Politics or Poetics? The Battle Cry of the Refrain in Villiers de L'Isle-Adam's 'Vox populi'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's prose poem, 'Vox populi', shows the author drawing a close-knit relationship between the collapse of political regimes and the perceived crisis in poetic production during the nineteenth century in France. His distaste for the public who continue to feign allegiance to each successive governing power provides an insight into Villiers's own conception of power. He proposes a more indirect and subterfugal means of establishing authoritative longevity as binaries of stability and instability are played out through a particular stylistic trait: the refrain. By exploring the aesthetic background and precedents for using refrains in prose poetry, my analysis seeks to establish whether the refrain in Villiers's 'Vox populi' becomes a battle cry in order to rally support for the poetic cause. By garnering support in the form of Poe, Baudelaire, and Mallarmé, does Villiers foretell the return to power of the poetic regime by preying on the conscience of the public who have hitherto been blinded or deafened by the bombast of unstable political regimes?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-135
Number of pages10
JournalRomance Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


Dive into the research topics of 'Politics or Poetics? The Battle Cry of the Refrain in Villiers de L'Isle-Adam's 'Vox populi''. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this