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The Henri Meschonnic ReaderA Poetics of Society$
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Henri Meschonnic and Marko Pajevic

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474445962

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474445962.001.0001

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Meschonnic’s Theory of Rhythm, his Key Concepts and their Relation

Meschonnic’s Theory of Rhythm, his Key Concepts and their Relation

(p.15) Meschonnic’s Theory of Rhythm, his Key Concepts and their Relation
The Henri Meschonnic Reader

Marko Pajević

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter introduces into the key concepts of Meschonnic’s theory. Basing the conception of language on the sign represents an obstacle to the awareness of certain elements of human life, especially to a full understanding of what language or art do. Meschonnic’s poetics of the continuum and of rhythm criticizes the sign based on Benveniste’s terms of rhythm and discourse, developing an anthropology of language. Rhythm, for Meschonnic, is no formal metrical but a semantic principle, each time unique and unforeseeable. As for Humboldt, his starting point is not the word but the ensemble of speech. The poem, then, is a process of transformation, a way of thinking, and rhythm is form in movement. Thus, Meschonnic’s poetics attempts to thematize the intelligibility of presence. Art and literature raise our awareness of this continuous. This poetic thinking is a necessary counterforce against all institutionalization.

Keywords:   Meschonnic, poetics, continuum, rhythm, discourse, transformation, intelligibility of presence, poetic thinking, anthropology of language

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