Régnier, Henri François Joseph De

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Régnier, Henri François Joseph De

 

(pen name of Hugues Vignix). Born Dec. 28, 1864, at Honfleur, Calvados; died May 23, 1936, in Paris. French writer. Member of the Académie Française (1911).

Régnier studied at a college in Paris. A refined lyricism prevails in his first collections of verse, Tomorrows (1885), Appeasement (1886), Landscapes (1887), and Episodes (1888), works influenced by the romantics and Parnassians and to an extent by P. Verlaine. The later collections Ancient and Romantic Poems (1887–90) and As in a Dream (1892) illustrate Régnier’s evolution toward a hazy symbolism in the spirit of S. Mallarmé. Régnier used vers libre in his efforts to reform French versification, but in later collections he returned to traditional strictness of form and maintained rhyme: Clay Medals (1900), The City of Fountains (1902), The Winged Sandal (1906), The Mirror of the Hours (1910), and Vestigia Flammae (1921).

The swift passage of time and the fragility of beauty, which is immortalized in poetry, are the main themes of Régnier’s poetry and prose. This is seen in the novels The Double Mistress (1900), The Living Past (1905), Fear of Love (1907), The Sinful Woman (1920), and I, She, and He (1935) and in the stories in the collections The Jasper Cane (1897), The Lacquer Tray (1913), and Lost Happiness (1924).

Regnier attempted to re-create the aestheticized, aristocratic way of life of the 17th and 18th centuries. His prose has traits of decadent aestheticism and moral indifference, but in its vivid emotionality his rejection of bourgeois practicality, self-interest, and sanctimoniousness may be sensed. Régnier created authentic and at times satirical portrayals of aristocrats.

WORKS

Oeuvre romanesque, vols. 1–5. Paris, 1929–30.
Oeuvres, vols. 1–7. Paris, 1930–31.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch. vols. 1–19. Introductory article by A. A. Smirnov. Leningrad, 1923–26.
Livshits, B. Frantsuzskie liriki XIX–XX vekov. Leningrad, 1937.
Ten’ derev’ev: Stikhi zarubezhnykh poetov v per. I. Erenburga. Moscow, 1969.

REFERENCES

Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959.
Krzhevskii, B. A. Stat’i po zarubezhnoi literature. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.
Lunacharskii, A. V. Sobr. soch. v 8 tomakh, vol. 5. Moscow, 1965. Pages 205–10.
Gourmont, J. de. Henri de Régnier et son oeuvre. Paris, 1921.
Buenzod, E. Henry de Régnier. [Avignon, 1966.]
Lowell, A. “H. de Régnier.” In her book Six French Poets. Freeport, N.Y. [1967]. Pages 149–209.

V. E. SHOR