Conférence commémorative en l’honneur de Barbara Wright (1935-2019)



Professor Eric Robertson (Professor of Modern French Literary and Visual Cultures at Royal Holloway, University of London)
will speak on

Blaise Cendrars and his Artists

(for Zoom details see below)
The French Department of Trinity College Dublin is delighted to announce the establishment of the Annual Barbara Wright Memorial Lecture in French Literature. The series has been established to honour the memory of Professor Barbara Wright (1935-2019) and will be inspired by her broad scholarly interests and achievements. A renowned specialist primarily in nineteenth-century literature and textual and visual studies, Professor Wright’s distinction was recognised by the French Government: she was made a Chevalier de l’ordre national du mérite in 1975 and a Chevalier de la légion d’honneur in 2019. A renowned expert on painter, writer and art critic Eugène Fromentin, Professor Wright’s interests extended beyond literature to art and music. The Barbara Wright Prize, awarded annually to the Senior Sophister in the French Department who obtains the highest result (and not less than a First) in French literature, is an inspiring and enduring testimony to her scholarly rigour. For further details see
The inaugural lecture will be delivered by Professor Eric Robertson, Professor of Modern French Literary and Visual Cultures at Royal Holloway, University of London.  His lecture, Blaise Cendrars and his Artists, is a fitting tribute to Professor Wright’s work on textual and visual studies.
The visual arts influenced the writings of Blaise Cendrars for a half-century after he first joined the avant-garde scene in Paris in 1912. As he later remarked, ‘A cette époque, les peintres et les écrivains, c’était pareil. On vivait mélangés avec probablement les mêmes soucis; on peut même dire que chaque écrivain avait son peintre.’ (‘At that time, painters and writers were one and the same. We lived with one another and probably shared the same concerns; you might even say that every writer had his painter.’) Cendrars’s collaborations with Sonia Delaunay, Fernand Léger and others rank amongst his most innovative and distinctive creations. Rather than conventionally illustrated books, these are ‘iconotexts’ that employ the text and images as interrelated elements cohabiting in the same discursive space. Employing techniques of collage and montage, they import tropes from painting, photography and cinema as literary practices while treating words as a visual medium. By analysing some key examples, this illustrated talk will explore some of the most significant ways in which the visual arts shaped Cendrars’s oeuvre.
About the speaker
Eric Robertson is Professor of Modern French Literary and Visual Cultures and Royal Holloway, University of London. He has written widely on the French and European avant-garde and on bilingual writers. He is the author of Writing Between the Lines: René Schickele, Citoyen français, deutscher Dichter (1995), Arp: Painter, Poet, Sculptor (2006; winner of the 2007 R.H. Gapper Book Prize), Arp: the Poetry of Forms (2017) and Blaise Cendrars: the Invention of Life (forthcoming 2021). He has co-edited Yvan and Claire Goll: Texts and Contexts (1997, with Robert Vilain), Robert Desnos: Surrealism in the Twenty-First Century (2006, with Marie-Claire Barnet and Nigel Saint), Dada and Beyond Vol. 1: Dada Discourses and Dada and Beyond vol. 2: Dada and its Legacies (2011 and 2012, with Elza Adamowicz). He has written extensively on modern and contemporary art for international museums and galleries, and with Frances Guy he co-curated the international touring exhibition Arp: The Poetry of Forms (Kröller-Müller Museum and Turner Contemporary, 2017-18). 
Dr Sarah Alyn Stacey, FTCD, Académie de Savoie, Chevalier de l’ordre national du mérite
French Department
Trinity College Dublin
RSVP to Sarah Alyn Stacey by 27 April 2021

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