This collection of essays addresses the question of lucidity as a thematic in literature and film but also as a quality of both expression and insight in literary criticism and critical thought more generally. The essays offer treatments of lucidity in itself and in relation to its opposites, forms of obscurity and darkness. They offer attention to problems of philosophical thought and reason, to questions of literary and poetic form, and of photographic and filmic contemplation. Ranging from engagements with early modern writing through to more recent material the contributions focus in particular on nineteenth- and twentieth-century French prose and poetry, the field which has been the predominant focus of Alison Finch’s critical writing. They are written as tributes to the distinctively lucid insights of her work and to the breadth and clarity of its intellectual engagement.
Table of Contents
1 Lucidity and Tact 2 ‘A propos, ou hors de propos, il n’importe’: Relevance Theory and Montaigne 3 Lucidity and Misrecognition in Late Corneille 4 Flaubert: Lucidity, Mysticism, and the Senses 5 Lucidity, Modernity: Mallarme, Morisot, and Zola 6 Easy Reading: Zola’s Kitsch 7 The Fog of War: Impressionism and Zola Revisited 8 Baudelaire, Bonnefoy, Jeanne Duval: Poetry and Ethical Lucidity 9 The Peculiar Lucidities of Verse Form: Translation as an Operation of Consciousness 10 Marcel Proust, On and Off 11 Seeing Clearly into the Past: Sartre and Beauvoir at War 12 Nathalie Sarraute’s Domestic Spaces: Windows, Walls, and Blinding Lucidity 13 ‘Et la raison vacilla’: Sociality as Burden in Tahar Djaout and Mohammed Dib 14 ‘The open sea but not the wilderness’: Light and Clarity in the Late Work of Colette and Agnes Varda 15 Varda’s Hermitage: The Madonna del parto and La Pointe Courte
Ian James is Reader in Modern French Literature and Thought at Downing College, Cambridge, and Emma Wilson Professor of French Literature and the Visual Arts at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.