Remy de Gourmont: His Ideas and Influence in England and America

Remy de Gourmont: His Ideas and Influence in England and America

Remy de Gourmont: His Ideas and Influence in England and America

Remy de Gourmont: His Ideas and Influence in England and America

Excerpt

Glenn S. Burne's book on Remy de Gourmont is a timely study of an author who is lately beginning to attract more attention than he has done for a number of years. It is a line and important revaluation of a writer about whom everyone interested in modern literature will want to know more; this book provides the opportunity for knowing more about him, and it does so in two ways.

Mr. Burne deals not only with Gourmont's own work but, as his subtitle promises, with "his ideas and influence in England and America" -- Mr. Burne accurately shows how important those ideas and that influence really were to various major authors. T. S. Eliot, whose own debt to Courmont is indicated by Mr. Burne, once spoke of Courmont as "the critical consciousness of a generation." He was one of the founding editors of the Mercure de France, which became the greatest French literary journal at the turn of the century, and he was the persuasive critical expositor of the symboliste movement. Above all, Gourmont was a typical literary man of a country that is perhaps almost too literary: he was one of those authors who are both honored and ignored, but whose funerals are public events. A public statue of Courmont was erected in his native Normandy, at Coutances, where he had attended the lycée before studying law at the University of Caen. By 1922, seven years after Gourmont's death, his works were more widely read than those of any other French writer -- a condition that has not continued.

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