Francis Ponge Cover Image

Francis Ponge
Francis Ponge

A Rhetoric by an Animal

Author(s): Laurent Demoulin
Subject(s): Studies of Literature, French Literature, Theory of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: Francis Ponge; poetry; mimicry; rhetoric; anthropomorphism; butterfly
Summary/Abstract: By seeking to mimic by their rhetoric the animals they describe, the poems of Francis Ponge’s Parti pris des choses or Pièces give them a formal existence. After evoking a vigorous exchange between Francis Ponge and the American critic Bruce Morrissette, who reproached the poet for indulging in anthropomorphism, we will read a passage in which Ponge clearly claims this mimetic poetics with the formula “A rhetoric by object”. Then, we will illustrate it by analyzing a poem that Jean-Paul Sartre had commented in an article of 1944: “The butterfly”. Thus, we will show that Ponge gives a formal existence to the animals he describes and takes into account their being in the world – which is a way to defend them.

  • Page Range: 32-41
  • Page Count: 10
  • Publication Year: 2022
  • Language: French