“The French Machine” reexamines Joachim Du Bellay’s famous literary manifesto of 1549, La Deffence et Illustration de la Langue Francoyse, through the lens of media history. What does La Deffence, with its vision for a “new” French poetics of imitation, have to do with the new medium of print and its technology of reproduction? To what extent is the rejection of “old” French poetic forms also a casting off of the oral/manuscript past? In this talk, Chenoweth suggests that beyond offering a model of poetic imitatio and a rhetoric of vernacular nationalism, Du Bellay’s manifesto lays out a self consciously revolutionary mode of (re)producing poetic language in the age of mechanical reproduction.
Place: Highwaymen Common Room, Romance Languages and Literatures