Paul Claudel

Paul Claudel (pōl klōdĕl´), 1868–1955, French dramatist, poet, and diplomat. He was ambassador to Tokyo (1921–27), Washington, D.C. (1927–33), and Brussels (1933–35). Claudel's writings deal largely with man's inner spirit, and reveal the influence of his profound and mystical Catholicism. His early plays were inspired by the French symbolists, notably by Rimbaud. Perhaps his finest play is L'Annonce faite à Marie (1912, tr. Tidings Brought to Mary, 1916). Among his other dramas is the lengthy Le Soulier de satin (1929, tr. The Satin Slipper, 1931). In his theatrical works Claudel combined extensive use of symbols—primarily religious—and exotic backgrounds with the techniques of pantomime, ballet, music, and the cinema. The rich lyric verse of Cinq Grandes Odes (1910) marks his highest poetic achievement. His prose works include Art poétique (1906) and writings on the Bible.

See B. L. Knapp, Paul Claudel (1982); A. Caranfa, Claudel: Beauty and Grace (1989).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Correspondence, 1899-1926, between Paul Claudel and Andre Gide
Robert Mallet; John Russell; Paul Claudel.
Pantheon, 1952
Linguistics and Literary History: Essays in Stylistics
Leo Spitzer.
Princeton Univ. Press, 1948
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Interpretation of an Ode" by Paul Claudel
Blood in the City: Violence and Revelation in Paris, 1789-1945
Richard D. E. Burton.
Cornell University Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Conversion? Paul Claudel at Notre-Dame (Christmas 1886)"
The Contemporary French Theatre: The Flight from Naturalism
Joseph Chiari.
Camelot Press, 1958
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Paul Claudel"
A Guide to Contemporary French Literature: From Valery to Sartre
Wallace Fowlie.
Meridian Books, 1957
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "Claudel: The Spiritual Quest"
20th Century French Drama
David I. Grossvogel.
Columbia University Press, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Further Perils of Debate: Claudel, Sartre"
Revealing Masks: Exotic Influences and Ritualized Performance in Modernist Music Theater
W. Anthony Sheppard.
University of California Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "The Sacred Theater of Claudel: Noh Mysteres" begins on p. 96
Dionysus in Paris: A Guide to Contemporary French Theater
Wallace Fowlie.
Meridian Books, 1960
Librarian’s tip: "Claudel (1868-1955)" begins on p. 127
Catholic Culture in Interwar France
Nord, Philip.
French Politics, Culture and Society, Vol. 21, No. 3, Fall 2003
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