Sonority as a semiotic matrix of signification in French symbolist poetry
Doctor of Philosophy
This document investigates a subject apparently rather traditional, perhaps even traditionalist: the exploration of the phonological, syntactical and semantical resources by means of which French symbolist poetry acts upon the reader. This project is not, however, as strange to the current theoretical conceptions as one might believe. Derrida, Foucault, Blanchot, Kristeva, and Barthes had Mallarme in the center of their reflections on language. Indeed, a metaphysics of old platonic origins serves as the foundation of the aesthetic enterprise of symbolism. The poem becomes an epiphany: it points towards an invisible world in comparison to our physical reality, proving to be no more than a pale reflection. This ambitious project---has it failed as an aesthetic adventure or as a vision of the universe? Herewith is one of the questions that this study attempts to propose answers based on the concrete analysis of poems by Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud and Mallarme. Following the goals that I have set for myself, musical analogies will play a fundamental role in this dissertation.
Comparative literature; Romance literature