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May 13, 2009, 7:00 PM

Surrealism and Beyond: Paul Eluard and René Char

Poetry Course
Participants: Mary Ann Caws, Nancy Kline, Lois Oppenheim

In the surrealist movement as we think of it, Paul Eluard is recognized as the most evidently "lyric" poet. René Char, who began as a surrealist, became the great poet of the Resistance, and remains unchallenged in his universal appeal. In the second of a series focussing on French poetry, Mary Ann Caws, Nancy Kline, and Lois Oppenheim will read from the works of Eluard and Char, and discuss their influence on the surrealist movement and how they developed their individual poetic voices.

No prior registration or fee is required. To view the poems, please click on the link below. Please bring a printed copy to the class. Copies of the poems will not be provided at the event.

French Poetry (PDF)
French Poetry (Word)

Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is a recipient of Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Humanities, Getty, and Rockefeller fellowships, and past President of the Modern Language Association, the American Comparative Literature Association, and the Association for the Study of Dada and Surrealism. She is the author of numerous volumes on art and literature, including The Surrealist Look: An Erotics of Encounter; Picasso's Weeping Woman: The Life and Art of Dora Maar; Robert Motherwell with Pen and Brush; Virginia Woolf; Marcel Proust; To the Boathouse: A Memoir; Pablo Picasso; Henry James; Surprised in Translation; and Salvador Dali. She is the editor and translator of André Breton's Mad Love, Louis-René des Forêt's Ostinato, Tristan Tzara's Approximate Man and Other Writings, and the editor and co-translator of Mallarmé in Prose, Surrealist Painters and Poets, Surrealism, The Yale Anthology of Twentieth Century French Poetry, André Breton: Selected Poems, Paul Eluard: Capital of Pain, The Essential Robert Desnos, and of collections of poems by René Char, Robert Desnos, and Pierre Reverdy.

Nancy Kline has written short stories, essays, memoirs, and translations that have appeared widely, most recently in Stone Canoe, Chelsea, and The Massachusetts Review. She has won a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Grant and First Prize in the Minnesota Review Fiction Contest. Her books include a novel (The Faithful); a critical study of the poetry of René Char (Lightning); and a biography of Elizabeth Blackwell (A Doctor's Triumph). She has also published a series of new translations: Paul Eluard's Capital of Pain (with Mary Ann Caws and Patricia Terry); Jules Laforgue's "Perseus" in Laforgue's Selected Poetry and Prose (with Patricia Terry); and René Char's Furor and Mystery and Other Texts (with Mary Ann Caws). Her reviews appear regularly in The New York Times Sunday Book Review and American Book Review. From 1989 through July 2007, she taught in the English and French Departments at Barnard College, where she directed the Writing Program. She has also taught at Harvard, UCLA, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and Wellesley. She is now an Associate at the Bard Institute for Writing & Thinking.

Lois Oppenheim is Distinguished Scholar, Professor of French, and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Montclair State University, where she also teaches courses in psychoanalysis and the literary and visual arts. She has authored or edited ten books and published over seventy articles. Her most recent books include A Curious Intimacy: Art and Neuro-Psychoanalysis and The Painted Word: Samuel Beckett's Dialogue With Art. Dr. Oppenheim is a member of the Advisory Board of The Philoctetes Center, as well as Scholar Associate Member of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and Honorary Member of the William Alanson White Institute.


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