Cézanne’s Ideal of “Realization”

Charles Altieri

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398779
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Cézanne’s Ideal of “Realization”

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This article elaborates what American modernist poets shared as they tried to appropriate aspects of the painters' projects while refusing slavish imitation and visible envy of the painters' centrality. There is much more at stake than learning how to adapt painterly collage. To adapt to a modernism defined primarily in the visual arts, they would have reconciled on their own terms the contrast in the epigraphs between Fry's formalism and Lawrence's sense of Cézanne's introducing a new relationship to matter and to energy. Because the best and most influential grappling with these issues is believed to take place in the later work of Cézanne, the article concentrates on the implicit theorizing that frames his use of the term “réalization” for his painterly quest. This concern puts the energies that form carries into dialogue with the possibilities of an artist providing a new yet plausible sense of the real, despite rejecting traditional representational paths to realist ends. It is argued that modernist poets adapt virtually the same strategies for their grappling with how a different medium might provide its own convincing access to what it could treat as reality.

Keywords: American modernist poets; painters; visual arts; formalism; Fray; Lawrence; realization

Article.  9824 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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