Verlaine: A Study in Parallels

By A.E. Carter

© 1969

The contradictions of Verlaine's nature are mirrored in his verse, which is alternately mystic, sensuous, exquisite and prosaic. He had extraordinary lyric powers; he was a master of eerie harmonies such as few other poets have achieved, and, in Sagesse, he produced religious verse which challenges comparison with the very best of its kind. Yet here and there can be found a curious weakening in the texture of thought and inspiration: he turns and twists, takes flight, seeks reassurance in platitude and convention – marriage, dogmatic theology, reactionary political creeds. He is even capable of lamenting (as Rimbaud shows him in Une Saison en Enfer) the emotional and poetic experiments which give his work its supreme value. It is almost as though he were afraid of his own talent. 

The explanation, as far as there is one, lies in a combination of personality and circumstance. This biography attempts to explore the "parallels" (Verlaine's own term) between his life and his poetry. Nearly everything he produced, whether good or bad, was a reflection of some crisis of thought or feeling. No one demonstrates better than Verlaine the antinomies between the artist and his work, between the man and the genius; and in every case we are obliged to admit that the one explains the other. Without the weakness and the squalor we might indeed have had a rational human being and a good husband for Mathilde Mauté, but we should have had no poet, or no poet like Paul Verlaine. Professor Carter concentrates on the combination of Verlaine's personality and experiences that produced some of the most brilliant poetry in the French language. The result is one of the best critical biographies of Verlaine published to date.

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Product Details

  • Series: University of Toronto Romance Series
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 268 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP004536

  • PUBLISHED DEC 1969

    From: $28.46

    Regular Price: $37.95

    ISBN 9781442638952
  • PUBLISHED DEC 1969

    From: $28.46

    Regular Price: $37.95

Quick Overview

This biography attempts to explore the "parallels" (Verlaine's own term) between Verlaine's life and his poetry. The result is one of the best critical biographies of Verlaine published to date.

Verlaine: A Study in Parallels

By A.E. Carter

© 1969

The contradictions of Verlaine's nature are mirrored in his verse, which is alternately mystic, sensuous, exquisite and prosaic. He had extraordinary lyric powers; he was a master of eerie harmonies such as few other poets have achieved, and, in Sagesse, he produced religious verse which challenges comparison with the very best of its kind. Yet here and there can be found a curious weakening in the texture of thought and inspiration: he turns and twists, takes flight, seeks reassurance in platitude and convention – marriage, dogmatic theology, reactionary political creeds. He is even capable of lamenting (as Rimbaud shows him in Une Saison en Enfer) the emotional and poetic experiments which give his work its supreme value. It is almost as though he were afraid of his own talent. 

The explanation, as far as there is one, lies in a combination of personality and circumstance. This biography attempts to explore the "parallels" (Verlaine's own term) between his life and his poetry. Nearly everything he produced, whether good or bad, was a reflection of some crisis of thought or feeling. No one demonstrates better than Verlaine the antinomies between the artist and his work, between the man and the genius; and in every case we are obliged to admit that the one explains the other. Without the weakness and the squalor we might indeed have had a rational human being and a good husband for Mathilde Mauté, but we should have had no poet, or no poet like Paul Verlaine. Professor Carter concentrates on the combination of Verlaine's personality and experiences that produced some of the most brilliant poetry in the French language. The result is one of the best critical biographies of Verlaine published to date.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: University of Toronto Romance Series
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 268 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    A.E. Carter taught in various Canadian universities and from 1964 till his retirement he was a professor of French Literature at the University of Georgia.

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