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Spoonerism as literary device in Desnos, Leiris, and Robaud.

While it is usually considered a trivial slip of the tongue, the lowly spoonerism nonetheless has its place in contemporary dictionaries of rhetorical devices.(1) Indeed, the spoonerism, as well as similar playful practices,(2) has had remarkable endurance as a favorite device of French writers for centuries. To be sure, the kind of playfulness that characterizes a text such as Robert Desnos's Rrose Selavy, for example, is not new to the French literary tradition. However, the fascination and the persistence of the spoonerism, which has a notable presence in the work of certain surrealists (Desnos's Rrose Selavy, Michel Leiris's Glossaire: j'y serre mes gloses) and continues to fascinate more contemporary writers as well (Jacques Roubaud's 1977 Autobiographie, chapitre dix), deserves special consideration, especially in the theoretical context which has granted it a more than trivial status. How can we account for the popularity of the spoonerism as a literary device, and what are the implications posed by its modern appropriations?

In her exhaustive studies of the matter in Desnos's work, Marie-Claire Dumas inscribes the playful spoonerisms of Rrose Selavy within a surrealist theoretical linguistics. Specifically, she situates the surrealist perspective on wordplay in the tradition of Jean Paulhan's Jacob Cow le pirate ou si les mots sont des signes. Wordplay, writes Paulhan, demonstrates that "les phrases . . . sont de meme pate que les idees" and that one merely need reverse the order of words to produce "mille combinaisons etonnantes."(3) The primary implication of Paulhan's work, according to Dumas, is that "alors apparait a fragilite d'une pensee qui lie son sort a sa formulation" and that "la langue et la pensee sont deux series differentes." Paulhan's essay first appeared in Litterature and can hence be considered as characteristic of "la reflexion sur le langage et la litterature" (Etude 32) of the then embryonic Surrealist group. Indeed, Andre Breton, in his essay "Mots sans rides," specifically names Paulhan, along with Paul Eluard and Francis Picabia, as those engaged in "des recherches dont participerent aussi l'oeuvre de Ducasse, Un Coup de Des . . . Ia Victoire et certains calligrammes d'Apollinaire."(4) Breton thereby includes Paulhan's theorizations within the domain of surrealism in both its contemporary and historical manifestations, including Rimbaud's experimental verse: "C'est en assignant une couleur aux voyelles que pour la premiere fois, de facon consciente et en acceptant d'en supporter les consequences, on detourna le mot de son devoir de signifier" (132).

However, according to Breton, such experimental wordplay had thus far only emptied words of meaning. They did not become "des createurs d'energie" (133) until the publication of Marcel Duchamp's Rrose Selavy texts, which first appeared in Litterature in October, 1922 (Dumas, Exploration 304). For Breton, words "do what was expected of them" (133) in the methodical play of Duchamp's Rrose Selavy:

Certes, les six << jeux de mots >> publies dans l'avant- dernier numero de

Litterature sous la signature de Rrose Selavy m'avaient paru meriter la

plus grande attention . . . du fait de ces deux caracteres bien distincts:

d'une part leur rigueur mathematique (deplacement de lettre a l'

interieur d'un mot, echange de syllabe entre deux mots, etc.), d'autre

part l'absence de l'element comique . . . C'etait, a mon sens, ce qui

depuis longtemps s'etait produit de plus remarquable en poesie (133).

Historically, then, the six jeux de mots written by Duchamp ("Abominables fourrures abdominales" [Dumas, Exploration 305]) and appearing in Litterature under the name "Rrose Selavy" were the first experiments in a wordplay that Desnos was to appropriate with far greater prodigiousness. Copying the Duchamp original, Desnos published 138 texts in Litterature in December, 1922. They were immediately preceded by the first publication of Breton's "Moss sans rides" (Dumas, Exploration 302). Desnos's Rrose Selavy (in its first form, at least) hence had the Breton essay as its first context. One is led to the (perhaps erroneous) conclusion that Desnos's playful manipulations of the signifier were offered as an illustration of the theory elaborated in Breton's article. In any case, Dumas observes that this situation of the two texts "manifeste bien le lien et l'echange qu'Andre Breton assure entre une pratique et sa mise a l'examen, de telle sorte que reflexion et experimentation s'eclairent mutuellement" (Exploration 302).

