René Char  

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"Notre héritage n'est précédé d'aucun testament" --Feuillets d'Hypnos (1946)

"À chaque effondrement des preuves le poète répond par une salve d'avenir." -- René Char, Pargage formel in Seuls demeurent, English: "To each collapse of the evidence the poet responds with a salvo of the future."

"I shall have to break with the aroma of these essential years, silently repress (not reject) my treasure."--Fureur et Mystère (1948) by René Char, English translation featured in On Revolution by Hannah Arendt and Lipstick Traces by Greil Marcus

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René Char (June 14, 1907February 19, 1988) was a 20th century French poet.



Born in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in the Vaucluse departement of France, he died in 1988, in Paris. In 1929 he met André Breton and Paul Éluard and joined the surrealist group but distanced himself gradually from the mid 1930s on. Char joined the Résistance in 1940. He wrote about these events in his prose poems Feuillets d'Hypnos in an extraordinary manner. In the 1960s he joined the battle against the stationing of Atomic weapons in the Provence.


  • Arsenal (1929).
  • Ralentir Travaux (1930 - in collaboration with André Breton and Paul Eluard).
  • Artine (1930).
  • Le marteau sans maître (1934).
  • Seuls demeurent (1943).
  • le Poème pulvérisé (1945).
  • Feuillets d'Hypnos (1946).
  • Fureur et mystère (1948).
  • Les Matinaux (1950).
  • A une sérénité crispée (1951).
  • Recherche de la base et du sommet (1955).
  • La Parole en archipel (1962).
  • Dans la pluie giboyeuse (1968).
  • Le Nu perdu (1971).
  • Aromates chasseurs (1976).
  • Chants de la Balandrane (1977).
  • Fenêtres dormantes et porte sur le toit (1979).
  • Les voisinages de Van Gogh (1985).
  • Éloge d'une soupçonnée (1988).

The Œuvres complètes were published in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Gallimard, in 1983 (introduction by Jean Roudaut).


Among the translators of his hermetic poems into German are Paul Celan and Peter Handke. Char was a friend of Albert Camus, Georges Bataille and Maurice Blanchot among writers, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Victor Brauner among painters.

The composer Pierre Boulez wrote three settings of Char's poetry, Le Soleil des eaux, Le visage nuptial, and Le Marteau sans maître.

Further reading

  • Ralentir Travaux: Slow Under Construction, Exact Change,U.S. 1992
  • Selected Poems of Rene Char, New Directions Publishing Corporation 1992

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "René Char" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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