The Flowers of Tarbes
About the BookLes Fleurs de Tarbes, ou la terreur dans les lettres, first published as a single volume in 1941, was considered by Jean Paulhan to be the furthest-reaching expression of his thinking about literature and language. It is now recognized as a landmark text in the history of twentieth century literary criticism and in the emergence of contemporary literary theory. This is the first time it has been translated into English.
The playful tone and quirky, casual style of Paulhan's writing mask a theoretical intent and seriousness of purpose that are extraordinarily prescient. In The Flowers of Tarbes Paulhan probes the relationship between language, meaning, context, intention and action with unremitting tenacity, and in so doing produces a major treatise on the nature of the literary act, and a meditation on what we might now call the responsibility or ethical imperative of literature itself.