Desnos's first Rrose Selavy experiments are thereby contextualized within a sort of early manifesto of surrealism that elaborates the crucial implications of the plasticity of words and the malleability of language:

Je prie le lecteur de s'en tenir provisoirement a ces premiers temoignages

d'une activite qu'on ne soupconne pas encore. Nous

sommes plusieurs a y attacher une importance extreme. Et qu'on

comprenne bien que nous disons: jeux de mots, quand ce sont nos

plus sures raisons d'etre qui sont en jeu. Les mots du reste ont fini

de jouer.

Les mots font l'amour (Breton 134).

In Breton's perspective, wordplay such as the manipulation of the signifier in Rrose Selavy is inscribed within a greater significance than that of "mere" jeux de mots. For if, as Breton writes, one's very being--that is, one's existence as a signifying subject that is defined by the discursive practice--is at stake in the act of wordplay, to describe such activity as "play"--at least in the traditional, perhaps pejorative sense of the term--seems a misnomer. In a well-known and often cited line ("Les mots font l'amour"), Breton proposes that there might be other perspectives on the matter.(5) As far as Desnos's Rrose Selavy is concerned, Dumas writes that Breton's remark implies that "c'est donc a une fete orgiaque de la langue que Desnos nous convie" (Etude 39).

In her formalization and formularization of the workings of the Rrose Selavy texts, Dumas offers a reading which she describes as the debusquement of the "fonctionnement phono-graphique des enonces" (Exploration 308). In an extremely lucid characterization of the texts, Dumas writes that Rrose Selavy enacts an "algebre linguistique que Saussure n'aurait peut-etre pas reniee" (Exploration 301). Having established the historical and philosophical context of the texts, she notes that "Le signifiant s'y trouve libere de son signifie et apte a des rencontres inedites" (Exploration 324) and thereby situates Desnos's wordplay within the same linguistic "research" as that of Paulhan, Eluard and Picabia (along with their poetic antecedents: Mallarme, Rimbaud, Apollinaire) that turned words away from their "devoir de signifier."

The forty-first text of the collection might serve as a (comic) example of Desnos's practices analyzed in Dumas's work: "Benjamin Peret ne prend jamais qu'un bain par an."(6) This is one of many of Desnos's texts which takes a proper name as its point of departure: Rrose Selavy includes playful manipulations of the names Duchamp, Breton, Eluard, Ernst, Soupault and others. Dumas describes the manipulation of Peret's name as a procede anagrammatique in which every phoneme of a group of words--in this case, "jamais bain par an"--is already found in the source name, Benjamin Peret. More typical of Desnos's working method is the ninety-sixth text, "L'acte des sexes est l'axe des sectes" (Desnos 42). Dumas's formalization of the text is as follows: the "kernel" acte/axe = secte/sexe is a "perfect" transformational proportion (the permutation -cte/-xe is effected in both transformations) while the remainder of the text, what Dumas calls the expansion of the kernel, results in the curiously symmetrical l', des, est, l', des.

To cite another, more complicated example, in her analysis of the one hundred thirty-fifth text in Rrose Selavy ("O laps des sees, gage des annees aux pensees sans langage" [Desnos 45]), Dumas offers the following schematic: "o laps sens gage annees = aux pensees sans langage" (Exploration 318). Indeed, it does not seem possible to discern any transformation, perfect or otherwise, of a proportion of the type a/b = c/d in the text. Instead, the text seemingly enacts a manipulation of the signifier that is less immediately readable as a proportional transformation of a textual kernel: o/aux, laps . . . sens . . . gage/ langage, ps . . . sens/pens/sans, -ees/-ees.

However, in an alternative reading of the text, it is not difficult to demonstrate how the text is divisible into two other distinct (and yet, since they share the same signifiers, at the same time indistinct) parts: 1. o laps des sees, gage; 2. des annees aux pensees sans langage. Every vocable of the second part of this textual analysis is already present in the first part. The two halves of the text thus divided can be described as phonetic rearrangements of each other: o/aux, decides, -es/-ees, sens/sans/en/ann(ees)/en fan, la/la(n), ps/p . . . s, gage/ gage. The only exception to this reading is the first syllable of "annees" that has not an exact phonetic equivalent in the first half of the text, but rather a phonetic approximation, the "en" of "sens." Phonetically, then, the second half of the text seems to establish itself as an appropriation of the first half that produces an other, previously hidden signifying assemblage of sounds.

