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Illegible Writing: Michaux, Masson, and Dotremont

Akane Kawakami
The Modern Language Review
Vol. 106, No. 2 (April 2011), pp. 388-406
DOI: 10.5699/modelangrevi.106.2.0388
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5699/modelangrevi.106.2.0388
Page Count: 19
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Illegible Writing: Michaux, Masson, and Dotremont
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Abstract

This article examines the reasons for the collective fascination, among painters and writers of the 1950s, with the materiality of the sign. It analyses forms of illegible writing invented by Henri Michaux, André Masson, and Christian Dotremont, showing how these creations undermine the visual/scriptural and abstract/figurative dichotomies, and challenge the viewer's preconceptions about the act of reading and the creation of meaning. The article concludes that these artists constitute, together with many others of the period, a second wave of Modernism which sets itself against the dominance of postmodernism in the ensuing years.

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