The object of desire in lyric poetry: some considerations on sublimation

  • Francesco Giusti
Keywords: Lyric poetry, Psychoanalysis, Sublimation, Desire, Speaker, Thibaut de Champagne, Baudelaire


Sublimation is an idea often used to give a psychoanalytic interpretation of artistic creativity. Focusing on the lyric speaker within the poem and considering the text as a mise-en-scène of poetic creation, the paper intends to investigate why sublimation could not be the right key to understanding the phenomenon. The subject’s dynamics, in modern poetry, show themselves as a continuous failure in the repeated attempt to possess the object. The speaker’s affective and cognitive desire is produced and constantly renewed by the impossibility of possessing the object (above all in its representation). But it is only in such a gap that the subject can exists. In order to feel desire, there should be an illusion of possession and representation. Subject and object create each other in lyric poem, and the former comes to coincide with the desire for the latter, it does not exist outside that desire. 

Since lyric poetry shows itself as the unfolding of a subject that voices itself and is always involved in an object relation, it can be a privileged field of investigation for this kind of phenomena. Two poets will be taken into consideration: Thibaut de Champagne, a late trouvère who summons up the Provençal tradition, and Charles Baudelaire, one of the modern poets that have most deeply investigated the reality lack of sense. 



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Author Biography

Francesco Giusti

Francesco Giusti graduated in Comparative literature at the University of L’Aquila, tutored by Massimo Fusillo, and in February 2012 he obtained a PhD in European literature and culture at the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (SUM), supervised by Piero Boitani and Zygmunt Baranski (University of Cambridge). At the moment he holds a British Academy Fellowship at the University of York. His main areas of research are: history and theory of European lyric poetry; philosophical, cognitive and psychoanalytic aesthetics; medieval literatures and their reception in contemporary literature and arts. He published articles in Italian and international academic journals, such as Modern Language Notes, The Italianist, Italian Studies, Linguistica e Filologia, Otto/Novecento, Intersezioni, Compar(a)ison, Contemporanea, Strumenti Critici, Rinascimento. He writes for the reviews Poesia and l’Immaginazione as a critic and translator from Old and Modern English. 


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How to Cite
Giusti, F. (2013). The object of desire in lyric poetry: some considerations on sublimation. Between, 3(5).