The Universal Self: A study of Paul Valery

By Agnes MacKay

© 1961

Paul Valéry was one of the most brilliant and subtle thinkers of his time. His work sums up the traditions of classical French poetry and carries it to its highest perfection: the fine flower of an intellectual civilisation.
In The Universal Self Miss Mackay examines Valéry’s achievement, both as poet and creative thinker, placing him in the environment of literary life in Paris; tracing the development of his thought, from his early friendship with Mallarmé to the years when his genius was widely acknowledged. She shows how Valéry’s interest in scientific techniques led him to evolve a system of thought, analogous to the methods of higher mathematics, to elucidate the workings of the mind, from which arose his conception of Pure Self – the essential theme of his poetry.
The symbolism of his poems is analysed and shown to be constant and coherent, in harmony with the subtle orchestration of his verse; and the validity of his psychology is considered in relation to the philosophical trends of the period.
Rather than following conventional lines of biography, this book is a biography if ideas, in accordance with Valéry’s theory that ideas are more important than events in the life of a poet.
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Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 282 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5in x 1.0in x 8.5in
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SKU# SP005820

  • PUBLISHED DEC 1961

    From: $25.46

    Regular Price: $33.95

    ISBN 9781487578954
  • PUBLISHED DEC 1961

    From: $25.46

    Regular Price: $33.95

Quick Overview

In The Universal Self Miss Mackay examines Valéry’s achievement, both as poet and creative thinker, placing him in the environment of literary life in Paris; tracing the development of his thought, from his early friendship with Mallarmé to the years when his genius was widely acknowledged.

The Universal Self: A study of Paul Valery

By Agnes MacKay

© 1961

Paul Valéry was one of the most brilliant and subtle thinkers of his time. His work sums up the traditions of classical French poetry and carries it to its highest perfection: the fine flower of an intellectual civilisation.
In The Universal Self Miss Mackay examines Valéry’s achievement, both as poet and creative thinker, placing him in the environment of literary life in Paris; tracing the development of his thought, from his early friendship with Mallarmé to the years when his genius was widely acknowledged. She shows how Valéry’s interest in scientific techniques led him to evolve a system of thought, analogous to the methods of higher mathematics, to elucidate the workings of the mind, from which arose his conception of Pure Self – the essential theme of his poetry.
The symbolism of his poems is analysed and shown to be constant and coherent, in harmony with the subtle orchestration of his verse; and the validity of his psychology is considered in relation to the philosophical trends of the period.
Rather than following conventional lines of biography, this book is a biography if ideas, in accordance with Valéry’s theory that ideas are more important than events in the life of a poet.
Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 282 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5in x 1.0in x 8.5in
  • Author Information

    Agnes Mackay was educated in Scotland and Tours, France, but considers a study of languages and philosophy under the guidance of her uncle Théodore Roussel, to be the most formative period of education. She lived in Chelsea for a number of years, contributing essays on French literature and poems to various periodicals, and making frequent visits to France, meeting many painters and writers, including Paul Valéry.