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Paul Valery Revisited (Hardcover)

Author: Putnam, Walter

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Presenting the original French and his own faithful translations, Putnam explores poems from all phases of Valery's career, including the major early pieces from the Album de vers anciens (1920), the 512-line La Jeune Parque (1917), and the mature volume Charmes (1922). His close readings demonstrate, for example, how Valery's famous "Le Cimetiere marin" (1920) uses the metaphor of the sea in a meditation on life and death - "Let us run to the wave and reemerge in life!" - and explain the painstaking genesis, powerful language, and unexpected international success of La Jeune Parque. Putnam contrasts Valery's reputation during his life-time as the premier poet of France with more recent evaluations of his position in the realms of poetic theory and free thought. In a particularly fascinating chapter, he delves into the notes, queries, sketches, and observations inscribed in Valery's monumental Cahiers - the private notebooks that are considered the most revealing and modern of all the writings of one of our century's greatest minds. Finally, Putnam looks into the poet's political and social essays, where he finds that Valery's analysis of western civilization bears an especially urgent message for our modern times. As he guides us through Valery's complex oeuvre, Putnam illuminates the poet's links with the classical world; his interest in Poe and Mallarme; his high regard for language (with a capital L); his dedication to the study of science and mathematics; and the "revolution of the mind" he experienced in 1892, when he turned his back on poetry and dedicated himself to gaining "maximum knowledge and control of his intellect". Putnam evokes the rich friendships and artisticaffinities Valery shared with Mallarme, Gide, and Pierre Louys, as well as his appreciation of Debussy, Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Bergson in France, and Conrad, Eliot, Joyce, and Rilke among the many other European luminaries of his milieu. He also discusses Valery's personal and literary relationship after World War I with Andre Breton and the burgeoning surrealist movement - a movement whose poetics differed so significantly from his own.


Publisher Twayne Pub
Mfg Part# 9780805782912
SKU 206875024
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 0805782915
Release Date 6/11/2013
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