InThe Material, the Real, and the Fractured Self, Susan Harrow explores the fascinating interrelation of subjectivity, materiality, and representation in the poetry and related texts of four modern French writers: Arthur Rimbaud, Guillaume Apollinaire, Francis Ponge, and Jacques Réda. She demonstrates the richness and the relevance of modern French poetry for today's readers, putting contemporary thought to work on the fractured self emerging in the post-Baudelairian lyric.
Harrow addresses the widely perceived marginalization of poetry in the writing/theory debate, demonstrating that the emergence of a self at once shaped by and straining against material, historical, subjective, and cultural impediments reveals fertile relations between theory and poetry. Where purer forms of postmodernist thinking have stressed the dissolution and dispersal of the human subject, new approaches informed by cultural studies, autobiography theory, and gender studies work to recover fictions of experience and retrieve submerged narratives of the self. Probing the activity of textual self-recovery among the debris of history and fantasy, visuality and desire, and culture and corporeality,The Material, the Real, and the Fractured Selfimparts something of the startling beauty and the raw urgency of poetry writing across the broad modern period.