See studies by M. A. Caws (1984), J. Naughton (1984), and A. V. Williams (1990).
His works have been of great importance in post-war French literature, at the same time poetic and theoretical, examining the meaning of the spoken and written word. He has also published a number of translations, most notably Shakespeare and published several works on art and art history, including Miró and Giacometti.
He studied mathematics and philosophy at the Universities of Poitiers and Paris. After the Second World War he travelled in Europe and the United States and studied art history. From 1945 to 1947 he was associated with the Surrealists in Paris. In 1967 he joined with André du Bouchet, Gaëtan Picon, and Louis-René des Forêts to found L'éphemère, a journal of art and literature. He has taught literature at several universities in Europe and in the USA. In 1981 he was given the chair of the comparative study of poetry at the Collège de France. He was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca in 1995 and Franz Kafka Prize in 2007