The significance of this alternative reading, especially in light of Dumas's analysis, is that it includes the expansion of the textual kernel in what she would call the noyau of the tranformational proportion. In other words, the lexical item des, excluded from Dumas's analysis and relegated to the implicitly marginalized status of expansion, is included in the analysis of the alternative reading as the appropriated phonetic source of the -ees of both annees and pensees. The alternative formal analysis of the text thereby includes Dumas's expansion within the noyau, such that there is no need to maintain such a distinction within the text. I shall return presently to the problematics of this distinction in Dumas's study.

As far as the apparent meaning of the text is concerned, the "laps des sees" text involves an intriguing commentary on the thematics of the pre- and postlapsarian. This is true especially given the multiplicity of meanings suggested by "laps": first, the possible meaning of a "fall" (as in "postlapsarian"), and not only in the sense of a "fall from the senses." As a "lapse of meanings"--or indeed, in another possible reading, a lapse (or fall) from meanings--the laps des sens might be understood as the fall of language, the mythical loss of an original, adequate means of linguistic expression. That is, this particular textual "fall" figures the moment when language became the insufficient medium of expression and exchange of concepts. The text might then be both addressing a fall from the guarantee of clear, singular meaning and elaborating the implications of just such a fall. In fact, the text seemingly questions the fall as a loss in that this textual fall is not only postulated as possibly productive of new meaning ("pensees sans langage"), but indeed is demonstrated to be so by the enactment of the text itself. This is so especially if one considers a second possible interpretation of "laps," that of its etymological relation, "lapsus," a "lapse" or "slip," as in "slip of the tongue"--in other words, a spoonerism.

Desnos seems to be implying then that the possibility of such slips of the tongue--to wit, the possibility of error or the breakdown of a system of communication--is simultaneously the condition of the possibility of other meaning: in this case, of other "pensees sans langage." Hence, the text suggests that the fall from the promise of adequate signification (that is, the apparent failure to speak and be understood as intended) makes possible the play of the spoonerism that the text itself activates in its homonymic transformation of the signifier. The impossibility of communication hinted at by the text is thereby not characterized as an insufficiency of language, but rather as the possibility of the discovery of other meaning.

Likewise, as in Dumas's homonymic reading of "laps . . . sees" as "l'absence" (Etude 45), the transformation of "laps des sees" as "laps d'essence" enhances the reading of the text as the elaboration of the implications of the postlapsarian.(7) For to "lapse" from the realm of essence, that is, to fall from the (Platonic) ideal into the world of failed copies of the original, is to fall from the guarantee of self-identity and economy of meaning that is evoked by the text. It is the very fall from essentialism, the lapse of meaning, that both makes possible and is confirmed by the appropriating text. The fall as such is less the loss of the possibility for the exchange of concepts than it is the condition of a certain productivity of meaning in language. And that productivity is realized in acts of dispersal such as Desnos's spoonerisms in which the word is not so much the more or less adequate medium for the transmission of information as it is the point of departure for the discovery of new meanings.

It is precisely in these terms that Desnos's contemporaneous imitator Michel Leiris contextualized his first attempts at literary spoonerisms in his Glossaire: j'y serre mes gloses:

Une monstrueuse aberration fait croire aux hommes que le langage

est ne pour faciliter leurs relations mutuelles. C'est dans ce but

d'utilite qu'ils redigent des dictionnaires, ou les mots sont catalogues,

doues d'un sens bien defini (croient-ils), base sur la coutume

et l'etymologie. Or l'etymologie est une science parfaitement

vaine qui ne renseigne en rien sur le sens veritable d'un mot, c'est-a-dire

la signification particuliere, personnelle, que chacun se doit

de lui assigner, selon le bon plaisir de son esprit.(8)

While indebted (and indeed dedicated) to Desnos, Leiris's Glossaire: j'y serre mes gloses is never as strictly formulaic an exercise as Rrose Selavy. It is instead a kind of digression from words, or as he was to write some sixty years after the first publication of his Glossaire, a discovery of "ce que les mots me disent."(9) This is especially apparent in the form of the text, that of a mock dictionary wherein are redefined choice lexical items from the French language and wherein, indeed, "[i]l serre [s]es gloses." For example, Leiris redefines "abrupt" as "apre et brut"(10) through no apparent logical necessity, but instead because of the phonetic suggestion of the signifier. Substituting only p for the b of the original word, the playful transformation discovers two adjectives that already inhabited the first, such that, according to the logic of the practice, "abrupt" is redefined--that is, it is made to mean other than its accepted meaning.

