English Issue > 2011

An Annual English Selection - 2011 - 52 - Supplement

Joining the Literary Pantheon :
How Contemporary French Poets Attain Renown

Sébastien DUBOIS



pp. 87-115


The most common image of the poet is of an exceptional creator whose renown is proportionate to his genius, the latter understood as an attribute that can only be explained in
terms of the poet’s unanalyzable singularity. The present article identifies two thresholds in the social construction of fame in poetry—attainment of recognition, attainment of renown—showing that renown is obtained only at the end of a long path made up of compulsory stages. There is a path to renown in the art of poetry ; it is discernible in statistical regularities. A creator’s renown develops gradually in the art world structures he is active in ; in the case of poetry, artistic skill and the poet’s early esthetic choices are at the center of this analysis of the social construction of renown in poetry, which applies to all practitioners
concerned to produce highly legitimate art, art that in turn will assure its best representatives an enduring legacy together with economic profits.



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