Other literary forms
Although Michel Butor (bew-TOR) first gained literary recognition as a novelist—his fame outside France still rests chiefly upon his New Novels—he has explored and experimented with several other forms and has (beginning with Mobile: Étude pour une représentation des États-Unis in 1962; Mobile: Study for a Representation of the United States, 1963) gone well beyond the novel in his long narratives. Butor’s poetry, some of which dates from the 1940’s, has evolved from his “Homage à Max Ernst” of 1945 and his “irrationalistic” poetry through prose poems and essay poems such as La Rose des vents: 32 rhumbs pour Charles Fourier (1970) and Dialogue avec 33 variations de Ludwig van Beethoven sur une valse de Diabelli (1971) to his Don Juan poems of the mid-1970’s, a series of texts printed on punched cards that can be shuffled and then read in any sequence. Other principal collections of poetry include Travaux d’approche (1972) and the poems and graphics of Illustrations I-IV (1964-1976).
A prodigious essayist, Butor turned out several pieces every year. His first volume of essays, Le Génie du lieu (1958; The Spirit of Mediterranean Places, 1986), which could also be classified as an autobiographical prose poem on the order of Portrait de l’artiste en jeune singe: Capriccio (1967; Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ape: A Caprice, 1995), was...
(The entire section is 513 words.)