Or, as Leiris has it in his redefinition of definition, "DEFINIR, c'est Disperser. Dilemme De la Demence" (82). New signification, realized in the "dispersal" of the signifier, is thereby a product of the suggestion of the original discourse. The appropriation elaborates the suggestion of the original in a definition that in the end produces simply its dispersal of meaning. It is not difficult to see how the dispersal is effected by this particular text from the collection. The textual redefinition of definition--as an act of dispersal which is perhaps a dilemma of madness--is the product of several manipulations of not only the "original" signifier ("definir") but indeed those of the text in its entirety.

For example, the parallel infinitives (definir/disperser), the i, m and e dispersed repetitiously throughout the text, as well as the insistent D,(11) do not suggest the manipulation of a single signifying entity so much as the continued digression from one signifier to the next. That is, each production suggests its own possibilities of signification, which in turn suggest other possibilities, and so on. This is clear in the movement in the text from the e of definir to the i of disperser (itself suggested by parallelism with definir) to the m of dilemme (suggested by the i of disperser) and the final return to the e of demence.

Now, Leiris's immediate precursor, Desnos, had already produced such a chain of digressing, playful lines:



j'entends j'antan

jadis ja dix? Jade Ys


autre foi

heresie errez y (ne vous garez pas!)

Et Gare Eve ou?


In this untitled piece from his collection L'Aumonyme,(12) Desnos has already discovered the possibility of what could be called digressive phonetic approximation. In such a practice, there is the intimation of a textuality which is in the process of becoming and of the very experience of the act of writing. The reader attends to the discovery of meaning which is afforded by the illogical leaps, which are determined by phonetic similarity, from "joy" to the sense of hearing, and from hearing to the contemplation of yesteryear. Such a text enacts a perpetual motivic suggestion, not the variation or elaboration of a "noyau fondamental," as Dumas would have it. Instead, this attention to the string of changing motives is a process of discovery which does not necessarily have to end, and as such, the practice suggests that this "finished" product might in its own turn be picked up for further manipulation.

Furthermore, just as Desnos's play deflates the discourse's presumption of closure, it also suggests that Desnos's play is no more the last word than is the discourse which he appropriates. And such is indeed the case: in his Autobiographie, chapitre dix, Jacques Roubaud produces our most contemporary version of the literary spoonerism in his re-appropriation of selections from Desnos's Rrose Selavy. Unlike Leiris's imitation of Desnos, Roubaud makes clear the "unfinished" quality of Desnos's work in his obvious, "plagiarizing" manipulations of it. For example, the ninety-ninth Rrose Selavy text ("Les caresses de demain nous reveleront-elles le carmin des deesses?" [Desnos 42]) is rendered by Roubaud as follows: "les kermesses a daim inciteraient-elles cardin a des messes?" (172). It is rather easy to discern the phonetic appropriation that Roubaud's text makes of Desnos's: caresses de demain is transformed to kermesses a daim and subsequently carmin des deesses is read cardin a des messes in the Roubaud text. While Roubaud does not copy the exact phonemes (he adds, for example, an m to the original word, caresses), the phonetic transformation effected by the text is very similar to that of Desnos's text--that is, it is a similar spoonerism. In other words, with limited alteration, the original Rrose Selavy undergoes its own new permutation and is thereby demonstrated to have harbored (at least) one other possibility of signification.

It is interesting to note how Roubaud's playful reading seemingly extracts a thematics from Desnos's text that, although not previously explicit, can be understood to have already been present, in one way or another, in the original. Specifically, Roubaud exposes a kind of thematics of the church within Desnos's text, and he does so by the simple phonetic transformation of one single key word in the Rrose Selavy text, carmin. In the phonetic variation, crimson generates the mass (messes), a fair (kermesses), and even, to a certain extent, the cardinal (suggested by cardin) whose vestments are crimson. In addition, the phonic transformation necessitates that the variation include the nasal e of Desnos's demain. In Roubaud's rewriting, the nasal e reappears in the daim of kermesses a daim, such that, due strictly to phonetic exigency, it is not simply a question in the new text of a church festival, but also of a festival "a daim"--that is, variously, a "fallow deer festival," a "suede festival," or even, according to Larousse, a festival of "hommes elegants" or one of "personnel stupides."(13)

