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literature

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Roditi, Edouard (1910-1992)  
 
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Two particular quotes from his critical essays epitomize his literary goals: "The writer has a moral responsibility to cut through the lies"; and "Poetry should . . . express, in the limited and fixed terms of language, all that the poet perceives, however obscurely, of the infinite forces of the universe, translated by him into finite symbols which are reflections in the mirror of his mind and of his diction."

Since Roditi held his contemporaries to the same high standards he set for himself, he was often involved in heated aesthetic arguments. John Bernard Myers, who ran the prestigious Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York from the 1950s to the 1970s, described Roditi as a person who attacked everyone, regardless of school or affiliation. Roditi, however, saw himself as decrying a destructive cult of personality.

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He believed that the obsession with "celebrities" was driving contemporary visual and literary art toward mediocrity. With regard to the visual arts, he lamented the rise of outsized and outrageous works, especially installation art; as for literary trends, he railed against media's focus on writers' messy lives at the expense of serious attention to their work.

Roditi did not care that people might be offended by his sometimes harsh judgments: he believed that he had earned the right to express his opinions and he felt he could back them up with his scholarship.

When he died in Paris on May 10, 1992, Roditi was working on his memoirs. Reportedly consisting of four large volumes, they remain unpublished.

John McFarland

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    Bibliography
   

Applefield, David. "Text and Context: An Interview with Edouard Roditi." Gargoyle Magazine 32/33 (August 31, 1987): 12-39.

Bowles, Paul. In Touch: The Letters of Paul Bowles. Jeffrey Miller, ed. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1993.

Leyland, Winston. "An Interview with Edouard Roditi." Gay Sunshine Interviews, Volume 2. Winston Leyland, ed. San Francisco, California: Gay Sunshine Press, 1982. 157-90.

Polizzotti, Mark. Revolution of the Mind: The Life of Andre Breton. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: McFarland, John  
    Entry Title: Roditi, Edouard  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated December 8, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/roditi_e.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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