By Dimitris Papanikolaou
Between 1945 and 1975, in either France and Greece, literature supplied the cultured standards, cultural status and institutional foundation for what aspired to be a better type of well known track and the actual consultant of a countrywide renowned song. released poems have been set to well known tune, whereas severe discourse celebrated a few songwriters not just for being ‘as strong as poets’ yet for being ‘singing poets’ of their personal correct. This hard and stimulating learn is the 1st to chart the parallel cultural strategies within the nations from a comparative point of view. Bringing jointly cultural reports with literary feedback, it bargains new angles at the paintings of Georges Brassens, Léo Ferré, Jacques Brel, Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hadjidakis and Dionysis Savvopoulos.
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Extra resources for Singing Poets: Literature And Popular Music in France And Greece, 1945-1975 (Legenda Studies in Comparative Literature)
The whole movement of the literary song and the canonization of the ACI in the 1950s and 60s would make use of the implicit figure of a popular poet very much based on Prévert’s example. Some texts in Paroles subtly emulate the simplicity of the popular song and most of them would indeed become song lyrics in the postwar years, set to the music of Joseph Kosma. The immense popularity of these and other songs penned by Prévert and Kosma, such as ‘Barbara’, ‘L’Orgue de barbarie’, ‘Les Enfants qui s’aiment’, and, most of all, ‘Les Feuilles mortes’, did not so much create a specific new chanson style as provide a discourse that would situate a particular style of poetry and a particular definition of the poetic (both represented by poésie populaire) within a new framework for thinking about popular culture.
This collection introduces Prévert as a popular poet with a set of characteristics that would eventually become crucial in both the formation and the reception of the ACI. His verse is simple and can reach wide audiences, yet remains subtle and often complex in its linguistic inventiveness; he undermines social conservatism; he sustains an ironic antimilitarism and anticlericalism (just as Brassens would do later), takes on the persona of the ironic anarchist, relentless humorist, and incurable sentimentalist (which strongly recalls Ferré, and certainly inf luenced Gainsbourg).
Consequently, in 1967 Brassens became the predictable laureate of the largely conservative Académie. The ‘texte d’allocution’, signed by René Clair, repeats the two (by then very well known) key ideas we have seen above: Brassens is a belated oral minstrel as well as a poet equal to the greatest in the French language: The whole history of poetry begins with songs. ] M. ] does not look out of place in the line to which he is entitled to add his name. His complaintes are not far from those of Corbière and Laforgue, nor his testaments from those of Villon.