Mallarmé and the Ontologization of the Poem



At the beginning of his Célébration de la poésie, Henri Meschonnic argues that we must “think the poem (penser le poème) and defend it from philosophy. This concerns the poem as ethics and politics of the subject, in opposition to art and to philosophy. In opposition even to poetry itself” (13). Central to this is the distinction between le poème and la poésie, the latter of which, a construction of “art” and “philosophy,” “essentializes” poems in their particularity and diversity. In his 1978 essay “La situation d’un langage poétique,” he had argued that such “essentialism” had fixed poetry into “a name-heavy [nominale] syntax,” leaving poetry “impoverished” as it approaches a kind of “theological naming [nomination théologique]” (27). If this earlier essay has not yet offered so neat a distinction between le poème and la poésie, approaching the problem as part of the ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy, his later work is concerned by how this problem inheres within poetry itself. The transmutation of le poème into la poésie is either the preliminary essentialization that permits the poem to be mastered by philosophy or the way in which philosophy’s mastery has been internalized into poems themselves. In either case, the category of poésie has subsumed poems into philosophy’s terms in advance.


Ideal Word Linguistic Signification Ontological Difference Discursive Context Beat Track 
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© Joseph Acquisto 2013

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