chapter  6
30 Pages

The Poetics of Pantomime and Circus, Part I

Jules Laforgue
WithJennifer Forrest

Jules Laforgue maintained a rich affinity with pantomime and the circus. In his pantomime Pierrot fumiste and in Moralités légendaires, Laforgue’s poetics embrace the funambule as a figure whose existential identity is ambiguously double. The pantomime stage and the circus ring are semantic spaces in which this extraordinary duality can emerge and be sustained. Pierrot and the acrobat are not masks, but rather an aesthetic practice. Laforgue enlists the strategies of these figures in order to maintain as possible the impossible pairing of contradictory words and ideas (nonsens) in the production of a new sens (Pierrot fumiste). He creates characters whose dual natures establish textual space as that other arena in which the unimaginable paradoxically occurs (Moralités légendaires).