Persephone Unbound

Catherine Perry

Dionysian Aesthetics in the Works of Anna de Noailles

453 pages
ISBN 0-8387-5499-6
LC 2002021540

This study, the first ever to appear in English, re-examines Anna de Noailles' poetry and prose alongside manuscripts and private documents, in relation to the works of French and European artists and thinkers from among her predecessors as well as her contemporaries. The author shows how this woman of foreign origins envisioned and constructed an original poetic world by actively engaging with her literary and intellectual heritage - as represented by Lamartine, Hugo, Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Proust, Schopenhauer, and Rilke, among others - while discovering vital sources of inspiration in her Greek ancestry and in Nietzsche's groundbreaking philosophy. Not only did Noailles create a distinctive voice in the world of French letters but also her influence reached writers of both genders in France, in other European countries, and across the Atlantic. Through the focusing lens of Anna de Noailles, Perry revives multiple facts of the culture in which she wrote. More crucially still, this book reevaluates a writer whose historical stature and whose incorporation by the French establishment as a representative of "feminine" poetry have tended to overshadow her literary merits.

Praise for Persephone Unbound:
"Perry's exhaustive and sympathetic assessment of the poetry of Anna de Noailles in its relation to philosophical and aesthetic currents of her time should restore this important female writer to the independent status she deserves in literary history."
- Suzanne Nash, Professor of French, Princeton University

About the author:

An American born and raised in Lausanne, Switzerland, Catherine Perry spent ten years in Morocco before settling in the United States. Now Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Notre Dame, her academic interests include intellectual history, literary theory, gender studies, representations of North Africa in European literature and painting, and literature from the Maghreb. She has published numerous articles no French and Francophone writers of all periods.


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