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HUMANITIES 421 choice leaves many holes to be filled, and a final impression of bits and pieces, in particular in the discussion of formalism. Although most of the important names of contemporary French criticism and theory (Genette, Kristeva, Althusser, etc) are mentioned, in footnotes at least, if not in the text proper, little of substance is said about them. Nothing at all is said of Anglo-American criticism (unless one places Jakobson in that context), which is not in itself surprising, except for the fact that Montpetit chooses to discuss English-language texts in the third and ' practical' part of his book. There is nothing wrong with this per se, but it does seem odd in a work so thoroughly French in its orientation. The reader's feeling of alien material in a very French text is reinforced by the many typographical errors in the English quotations (pp 128 (2), '34, 136, '37, 138, 140 (2), '4', '48), and the rather serious misreading of 'planes' in English (pp 128, 131) which becomes 'plaines' in French (pp 130, 131). But this is a small matter. The final part of the text ('Machination') is a putting into practice of the author's own method based upon a borrowed image from Deleuze ('l'reuvre d'art moderne est une machine.et fonctionne it ce titre,' Proust et les signes, p 157), and an idea taken from Derrida ('Un texte n'est un texte que s'il cache au premier regard, au premier venu, la loi de sa composition et la regie de son jeu: 'La pharmacie de Platon: p 71). 'Machine: 'jeu': these are the two simple principles which will be used by Montpetit in his analyses of the Alexandria Quartet and Othello. Except for two pages about 'Ie texte machine' and 'Ie critique machiniste' (pp 151- 2), plus the odd sentence here and there, we are left to see what is meant by this method in the analyses themselves. Perhaps it is the author's intention to show that no developed theoretical statement is possible about such a method. The reader cannot help but wonder, however, whether a methodology which is essentially based upon an image will advance the cause of literary theory and practice, the problem of 'how to speak about literature. ' I find in these two undeniably interesting and cogent analyses an eclectic formalism which suggests at times Ricardou (especially for Durrell ), or Barthes, or someone else. The study of Othello is, I think, more carefully elaborated than that of the Alexandria Quartet (why is the latter based on the English text, the former on a translation?), but neither of these analyses, useful and inventive as they are, constitutes a new methodology which would be situated beyond or between, or as a synthesis of, hermeneutics and formalism. (JOHN A. FLEMING) Patrice Pavis. Problemes de semiologie theatrale Les Presses de l'Universite du Quebec 1976.170 Cet ouvrage etait depuis longtemps souhaite. La nouvelle conscience litteraire, developpee par la poetique dans la mesure ou celle-ci assume 422 LETTERS IN CANADA 1977 sa fcnetian premiere de decrire la production du sens, n'etait pas al'aise avec la reduction traditionnelle de I'ceuvre theatrale a un texte. En evacuant la dimension scenique, les analyses dramaturgiques laissaient tomber une part importante de I'investissement semantique des formes dramatiques. Malgre les efforts de Bogatyrev, d'Ingarden, de Jansen ou de Mukarovsky pour rendre compte de la specificite du theatre, on continuait aconsiderer l'ceuvre dramatique comme un texte romanesque . II faut savoir gre a Patrice Pavis de nous proposer, enfin, un modele d'analyse fonde sur 'une theorisation nouvelle' (p 3) du langage dramatique. Pavis, en effet, ne se contente pas d'adapter une theorie litteraire ou une semiotique deja etablie a la pratique theatrale. II veut remonter jusqu'aux codes et aux systemes de signes en cause pour construire une theorie semiotique particuliere. Son intention est clairement formulee des Ie depart: 'demontrer I'existence d'un langage specifiquement theatral et en expliquer Ie fonctionnement' (p 3). Rien n'est postule si ce n'est que Ie theatre utilise plusieurs systemes de signes qui fonctionnent en meme temps et qui doivent etre consideres...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 421-424
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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