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Poulet, Georges (1902–91)

SARAH N. LAWALL


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


Extract

Critic of the G eneva school . Born in Belgium, influenced by Marcel R aymond , Arthur L ovejoy , and Gaston B achelard , Poulet taught in Edinburgh, Baltimore, Zürich, and Nice, while developing an analytic approach that emphasizes categories of space and time as keys to understanding literary T exts , and the coordination of these categories to reconstruct an implied author's identity or cogito , that is, the Cartesian “I think” that represents an individual act of consciousness. Poulet's brilliantly seductive L iterary criticism has also been controversial because it marshals evidence from an author's complete writings without recognizing either context or the unity of individual works. Rejecting formal structures and critical objectivity, he correlates key words to define a characteristic organizing consciousness that persists throughout each writer's entire work. His Studies in Human Time (1949–68) describe the spiritual careers of authors from the Renaissance to the twentieth century, prefacing them with a larger “history of human consciousness” that outlines, century by century, the evolution of concepts of existence. Later books consider individual authors ( Proustian Space , 1963 ) and literary critics ( The Critical Consciousness , 1971). Key phrases are “interior distance,” the mental universe projected by the T ext; foyer , a generating core or starting point ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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