Through his journalism, Gustave Roud set himself up as a particularly elegant art and literary critic. His essays, which reveal a rare capacity of admiration and astonishment, generally treat his masters (Rimbaud, Novalis, Hölderlin) or his Suisse-Romande friends (Ramuz, Chappaz, Auberjonois), with occasional excursions to unexpected authors (Breton, Dickinson, Leskov). In a humble but always fervent tone, Roud asks probing questions of the works which echo his own significant existential and spiritual concerns. Privileging an aesthetic and thematic approach, without disassociating the work from the subject it treats, Roud focuses on the poetic experiences of others through preoccupations which are also his: motifs like one’s connection to the countryside, the unsuitability of the world, or the quality of the “voice” are at the heart of his studies. Imbued with his subjective view, these essays unveil singular artistic conceptions, and contribute at the same time to nourish the writer's own poetry.

Gustave Roud, Page de couverture de l’édition de Salut à quelques peintres, Bibliothèque des arts.

Recommended reading

Two works, edited by Doris Jakubec and Philippe Jaccottet, highlight Gustave Roud’s critical insights: one regroups his main essays on literature (Lectures, Editions de l’Aire, 1988), the other on painting (Salut à quelques peintres, La Bibliothèque des Arts, 1999). Roud maintained a constant focus on Ramuz, and his writings on the subject are collected separately (Avec Ramuz, Editions de l'Aire, 1985). Finally, note that among his most complex essays is one dedicated to the figure of a « Rimbaud paysan » (Vues sur Rimbaud, éd. Antonio Rodriguez, Fata Morgana, 2010).