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Title: 'Pour une poésie mineure' : linguistic experimentation in the work of Dominique Fourcade, Olivier Cadiot and Christophe Tarkos
Author: Sainsbury, Daisy
ISNI:       0000 0004 6501 1560
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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In a passage in 'Mille plateaux', Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari refer to the 'expressions singulières' of the American poet E.E. Cummings ('he danced his did ou they went their came'), arguing that Cummings offers an example of how, in literature, the atypical stylistic and syntactic variations of an author push language towards its limit, extending it 'vers un en-deçà ou un au-delà de la langue' (125-6). This comment forms part of an analysis, introduced in Kafka: pour une littérature mineure (1975), developed in Dialogues (1977), Mille plateaux (1980), Critique et clinique (1993) and elsewhere, which elaborates the notion of 'littérature mineure'. Deleuze and Guattari's analysis situates literature within the language system more broadly; this system, which they conceptualise as a socio-political phenomenon, structured around relations of power, sees two opposing forces at work. On the one hand, there is a 'major' or 'territorialising' impulse, which seeks to suppress the intrinsic variation of language, and to assert, in its place, a homogenous system, characterised by norms and constants. On the other hand, there is a 'minor' or 'deterritorialising' impulse, which serves to resist this former impulse, and to highlight instead the heterogeneous reality of the continuous variation of language. The stylistic variation of certain types of literature present prime examples of the deterritorialisation of a major mode: they disorder language, rendering it strange, agrammatical and foreign. Thus, in Cummings's example, his subversive use of syntax highlights the homogenising tendency of prescriptive grammar, pointing toward novel possibilities in language, new 'outsides' to the parameters established by a dominant discourse. Deleuze and Guattari call this type of literature 'mineure', and argue that it is intrinsically political in so far as it destabilises a major linguistic mode, which is itself a discourse of power.
Supervisor: Maclachlan, Ian Sponsor: University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available