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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

French & Francophone Studies

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



This Master’s thesis investigates the language of words and images in the work of Belgian poet and painter Henri Michaux (1899-1984) through the practice of translation. I have chosen to translate texts that serve as critical and poetic inquiries into the nature of verbal and visual representation. In the critical introduction preceding the translations, I analyze Michaux’s relationship to the languages of words and images in the selected works. The selected translations appear in two sections: “On Words and Images” and “Images in Words.” In the first, I translate selections from Michaux’s reflective works on the practice of painting and writing. These include the essay “En pensant au phénomène de la peinture,” first published in Peintures et dessins (1946) and selections from Émergences-résurgences (1972). In the second, I translate selections from works of ekphrastic poetry, including “Dessins commentés,” first published in La nuit remue (1935), “Aventures de lignes,” from Passages (1937-1963) (1950, 1963), Lecture par Henri Michaux de huit lithographies de Zao Wou-Ki (1950) and En rêvant à partir de peintures énigmatiques (1972). I propose that these texts reflect Michaux’s hybrid view of representation. They embody a search for an ideal language that is neither purely verbal nor visual, calling for both words and images.


First Advisor

Dianne Sears