A third and deeply personal gain from Cubism is to be seen in his treatment of time. In his analysis and subsequent recreation of the object, the Cubist painter abolishes successive moments of time in favour of a simultaneous view. We can only perceive the human face in all its shapes from profile to full face in succession. These different aspects imply the existence of time as a linear, irreversible flow which is traditionally rendered by the use of perspective.
Picasso, Braque and the Cubists present simultaneously aspects of objects which we have been educated to perceive only as successive: they frequently depict the human face in several aspects at once this was the revelation of Les Demoiselles d'Avignon of Picasso. From this Apollinaire discovered the virtues of discontinuity, of the denial of time compartmentalised and separated into past, present and future, concepts which confer on his poetry much of its impact.
Tristan Tzara has described in this way the impact of Cubism on Apollinaire's style: Pour Apollinaire, la solution du re"alisme adoptee par les peintres cubistes faisait deja partie de sa conception poetique. La decomposition par eux preconisee des elements objectifs etait destinee a une reconstitution ulterieure selon un ordre plus proche de la nature intime des choses et de leur situation dans I'espace que la vision apparente reproduite sur la toile plane au milieu des tricheries de la perspective et des illusions figuratives.
Alcools, Club du meilleur livre, p.
La poesie est meme etymologiquement la creation. La creation, expression sereine de 1'intelligence hors du temps est la joie parfaite. Guiraud, Index du vocabulaire du Symbolisme, i, Index des mots d' l Alcools' de Guillaume Apollinaire, the noun used most frequently in Alcools is amour fifty-three times and aimer fortynine times , the most used verb after aller.
This is a fair indication of the importance of the experience of love as a theme in Alcools. The first four poems, 'Zone', 'Le Pont Mirabeau', 'La Chanson du mal-aime' and 'Les Colchiques' are all concerned with the poet's emotional history although, characteristically, they all include much wider-ranging issues. The major impression received by the reader of Alcools is that of the sadness of love: L'amour lourd comme un ours prive 'La Tzigane' and: Lotte 1'amour rend triste 'Les Femmes' Close behind is the idea of treachery which informs 'La Chanson du mal-aime': La faussete de 1'amour meme.
Apollinaire's own mischance in his sentimental experience leads him to generalise: L'amour est devenu mauvais 'Le Brasier' and to reflect on the transience of love: L'amour s'en va comme cette eau courante 'Le Pont Mirabeau' 'La Chanson du mal-aime' is a comprehensive anthology of the poet's conflicting attitudes to love, ranging from tenderness to hate.
The happiness of love is rarely evoked in the present tense but the 'Aubade' triumphantly recalls a happy moment of the past. We have already noticed the reticence which veils his poems when they appear to be on the verge of a too-personal confession, but the elaborate use of legendary, historical o r mythological figures also covers his tracks and confers a new so Introduction dimension on private experience.
Apollinaire frequently applies the same names and the same references to the different women of his life. The element of eroticism is carefully hidden in Alcools and, indeed, in all the poems Apollinaire published under his own name during his lifetime. There is no doubt that Apollinaire had a considerable interest in eroticism in theory he published anonymously two pornographic novels Les Memoires de Don Juan and Les Onze mille verges in as well as in practice, if we are to believe the Lettres a Lou first published in The obscurity of the sept epees in 'La Chanson du mal-aime' bears witness to his discretion.
There is however a saving factor in his dismal record, hinted at in the epigraph to 'La Chanson du mal-aime' and added some years after the events: Et je chantais cette romance En sans savoir Que mon amour a la semblance Du beau Phenix s'il meurt un soir Le matin voit sa renaissance. In spite of his own experiences, love remained for Apollinaire a perennial renewal and challenge, its upsurge often coinciding with a change in direction of his aesthetic practices.
The lines from the 'Poeme lu au mariage d'Andre Salmon' reflect this positive element: Rejouissons-nous parce que directeur du feu et des poetes L'amour qui emplit ainsi que la lumiere Tout le solide espace entre les etoiles et les planetes L'amour veut qu'aujourd'hui mon ami Andre Salmon se marie. The general impression engendered by Apollinaire's reflections on love are heightened by the use he makes of nature in this context, as a 'correspondance' or as an 'etat d'ame'; it is almost always autumn which provides the setting.
