In this paper, I analyze Henri Bergson’s insightful and contrasted vision of poetry. First, I show in what sense Bergson sympathizes with the idea that the poet must be credited to surpass the novelist in offering to us an unparalleled emotional apprehension of the world. Second, I nonetheless underline how Bergson grants the product of the poet, i.e., the poem itself, a problematic linguistic status, inasmuch as the focus of his analysis shifts from an intersubjective poetical apprehension of feelings to their individual poetic appreciation, or from the spiritual dimension of poetry to its material dimension. Third, I further suggest to reconduct both the poet’s inspiration and the poem’s intention to their living matrix within the creative dimension of the poïen, whose main hallmark might be found in Bergson’s concept of addition. As a whole, the article argues that Bergson’s approach of poetry helps one in clarifying the delicate distinction that he draws between three possible attitudes that humans take vis-à-vis reality: that is, the standpoint of philosophy, or more accurately of metaphysics; the standpoint of art, or rather of literature in the context of my paper; and the standpoint of science, in its inherent ambiguity. In addition, I unveil some stimulating paradoxes regarding Bergson’s conception of language, and discuss his fascinating hypothesis concerning the absolute object of art.
"Bergson on Poetics: Philosophy, Literature and Science."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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