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Open Access Crossing Cultural and Aesthetic Frontiers: Yves Bonnefoy and the Dynamics of Haiku

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Ever since the opening of the ports of Japan to the West in 1854, French authors have participated in a fruitful dialogue of East-West exchange, to which the work of Yves Bonnefoy adds an engaging dimension. Bonnefoy, who reads Japanese and has spent time in Japan, has carried on throughout his career an equivocal relationship with Japanese aesthetics, especially notable in his complex views on haiku. Early on, Bonnefoy critiqued the form as a hollow discursive structure inattentive to the crucial referential relationship between art and world that he underscored in his own work as primary. Yet, interestingly, critics have described similarities between Bonnefoy's poetry and Japanese haiku, and indeed Bonnefoy later recanted his negative critique of the form. In the 1989 essay, 'Du haïku', he argues in fact that haiku embodies pure presence, expressing a kind of third dimension, situating itself in the space of the world and in the mind's eye, as it communicates the plenitude of being.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2015

More about this publication?
  • The Irish Journal of French Studies is an annual international refereed journal published by the Association des Études Françaises et Francophones d'Irlande. Articles in English, French or Irish are welcomed on any aspect of research in the area of French and Francophone culture, society, literature and thought. Articles published within the last two years are available free online to members and may be purchased by non-members. All other articles are available on an open access basis.

    Please note that the Print ISSN listed for the journal on this website applies to volumes 1 to 10, and part of volume 16. All other volumes are published, in their entirety, on-line only.

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