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Article

A textless title: The mythical status of Blaise Cendrars’ La Légende de Novgorode

Citation
Parish N (2012) A textless title: The mythical status of Blaise Cendrars’ La Légende de Novgorode. Journal of European Studies, 42 (1), pp. 22-33. https://doi.org/10.1177/0047244111428843

Abstract
Throughout his literary career, Blaise Cendrars gave his first poem, La Légende de Novgorode, a privileged position. However, although the title is cited at the top of all his bibliographical lists, nobody had seen this work and it was thought to be mythical until a Russian translation was discovered in 1995. Scholars of Cendrars’s work were astounded by this unexpected discovery and immediately set out to examine its authenticity. In this article, it is argued that the importance of La Légende de Novgorode lies not in its discovery as authentic or forged text, but rather in its existence as a textless title, in its very textual absence. The questions of why Cendrars gave this poem such a prominent position and chose to situate his literary beginnings in a Russian legend could instead be said to cast light on the creative process itself.

Keywords
Blaise Cendrars provisional indeterminate unfinished poetry irreverence

Journal
Journal of European Studies: Volume 42, Issue 1

StatusPublished
Author(s)Parish, Nina
FundersUniversity of Bath
Publication date31/03/2012
Publication date online27/02/2012
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN0047-2441
eISSN1740-2379
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