Autumn is the season of death: Dieu de mes dieux morts en automne 'La Chanson du mal-aime', 1. There is an easy identification here for that melancholy side of Apollinaire, surrendering itself to the long poetic tradition which equates autumn with the death of nature and the death of love. The presence of death is everywhere in Alcools surprisingly, there are more references to mort and its derivatives in this volume than in Calligrammes, in spite of the war poems but as an inescapable fact of the human condition rather than as an obsession.
The presence of the dead amongst the living in 'La Maison des morts', has sadder overtones in 'Rhenane d'automne'. Apollinaire has a marked feeling for the processes of decay which is manifested with greater subtlety in 'Mai'. The month of May, dying itself, decorates, not the rebirth of the season but: Le mai le joli mai a par6 les ruines. Apollinaire notes the same phenomenon more briefly in 'Zone':. Apollinaire, insecure as he was in his life and in his restless search for new aesthetic directions, desired permanence and indeed the dialogue between transience and permanence is central to his work.
He confessed in a letter on 4 August Rien ne determine plus de melancolie chez moi que cette fuite du temps. Elle est en desaccord si formel avec mon sentiment, mon identite, qu'elle est la source meme de ma poesie.
Earlier, in the same letter, he had said: 'Je n'ai jamais desire de quitter pour ma part le lieu ou je vivais et j'ai toujours desire que le present tel qu'il fut perdurat' Lettres a sa marraine, O. His attachment to the known is a manifestation of his desire for stability: Les hommes ne se separent de rien sans regret et meme les lieux, les choses et les gens qui les rendirent le plus malheureux, ils ne les abandonnent point sans douleur'. His obsession with the passing of time takes on different forms. Sometimes the poet has the irrepressible feeling that time passes him by the river image is common here as in 'Le Pont Mirabeau'; at other times, the poet is irrevocably swept away by time from actual or potential happiness, as in 'Mai': Le mai le joli mai en barque sur le Rhin Des dames regardaient du haut de la montagne Vous etes si jolies mais la barque s'eloigne.
This is of course one of the commonest of lyrical themes but Apollinaire gives it a particular individual twist.
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J'ai eu le courage de regarder en arriere Les cadavres de mes jours 'Les Fiancailles', In this sense time is invincible but in Apollinaire's work, the idea of rebirth and resurrection is strong, as witness the lines from 'Merlin et la vieille femme': Merlin guettait la vie et 1'eternelle cause Qui fait mourir et puis renaitre 1'univers In the splendid line of 'La Chanson du mal-aime': Mon beau navire 6 ma memoire I- 50 the poet acknowledges the freedom which memory confers on him to explore the past whilst remaining in the present.
The imagination, working on the products of the memory, can reinterpret and override the linear flow of time. The past is thus recreated at the poet's will.
The image takes on Christian overtones in: Langues de feu ou sont-elles mes pentecotes 'Palais', 1. Reference has already been made to Apollinaire's insecurities and feelings of alienation: he is one of the earliest writers to feel this problem which becomes dominant as the twentieth century progresses for a fuller discussion of this point, see my article on 'Guillaume Apollinaire and the Search for Identity' in Order and Adventure in Post-Romantic French Poetry: Essays presented to C.
Hackett, Oxford, Blackwell, There are no poems in Alcools which have an exclusively religious theme and yet the whole volume draws much sustenance from the Bible. Robert Couffignal U Inspiration biblique dans Vasuvre de Guillaume Apollinaire , has traced the borrowings which Apollinaire constantly made from the Bible, in his prose as well as his verse. The great central event of the Christian faith—the Resurrection—has a privileged place in his imagery but in the main, except for the fundamental self-questioning, his interest is attached to the minor biblical figures and events which figure in his curious history of human achievement.
There is certainly no anti-clericalism in Alcools and no attack on religion.
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Durry has well said, 'une nostalgic de la foi'. The Bible has of course a strong element of le merveilleux which greatly appealed to Apollinaire and added to his private gallery of other magical figures like Orpheus, Icarus and Merlin. This is another area in which the Surrealists will recognise the originality of his vision. What emerges from Alcools is Apollinaire's growing consciousness that the poet is a unique interpreter of the world, a creator, like God. Le mdtier de poete n'est pas inutile, ni fou, ni frivoie. Les poetes sont les createurs.
