---- by Richard G. Smith
  Baudrillard's poems were published in 1978 as L'Ange du Stuc (The Stucco Angel) - an unpaginated book with no preface or afterword - and were not fully translated into English until 2001 (UB). Baudrillard wrote the sequence of seventeen poems in the 1950s when he was interested in the works of German poets such as Goethe, Hölderlin and Rainer Maria Rilke.
  Baudrillard's passion for poetry in his twenties - like his interests in German and pataphysics - was to touch the theoretical writings he wrote some decades later (especially Symbolic Exchange and Death (1993a [1976]) and Seduction (1990a [1979])). Indeed, several lines from Baudrillard's poems are scattered as fragments in his theoretical writings. For example, the tenth poem begins with 'A clock without hands imposes time but leaves the hour to be divined . . . soft to the touch like a natural death' (UB, 84-5) and appears in Seduction (S, 61-2). And the epigraph to the poems, 'And they saw a stucco angel whose extremities were joined along one curve' (UB, 78) also appears in Symbolic Exchange and Death (SED, 53) and Forget Foucault (FF, 58) as Baudrillard draws on this image to illustrate his idea of the simulacrum as a single substance in a closed space.
  Gane (1991b) examined whether Baudrillard's interest in the 1970s in Saussure's notebooks on anagrams as a form of symbolic exchange in language (SED) is evidenced in the structure of the poems he wrote as a young man. After a close (and imaginative) analysis Gane's conclusion is that any claim of an anagrammatic structure underlying Baudrillard's poetry from the 1950s, which would link through to his interest in anagrams as a subversion of orthodox linguistics and Saussure's own structural linguistics of the sign a few decades later, is no more than a 'fanciful suggestion'. However, what Gane does suggest is that the appearance, themes and sometimes content of some lines of Baudrillard's poetry (AS) in Seduction (1990a [1979]), where Baudrillard is concerned with trompe-l'œil and the changing experience of space in the Renaissance, is indicative of how, for Baudrillard, the poetic is a non-accumulative process where meaning and value are annulled. Thus Baudrillard's poetry - and his interest in poets (such as Kenneth White (BL)), poetry and the poetic more broadly - can be better understood if one locates it within the horizon of symbolic exchange.
   § anagrams
   § fragments
   § reversibility

The Baudrillard dictionary. . 2015.


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