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Poetics of Joseph Joubert. Study on desecriture in the Carnets


Joseph Joubert was a close friend of Chateaubriand and Pauline de Beaumont and a witness of the French Revolution, which has « chased away [his] mind from the real world », as he stated. He wrote during his whole life a set of notes in 205 notebooks and loose sheets of papers, but never published them. In 1938, André Beaunier edited most part of them under the name of Carnets. This multifaceted text, belonging to the draft poetry, is here considered through the angle of a notion coming from Yves Bonnefoy. The désécriture includes all the movements that prevent from creating a finished book : reluctance, self-censorship, hesitations, modesty, literary deconstruction and mining which impede the writing, and his achievement as a piece of work. Joubert’s poetry arises from this conflicting movements between a literary ideal characterized by the classical way (clarity, order, achievement) and Joubert’s style compromising this ideal. Nonetheless, the author finds his ethic and poetic way thanks to a fragmented and temporary style. The désécriture is in fact a positive experience : the vanishing words become an affirmative power of saying, opposite to all forms of impotence.

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