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Pierre Reverdy: the dimensions of a poetic imagination.

Bishop, Michael (1977) Pierre Reverdy: the dimensions of a poetic imagination. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94214) (KAR id:94214)


Reverdy's conception, both of the self and the self's being there in the world is characterised not only by fragmentation and dichotomy, but also by factors of at least potential relationship and solidarity. Broadly speaking, poetic creation, despite its process of dédoublement and despite its exposure of internal schisms, offers Reverdy his only chance to recover a sense of his 'simplicity' and oneness. Similarly, poetry is the sole means of closing the natural breach between self and world. It involves a process of transmutation of the given that joins the aesthetic logics of heterocosmicity and porousness in achieving an ontological consubstantiality.

The movement whereby Reverdy may achieve such a transmutational sub-transcendence may take place in the horizontal or the vertical plane of the imagination, or, indeed, may involve other special means. In all cases a number of varyingly characterised and effective figures are used to project the movement towards attainment of objectives. Although it is shown that attainment and contact are theoretically and practically possible for Reverdy via a process of strategic retreat, his poetry teems with obsessive images of frustration and withdrawal, darkness and death, sinking and reduction to nothingness — images always present, but more intensely felt and abounding in the later collections.

Reverdy's work never reaches, however, a point of definitive emotional reduction. Always some minimal trace of vitality lingers to eke out a tense thematic equilibrium in circumstances of apparent extreme imbalance. Although characterised by tension and precariousness, equilibrium is a factor that, with those of vacillation and relativity, governs to a considerable extent Reverdy's conception of the natural condition, as well as the structuring of the imaginative-thematic fabric of his creative work. Even more significant, moreover is the fragile and occulted equilibrium achieved between existential disaster and the multi-faceted poeticity proper of Reverdy's work.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94214
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PQ Romance Literature > PQ1 French Literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2023 08:17 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2023 08:17 UTC
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