The Influence of Edgar Allan Poe in France

By Célestin Pierre Cambiaire | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V -----
POE AND MARCEL SCHWOB1

-----

According to Professor C. H. Page, Marcel Schwob imitated Poe "in many a collection."2 After the translations of Baudelaire and Mallarmé and many other French versions, a Frenchman does not need to know English in order to appreciate Poe. However, a knowledge of the language makes the reading more interesting. Marcel Schwob knew English very well as witnessed by his translations of Shakespeare Hamlet and Daniel DeFoe Moll Flanders.

Schwob's place in French letters as a story-writer is indicated by the following lines of René Lalou: "Tous, (ses contes) même les plus insignifiants quant au sujet, seront préservés de l'oubli par la perfection d'un style à la fois simple et plein, moelleux et riche, sans omements inutiles; si la mode était encore aux figures allégoriques on aimerait imaginer au seuil de son œuvre, comme sa plus digne muse, la femme qu'il3 a décrite en deux phrases odorantes: "Elle avait les seins soutenus par une strophe rouge, et la semelle de ses sandales était parfumée. Pour le reste, elle était belle et longue de corps et de couleur très-désirable."4

Practically all of Schwob's stories have a very sad and melancholy atmosphere, most of his heroes and heroines meet with -----

____________________
1
Mayer, André Marcel Schwob born at Chaville ( 1867) died at Paris in ( 1905). Among his works can be cited Cœur double ( 1892), Mimes ( 1894), La Croisade des enfants ( 1896), Les Vies imaginaires ( 1897), La Porte des rêves ( 1899), La Lampe de Psyché ( 1903).
2
Page C. H., The Nation ( Jan. 14, 1909), p. 34.
3
Lalou René, Histoire de la littérature française contemporaine ( Paris, 1922), p. 286.
4
Schwob Marcel, Vies imaginaires, p. 7 (Crès, Paris, 1921).

-204-

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