Rien ne vient done sur terre, n'apparait aux yeux des hommes s'il n'a d'abord 6te imaging par un poete he wrote 18 January , Lettres a Lou, p.
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He triumphs over the world: 'la faussete est une mere feconde. The poet's triumph is over nature, time, regret and the human condition itself. The materials from which he creates are all around us; Tart nait ou il peut' he wrote in O. His poems hold in tension so many conflicting attitudes and beliefs: a belief in permanence balanced against his apprehension of transience; the present against the past; twentieth-century man against his historical and legendary brothers; the new against the old; intuition against knowledge.
Like alcool itself, a magical process involving fire and water, the poems create from conflict a new and heady vision of the world. His youthful poems reveal his preoccupation with traditional forms as well as a desire to avail himself of the new liberties of metrics developed by the Symbolists. Thus, of the poems shown to Toussaint Luca, his friend at the Lycee de Nice in , 'Mort de Pan' signed with his early pseudonym of Guillaume Macabre is a sonnet in classical alexandrines, whilst 'Mardi gras' and 'Aurore d'hiver' O.
He agreed enthusiastically with Francis Viele-Griffin's definition of free verse as 'une conquete morale' but argued strongly that it was not 'une simplification prosa'ique de la poesie' 'Jean Royere', O. Lettres a sa marraine, 30 October , O. He claimed proudly in a letter to Andre Billy: 'J'ai donne une nouvelle vie aux vers de 8 pieds' 29 July , O. There are many references to Apollinaire's methods of composition.
He himself said: En effet Madeleine je ne compose qu'en chantant. Cette poesie etait vraiment inspired, il allongeait les notes pour mettre une syllabe de plus ou au contraire en supprimer. Parent, Klincksieck, , M. Decaudin has remarked that 'le compte des syllabes est soumis a 1'oreille bien plus qu'a la regie. Apollinaire a le sens de la poesie parlee, il entend le vers'. So, Decaudin argues, one must say in 'Mai': 28 Introduction Vous etes si joli es mais la barque s'eloigne and, in 'La Loreley': Devant son tribunal Pevequ e la fit citer D'avance il 1'absolvit a caus e de sa beaute O belle Loreley aux yeux pleins de pierr e ries De quel magici-en tiens-tu la sorcell e rie.
But Apollinaire was also affected by the typographical disposition of the poem on the page. Bearing in mind his experiments in Calligrammes where poems are set out in the form appropriate to the subject 'La Cravate et la montre', 'Cceur couronne et miroir', 'II Pleut' printed in slanting lines across the page , he wrote in 'L'Esprit nouveau et le poetes': Les artifices typographiques pousses tres loin avec une grande audace ont 1'avantage de faire naitre un lyrisme visuel qui 6tait presque inconnu avant notre epoque. Et nos amours, faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne? La joie venait toujours apres la peine.
In Alcools, its disposition is changed and becomes more interesting : Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine Et nos amours Faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne La joie venait toujours apres la peine. His use of rhyme is very daring. He never lost sight of the value of rhyme in the free rhythms of vers libre, both for its importance in marking line endings and for the potential of Introduction 29 surprise. Warren Ramsey well summarized Apollinaire's importance in the field of versification when he wrote: 'Not the least of Apollinaire's functions was that of reminding other poets of the traditional sources of French verse' foreword to Alcools, translated by Anne Hyde Greet.
The suppression of all punctuation on the proofs of Alcools has given rise to much critical comment.
Louise Faure-Favier tells it thus. Paul Morisse of the editorial staff of the Mercure de France picked up a number of errors of punctuation on the proof sheets of Alcools and drew the poet's attention to them. Apollinaire then: dans un mouvement d'impatience et sans plus d'hdsitation, ddcida de supprimer toute la ponctuation. Souvenirs sur Apollinaire, Grasset, , pp.
Mallarme had suppressed punctuation in his later poems and in Marinetti's manifestos in favour of Futurism had advocated, amongst other things, the end of punctuation.