Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Les Poses de l'Incompris reprises: Corbière, Caricature, and Critical Illness

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2007), 1, (1), 34–48.

Abstract

Though included in Paul Verlaine's Poètes maudits ("accursed poets"), Tristan Corbière is remembered as accursed not for his brassy innovations in style or for his audacity in challenging poetic convention, but for his poor health. He is said to have suffered from chronic swelling in the extremities, rheumatic fever, pneumonia, tuberculosis, deafness, blindness, sexual impotence, and neurosis, as well as being unattractive. Despite a startling paucity of proof to substantiate these conditions, the pathologized composite continues to haunt critical inquiry. The essay examines the historical construction of illness— how it became the bedrock of critical studies of Corbière, and why recent trends in scholarship have failed to shake that construction at its foundation. These findings make way for a reevaluation of Les Amours jaunes that reveals a brilliant parody of the very preconceived notions that, over time, have entwined to stereotype both Corbière and Les Amours jaunes.

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Berberi, Tammy