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INNER STATES: GUSTAVE COURBET

THERE ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE that May 1968 was not, in fact, the turning point that so many think it was. Indeed, there are those who believe that it was only in May ’68 that the effects of actions that had taken place years before finally became visible and then impossible to ignore—even for those whose eyes were perhaps not so subtle. In 1967, when tremors of the impending upheaval were already being felt, poet Francis Ponge provided a kind of organizing metaphor for this belief. Speaking with the critic Philippe Sollers in an interview broadcast on France Culture, Ponge disclosed his preferred mode of literary warfare: the bomb. Though he did not say so outright, it was clear that he did not mean conventional aerial bombardments; unlike more direct forms of combat, his weapons were to be prepared and planted in secret. While readers today are sadly all too familiar with this metaphor,

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