Paul Valery An Anthology

ISBN-10: 0691018146

ISBN-13: 9780691018140

Edition: 1977

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James R. Lawler's elegant introduction deals with Valery's concerns and his influence, and also with critical interpretations of his work. The volume begins with "The Evening with Monsieur Teste" (1896), from the famous "anti-novel" Monsieur Teste, for whose translation Jackson Mathews received the National Book Award in 1974. It includes such notable essays as the "Introduction to the Method of Leonardo da Vinci," "The Crisis of Mind," and "Poetry and Abstract Thought."The importance of Valery's prose poetry has only recently been recognized, and a selection is presented here. There are also ten of his best-known poems in verse, among them "La Jeune Parque" and "Le Cimetiere Marin," with the French texts facing the English translations by David Paul. The anthology closes with two dialogues, one dating from the twenties, the other from 1943; which demonstrate the play of ideas--the intellectual vigor and grace--that are characteristic of Valery's work as a whole.
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Book details

List price: $55.00
Copyright year: 1977
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 7/21/1977
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 364
Size: 5.00" wide x 8.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.792

Harry T. Moore has written in Twentieth Century French Literature to World War II: "Paul Valery, who published his most important verse between 1917 and 1922, is the greatest French poet the twentieth century has so far produced... .Few modern poets.. .have presented richer experience through their verses. Valery.. .could handle abstractions with a living and always poetic concreteness, and put them into comparable verse-music." He was also a critic and aesthetic theorist, interested in art, architecture, and mathematics. His skepticism, malice, and learning brought him both admiration and hostility. Valery had been a member of the Mallarme circle in the 1890s and wrote much symbolist poetry at that time, but an unhappy love affair caused him to fall poetically silent (he earned his living as a journalist) until Gide and others persuaded him, 20 years later, to publish some of his youthful work. He had thought to add a short new poem and instead wrote La Jeune Parque (The Young Fate) (1917), several hundred lines in length. It won him instant recognition in poetic circles. Several collections of his earlier poems were published in the 1920s, as well as the great Cimetiere Marin (Graveyard by the Sea), a powerful meditation on time and mortality. From then until his death in 1945, he wrote chiefly aesthetic theory, criticism, and an unfinished play about Faust. He helped to revive lively interest in the symbolists and had a pervading influence on French culture generally, though his poetry is not easy for the casual reader. His criticism and aesthetic theory had an important influence on the structuralist critics of the 1960s. He was elected to the French Academy in 1925. His Collected Works (1971--75) have been published in expert translations by the Bollingen Foundation.

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