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"H Essay

1132 words - 5 pages

In 1913 Guillaume Appolinaire's "Alcools" was published. It marked a watershed in French, indeed world, literature, and is heralded by the Encyclopaedia Britannica as Appolinaire's "poetic masterpiece". The poem featured on this course, 'Hôtels', was included in this highly original, innovative and influential collection. 'Hôtels' combines traditional verse forms with truly modern imagery to great effect, and through this merits its place in this celebrated poetic collection.The traditional element can be noted in the structure of the poem. Here is a poem of six stanzas, of four lines each and with the with a simple 'abab cdcd efef ghgh ijij klkl' rhyming scheme. The traditional ...view middle of the document...

This gives the poet an anxious and uneasy presence in the poem. Appolinaire uses this unease to great effect later the poem, notably when he describes his voisin as 'laid'. The acrid smoke creates a pungent and unpleasant scene, it can be seen by the reader as seeping and percolating throughout the sordid world of the hotel . The distant noise of traffic emphasises the poet's detachment from the macrocosm of the exterior world and adds a auditory element to the poem. It also acts as a reminder to the reader to the extent of the isolation of the poet when he does in fact, "ferme son porte". The opposing microcosm is to be found in the poet's own room, in his "seul amour", the world of art and poetry. The fourth stanza adds a lethargic, nihilistic character to the poem, "La Vallière". This adds a sexual element, "Qui boite et rit", which emphasises the squalid, sleazy and seedy atmosphere. The "Babel" languages image although appears to be a positive image of diversity, suggests a further isolation. The final stanza reinforces the notion of the secluded poet, "Fermons nos Portes à double tour Chacun apporte Son seul amour". The "seul amour" underscores the central image of the poem, the isolated poet, who finds his only love in the world of words he creates.Thematically, "Hôtels" is far from traditional. It is concerned with the poet/peasant complex and the loneliness and isolation of the poet in society. The poem depicts a man, stranded in a world of isolation, separation and seclusion. The world of the Hotel is harsh and unforgiving, those around him do not pay him any heed, "Mon voisin laid Qui fume un âcre Tabac anglais". Although isolated, the poet finds solace in his "seul amour", poetry. The "babel" languages that surround the poet are suggestive of a language and a means of interaction that is foreign to the poet. It also seems that Appolinaire wishes to give emphasis to the irony he saw in the world he lived in, that is, a society where appreciation is reserved for the peasant and suspicion for the poet who is, in a sense, banished and forced to exist on the periphery, this suspicion...

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