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System of Images in Jules Laforgue’s Collection of Poems “L’imitation de Notre-Dame la Lune”

Student: Lada Zimina

Supervisor: Yana Linkova

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: Philology (Bachelor)

Final Grade: 10

Year of Graduation: 2018

In this paper a thorough study have been conducted of the image structure of poems from Jules Laforgue’s (1860-1887) collection of poems «The Imitation of our Lady the Moon» («L’Imitation de Notre-Dame la Lune», 1886), namely «Litanies of the first quarters of the Moon» («Litanies des premiers quartiers de la Lune») and «Litanies of the last quarters of the Moon» («Litanies des derniers quartiers de la Lune»). The goal of this research was to systematize a complicated variety of images presented in the poems in question and, based on that systematization, to reveal specific features of J. Laforgue’s poetical technique. As the concept of the collection is explicitly orientated at the catholic tradition, the study investigated the connections of «Litanies of the first quarters of the Moon» to the catholic litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as to the Christian tradition in general. Furthermore, the textual correlation has been defined with G. Flaubert’s novel «Salammbô» (1862). The imagery system of «Litanies of the last quarters of the Moon» has been analyzed within the context of Christian tradition and aesthetics of symbolism and decadence, mainly the works of St. Mallarmé, who played an important role in establishing Laforgue’s poetics. The research has led to a formulation of an author’s systematization of the image structure of the named Laforgue’s poems. It has been determined that each of them is based on an oppositional collision of two semantic fields, that traditionally conflict with each other. Thus, the images of «Litanies of the first quarters of the Moon» divided into groups belonging to the fields, conditionally called «Christian (catholic)» and «literary (pagan)», and the «Litanies of the last quarters of the Moon» in its turn – to the «Christian» and «eschatological». Thus, such dense interface of images with conflicting semantics is the basis of the ironic tone of Laforgue’s poetry.

Full text (added June 5, 2018)

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