbetweenness; the effacement of the lyrical subject and of the character in contemporary poetry, fiction and drama; the consequences of linguistic engagement in first- and second-personhood read in the light of reader-response criticism; the challenges to conventional readability in some avant-garde productions and the open question of their intended effect; or even the extra-grammatical fourth-person emerging in the literary text beyond the coarser edifices of the speaking "I", the listening "you" and the narrated "it". These studies also focus on various slants and discourses in criticism and literary theory, with particular interest in the poetics developed by individual authors as a reflection on literary creation. They deliberately retain an anchorage in the literary texts themselves, and the specific manner in which they form practical variants of the poetics of the subject, in ways that often differ from those of philosophy. These papers are the result of an international conference organised at the University of Provence (Aix-Marseille 1) on 28 & 29 March 2003 by the research center L.E.R.M.A. (Laboratoire d'Études et de Recherches du Monde Anglophone), under the direction of Pr. Max Duperray. The conveners were the members of the team “Analyse du discours” conducted by Pr. Annick Duperray and myself, working on this occasion with Dr. Claire Pégon-Davison and also Dr. Jean-Christophe Murat to whom we are indebted for the title of this collection of articles, “Poetics of the Subject”.

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Joanny MOULIN, “Poetics of the Subject”E-rea [Online], 2.2 | 2004, Online since 15 October 2004, connection on 21 April 2021. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/erea/426; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/erea.426

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Joanny MOULIN

University of Provence

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