Paul Verlaine(redirected from Verlaine, Paul)
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Born Mar. 30, 1844, in Metz; died Jan. 8, 1896, in Paris. French poet. Born into an officer’s family.
Verlaine began to write under the influence of the Parnassians, but he was also influenced by the romantics and C. Baudelaire. Verlaine was one of the founders of the symbolist movement. In his Poems of Saturn (1866) and Gallant Feasts (1869), along with the severely sculpted images done in the manner of the Parnassians, there also appeared melodious, melancholic, throbbing poems that were particularly characteristic of him. In his book of verse The Good Song (1870), Verlaine brought the lexicon and syntax of poetic language close to that of simple conversation. In 1871, Verlaine did not subordinate himself to the Versailles Group but instead remained in Paris and served in the press bureau of the Paris Commune. After the “bloody week” he lived mainly in the provinces until 1877, although he went on a trip to Belgium and England. In 1874, Verlaine published a book of verse entitled Songs Without Words, which to a great extent defined the aesthetics of symbolism. Intimate and unpretentious little songs were interspersed with poems that conveyed symbolically and by means of a minor-key resonance and rhythm an objectless sorrow and submissiveness to the sorrow. In his poem Poetic Art, Verlaine half jokingly advised that poets should strive after those qualities of vagueness, nuance, and musicality of verse that entice the imagination. His collections of poetry Formerly and Lately (1884) and In Parallel (1889), as well as his essays on A. Rimbaud, S. Mallarmé, and others (The Accursed Poets, 1884), have double meanings. At this point there is a strengthening of decadent tendencies, but at the same time the poet warns his new followers against decadent extremes. He also published revolutionary verses (the narrative poem The Vanquished in the collection Formerly and Lately). “The most intimate of poets,” in the words of V. Ia. Briusov, Verlaine was more humane than the other French symbolists; he enriched poetry with a refined lyricism and gave it an intense, musical expressiveness. He died in poverty.
WORKSOeuvres complètes, vols. 1-2. Text established by H. de Bouillane de Lacoste and J. Borel. Paris, 1959-60.
Correspondance, vols. 1-3. Paris, 1927-29.
In Russian translation:
Stikhi, 2nd ed. Translated by F. Sologub. Moscow-Petrograd, 1923.
Sobr. stikhov. Translated by V. Briusov. Moscow, 1911.
Izbr. stikhotvoreniia. Compiled by P. N. Petrovskii. Moscow, 1912.
Izbr. stikhotvoreniia. Moscow, 1915.
[Stikhi.] In Zvezdnoe nebo: Stikhi zarubezhnykh poetov. Translated by B. Pasternak. Moscow, 1966.
[Stikhi.] In Ten’ derev’ev: Stikhi zarubezhnykh poetov. Translated by I. Ehrenburg. Moscow, 1969.
Lirika. Compiled by E. Etkind. Moscow, 1969.
REFERENCESGorky, M. “Pol’ Verlen i dekadenty.” Sobr. soch., vol. 23. Moscow, 1953.
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959.
Bornecque, J. H. Verlaine par lui-même. Paris, 1966.
Lepelletier, E. Paul Verlaine: Sa vie, son oeuvre. Paris, 1907.
Richer, J. Paul Verlaine. Paris, 1967.
Bever, A. van. Bibliographie et iconographie de Paul Verlaine. Paris, 1926.
Tournoux, G. A. Bibliographie verlainienne. Leipzig, 1912.
N. I. BALASHOV