What is one to make of this fairly astonishing textual alteration? Roubaud's variation on a text by Desnos demonstrates how the simple manipulation of sound can enrich and so to speak "psychoanalyze" the text--that is, it can bring to the surface the previously potential meaning of an apparently innocent discourse.(14) Of course, the Rrose Selavy text is itself "innocent" only to a certain degree. The author of such a text must have been aware that another meaning is always harbored by the text; it can exist only because of this phenomenon. Even if a playful reading discovers what was (perhaps) not known before, the possibility for other signification was almost certainly already postulated and even guaranteed by the original appropriation itself, since its very possibility suggests that there is always other meaning to be discovered and that there is always an appropriable remainder in the economy of textual signification. Hence, the transformations and new possibilities of signification brought about by those transformations cannot end. The implication of Roubaud's appropriation of Desnos is that no single reading or rewriting can produce the last word on the text. Lacan's "instance de la lettre"--at least--will always suggest otherwise in its haunting of any signification.(15)

As the practice of spoonerism itself then implies, no signification is definitive. It suggests that there is always a still potential textual otherness that can never be completely realized. The "proper" meaning of any text, or so at least is the implication of Roubaud's manipulation of Rrose Selavy, harbors, by means of its mediation by the signifier, other, more "literal" meanings that could not have been intended. As such, the control of one's own meaning is a very problematic thing. For meaning cannot exist but through the mediation of the signifier, and as the play of such writers as Desnos, Leiris or Roubaud implies, it is thereby always subject to a witty, and dangerously out of control, "misreading."

However, the scandal of the spoonerism has long been a part of literary tradition. Well before the emergence of surrealism, one of the wittiest misreaders in world literature--Shakespeare's Hamlet--had already demonstrated the oppositional power of wordplay:

King: How fares our cousin Hamlet?

Hamlet: Excellent, i'faith, of the chameleon's dish: I eat the air,

promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so.

King: I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These words are

not mine.

Hamlet: No, nor mine now. . .(16)

Despite his own wishes to control meaning (witness his speech to the players in the second scene of act 3), the question in the appropriation of Hamlet's wordplay is precisely that of the possession of discourse. For, given the inevitable susceptibility of any signification to unintended meaning, who indeed can be said to "own" discourse? Furthermore, what can be said of a king--the allegorical site of discursive power--who is undone, in effect, by wordplay? For the King is reminded by Hamlet's play of what he would rather forget: not only is the King guilty of fratricide, but also his own words have been taken away, and in effect his power undone, by a subject which in its own turn could never own discourse ("No, nor mine now").

There is perhaps no other proper meaning more proper than a proper name, no possession more dear to the signifying subject. It is thereby all the more fitting that so many of Desnos's playful texts should take as their point of departure a name, and it is only in the context of the possible possession--or repossession--of the name that the full significance of Desnos's play, as well as that of his imitators,(17) can be appreciated. Rrose Selavy and its subsequent imitations are reminders of the less than proper meanings of the "proper" in "proper name," reminders that as property, one's very name can always be taken away for other purposes. Indeed, literary spoonerism implies then that there can be no possession in discourse which is not subject to a repossession. There remains to be done perhaps a poetics of repossession, of a repossessor who by definition does not steal, but takes back that which the possessor should not have had or never did have in the first place. As a repossession, the playful spoonerism implies the impossibility of complete ownership of discourse that as such might be impervious to loss--but it seems odd to speak of the loss of something that the owner never really had. For who, in the context of repossession, could own discourse? Not the original subject, nor even the repossessor, whose own possession, as the repossessing production itself implies, is always subject to new appropriation. Like the buyer who loses the possession, the signifying subject never really owns its signification to begin with, never "completes payments" and thereby unequivocally establishes ownership nor ever completely escapes indebtedness.

At most, the signifying subject--or so at least is the implication of repossession--borrows discourse for its own use, and it can always lose its apparent possession of that discourse of which it never establishes complete ownership. Full possession is an illusion: a playful appropriation of discourse such as Hamlet's of the King's, or Desnos's of his comrades' names in Rrose Selavy, only foregrounds this. However, the repossession, far from the lamentable impossibility of a last word, is in the end the happy condition of the alternative production of meaning.

(1.) The French counterpart of the spoonerism is the contrepeterie: "Metathese suggeree de deux sons appartenant a deux elements d'un syntagme, ce qui produirait un nouveau syntagme, qui represente souvent quelque gauloiserie. L'exemple classique est celui de Rabelais dans Pantagruel (chap. 17). `Il disait souvent qu'il n'y avait qu'une antistrophe entre femme folle a la messe et femme moue a la fesse'" (Bernard Dupriez, Gradus. Les Procedes litteraires [Paris: Union generale d'Editions, 1984] 131). Dupriez goes on to note that "Les surrealistes, laissant de cote l'aspect trivial, ont su plier le procede a leurs themes . . . " He cites as an example Prevert's "Martyr, c'est pourrir un peu," an obvious play on "partir, c'est mourir un peu."

