- Peer Review: “Apollinaire:Site officiel”
- Oct 13, 2003 by World Languages
- Titled the official site of Guillaume Apollinaire, this web site contains a wide
array of resources that may be used at many different levels.The "officiel"
qualification comes from the fact that some of the most important
Apollinaire scholars have collaborated together in the making of the site:
Professors Catherine Moore (Western Illinois University) and Laurence Campa
(Universite de Paris XII); Michel Decaudin and Gilbert Boudar (both
Apollinaire's scholars and editors of the poet's works and correspondence);
Jean-Paul Avice (Bibliotheque historique de la Ville de Paris). The site also
provides a rich collection of visual materials, all reproduced with permission
or under reserved copyrights. The site is intended for pedagogical uses.
The Biography page contains a chronology accented with photographs and
documents. There is also a link to portraits of the poet done by Pablo Picasso
and Marie Laurencin, among others.One of the great highlights of the site is on
the page "Apollinaire: Son et Lumiere" where Apollinaire himself reads his works
"Le Pont Mirabeau" and "Marie". Another highlight is the page "A la Sante"
where prison images are juxtaposed with the verses of Apollinaire's poem written
during his 1911 incarceration. On the page titled "Actualites", one can find
the latest Apollinaire related exhibits and colloquia. "Forum" contains the site
authors' contact information and an FAQ section for the site. The site has a
comprehensive bibliography on Apollinaire, a separate critical bibliography, and
the archives of Que Vlo-Ve?, a literary journal devoted to the study of his
- Type of Material:
- Recommended Uses:
- This site can be used in grammar, literature and culture courses, as a reference
on the poet and his time. A variety of portraits of the poet by contemporary
artists and friends provides an excellent basis for in-class activities.
- Technical Requirements:
- Higher-speed connection will shorten graphic download times; QuickTime player
for video and audio materials.
- Identify Major Learning Goals:
- The user will gain appreciation of the works and the life of Guillaume
Apollinaire as well as an insight into French culture from the end of the
19th century until the end of World War I.
- Target Student Population:
- Undergraduate and graduate students of French; intermediate, advanced and
graduate FSL students; native speakers from secondary to college levels.
- Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
- French reading proficiency from intermediate to advanced levels. All levels of
proficiency for the Promenade Interactive de Paris.
- This site contains a substantive collection of authentic documents in a variety
of media all of which can be used to give students a true feel for the life and
times of Apollinaire. Great care has been taken to organize these documents
around the works of the author to create a complete portrait of the man and his
writings. The glossed poem "A la sante" is very effective with the prison images
right beside the poet's own words. One of the best features of the site is the
presentation of archival documents that do not circulate or cannot easily be
consulted by scholars. Also students and teachers will appreciate the
combination of visual documents, textual information and poems. For example the
author's biography is illustrated with pictures and connected to poems and
paintings. The "chronologie" - presentation of Apollinaire's life - is
enhanced with ancient photographs that add a visual contact with the period,
making the biographical information more lively; the section "Les femmes"
shows portraits of the poet's girlfriends along with some poems he wrote for
them; in the section "portraits du poete" users will be able to see how
Apollinaire was perceived and represented by his artist friends among whom we
find Marie Laurencin, Picasso, Chirico, Vlaminck.
The virtual tour of Apollinaire's Paris will also be a welcome tool in French
literature courses, a great aid for visual learners. The multisensory aspect of
this site makes it accessible to various learning styles. The comprehensive
bibliographies will be a great aid to students doing research on Apollinaire.
The website also offers the three recordings of Apollinaire reciting his poems
(Marie, Le Pont Mirabeau, Le Voyageur) made by Ferdinand Brunot for the
Archives de la Parole in 1913 (these recordings are currently held at the
Phonotheque nationale and are also available through Gallica, the digital
section of the Bibliotheque nationale website).
Readers will find here the "Petite machine animee", - a series of 50
photographs of Apollinaire and Andre Rouveyre taken in 1914 (the day of the trip
told by Apollinaire in the poem-calligramme "La Petite Auto"). The
photographs were converted into a QuickTime movie, an original idea that keeps
this unusual work available to the public since the book published by Michel
Decaudin (Andre Dimanche: 1992) is now out of print.
The site also links to a searchable database of "Que-Vlo-Ve", a journal
devoted to the poet and his works.
Scholars will find a "bibliographie critique" of the most recently published
books and collected papers on Apollinaire in French and other languages. The
entries are accompanied by excellent descriptions of their contents.
- The page called "Forum" suggests that it is a place where users might find a
discussion board, but instead contains site author contact information and a
brief frequently-asked questions section. An active discussion forum would be an
enhancement to the site, but in the absence of this, the current page should be
titled to reflect its contents.
Readers could use more information on the audio and video documents: when and by
whom the recordings were made, in what circomstances, how was the "film"
previously presented and distributed; where these documents are currently being
held. This seems particularly important since at least the audio recordings are
available also on Gallica. Also there is no mention of Michel Decaudin's
publication of the photographs and the recordings. Since this book is now out of
print, but perhaps available in libraries it would greatly help other
Apollinaire's scholars to know about it and about the history of the documents.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
- The posssibility of capping a lesson on "Le Pont Mirabeau" with the poet himself
reading his work is a feature that French faculty and students will appreciate.
The interactive map of Paris can be projected for use in classrooms of all
levels and can be used to introduce the period in culture courses. The
photograph of Apollinaire's tomb with an extract from one of his "Calligrammes"
is a powerful teaching tool. As it is in Pere Lachaise cemetery, it can also be
a springboard for discussion of the other famous people buried
there. In short, images are used everywhere on this site as effective teaching
tools. The student also can find excellent research tools on the poet here.
- On the "A la Sante" page, it would be an enhancement to link to "Biographie" for
the circumstances surrounding Apollinaire's incarceration.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
- Generally, the site is well-organized and the design is clear. Most documents
are HTML linked files and navigation is easy. The quality of graphics is
excellent, even that of ancient black and white photographs. Audio and visual
documents can easily be accessed on any machines with QuickTime player.
- The horizontal scrolling on the interactive map is a little cumbersome. The
critical bibliography page is a long scroll. Some of the links on the "Liens aux
autres sites" need checking.