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CinepoetryImaginary Cinemas in French Poetry$
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Christophe Wall-Romana

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823245482

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823245482.001.0001

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Maurice Roche's Compact

Maurice Roche's Compact

Word-Tracks and the Body Apparatus

(p.326) Chapter Twelve Maurice Roche's Compact

Christophe Wall-Romana

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines Compact, a 1966 cinepoetic novel by Maurice Roche, a member of the influential Tel Quel journal editorial board. A remarkably original book of visual poetry, it is written in cine-verse, with eight different colors of ink corresponding to eight personas that may or may no be eight voices within the same blind and dying Japanese man, who may be succumbing from delayed effects from the atomic bomb. The fuzzy plot centers on a yakuza tattoo sported by the man and which an ex-Nazi doctor wants to harvest in exchange for terminal medical care. This gruesome pretext conceals deep reflections on history, writing, vision, skin, and screen culture, and of course on the experimental formalism of the book itself. Evoking earlier cinepoetic works, as well as the Shoah and the atomic bombing of Japan, Compact reprises a good deal of the history of cinepoetry through a device that runs through many works under study in the book: imaginary cinema involving a form of blindness or an empty screen.

Keywords:   Maurice Roche, Compact, Japan, Atomic bomb, Blindness, Skin, Radio, The Shoah

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