Loss and Presence in Three Poetic Texts of Mourning

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In Truinas, le 21 avril 2001 Philippe Jaccottet recounts the funeral of André du Bouchet, which took place in Truinas on that day. He describes the extraordinary non-ceremony; there was no liturgy, only a reading of du Bouchet's poem L'Avril, and informal addresses by friends and writers, including Jaccottet himself. I shall discuss Jaccottet's text in conjunction with two others: "Tübingen, le 22 mai 1986," in which du Bouchet responds to the work of Paul Celan, who died in 1970, and Yves Bonnefoy's "L'Étranger de Giacometti," published in 1967 shortly after the death of Alberto Giacometti. There are a number of connections between these figures, but the most important are ties of friendship. In Mémoires: pour Paul de Man he writes that the other might only fully come to us as other after his or her death, through the experience of mourning. The subject of mourning is especially pertinent to Derrida's later work, including his tributes to friends published as The Work of Mourning. In their introduction to this volume, the editors stress that, for Derrida, loss was inherent in friendship; friends always know that one of them is bound to lose the other.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-152
Number of pages16
JournalFrench Forum
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007