(2.) In addition to metathesis, Dupriez mentions phonetic approximation (l'a-peu-pres) or even nigauderie as similar devices. Raymond Queneau's Exercices de style (Paris: Gallimard, 1947) remains one of the best examples of the comic, literary appropriation of these practices.

(3.) Jean Paulhan, Jacob Cow le pirate ou si les mots sont des signes, cited in Dumas, Etude 31-32.

(4.) See "Mots sans rides" in Breton 133.

5. For more on love and surrealism, see Breton, L'Amour fou (Paris Gallimard, 1969). Despite Breton's statement in "Moss sans rides," one should keep in mind the later revision of his perspective on play: "Bien que, par mesure de defense, parfois cette activite ait ete cite par nous << experimentale >>, nous y cherchions avant tout le divertissement. Ce que nous avons pu y decouvrir d'enrichissant sous le rapport de la connaissance n'est venu qu'ensuite" (Andre Breton, Perspective cavaliere [Paris: Gallimard, 1970] 50).

(6.) See Rrose Selavy in Desnos 37.

(7.) My thanks to John Graham for suggesting this reading of "laps des sens."

(8.) Michel Leiris, "Glossaire: j'y serre mes gloses," La Revolution surrealiste 3 (1925)

(7.) It is an inescapable irony of these texts that the non-native speaker might have to look up in a dictionary some of the terms which are redefined by Leiris. While the catalogued, well-defined meanings of words which represents the dictionary is that which Leiris's practice apparently opposes, it is nonetheless important to note that a good part of the significance of the game is the very oppositional appropriation of conventional meaning. In a sense, Leiris's glossary would not mean so much were it not for those fixed meanings which he deplores.

(9.) See Michel Leiris, Langage tangage ou ce que les mots me disent (Paris: Gallimard, 1985).

(10.) See Glossaire: j'y serre mes gloses in Leiris 73.

(11.) It is worth noting that the d, here capitalized, appeared in the lower case in the first publication of Glossaire: j'y serre mes gloses in La Revolution surrealiste in January, 1925. The obvious emphasis on the repetition of the key letter of the text implies an even more explicitly insistent reminder of the original word to be defined, "definir."

(12.) See L'Aumonyme in Desnos 64.

(13.) As in the popular expression, "Quel vieux daim!" See Grand Larousse de la langue francaise (Paris: Larousse, 1972) 2: 1104. It is also likely that Roubaud is playing on the etymological foundations of Desnos's text. Carmin is a dye made from the dried bodies of female cochineals--in French, kermes, an obvious homonym of Roubaud's kermesse (my thanks to Roy Nelson for this intriguing analysis of Roubaud's line).

(14.) Roubaud's production of meaning is in this way analogous to Freud's analysis of slips of the tongue. However, it would be a mistake to impose a psychoanalytic teleology on surrealist wordplay. See Sigmund Freud, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, tr. Alan Tyson, ed. James Strachey (New York: Norton, 1965).

(15.) See Jacques Lacan, "L'Instance de la lettre dans l'inconscient ou la raison depuis Freud" in Ecrits (Paris: Seuil, 1966) 493-528.

(16.) William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed. David Bevington (New York Bantam, 1988).

(17.) For a fairly extended performance of the playful appropriation of the name, see Jacques-Andre Boiffard's "Nomenclature," La Revolution surrealiste 4 (1925) 22: "Robert Desnos--noces de la haine et des borders."

Works Cited

Breton, Andre. Les Pas perdus. Paris: Gallimard, 1969.

Desnos, Robert. Corps et biens. Paris: Gallimard, 1953.

Dumas, Marie-Claire. Robert Desnos ou l'exploration des limites. Paris: Klincksieck, 1980.

--. Etude de "Corps et biens" de Robert Desnos. Paris: Champion, 1984.

Leiris, Michel. Mots sans memoire. Paris: Gallimard, 1969.

Roubaud, Jacques. Autobiographie, chapitre dix. Paris: Gallimard, 1977.
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Title Annotation:Robert Desnos, Michel Leiris, Jacques Robaud
Author:Elbon, Andrew
Publication:The Romanic Review
Date:Mar 1, 1996
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