Paul Verlaine

Paul Verlaine (pōl vĕrlĕn´), 1844–96, French poet. He gained some notice with the Parnassian poetry of Poèmes saturniens (1866) and Fêtes galantes (1869) and became a figure in the bohemian literary world of Paris. Verlaine's turbulent marriage broke up as a result of his liaison with his young protégé, Arthur Rimbaud. The two poets traveled in Belgium and England; their relationship ended in tragedy when Verlaine shot and wounded Rimbaud and was imprisoned in Belgium for two years. In prison he was brought back to the Catholic faith of his childhood and wrote some noble religious poetry that appeared in Sagesse (1881). From that time also dates his Romances sans paroles (1874), which shows Verlaine as one of the first of the symbolists. The sensitive appreciation of the common incidents and sights of life and the haunting and simple music of his verse, combined with the melancholy and unreal disillusion of the decadents, distinguish his poetry. More striking, however, is the candor of Verlaine himself. Through the degrading incidents of his later life, which was marked by drunkenness, poverty, and debauchery, he preserved his honesty and inverted naïveté. Jadis et Naguère (1884) and Parallèlement (1889) were perhaps the best of his later volumes of poetry. Of his prose works the only one of importance is Les Poètes maudits (1884), sketches of his fellow symbolists, particularly Mallarmé and Rimbaud.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Paul Verlaine: Selected full-text books and articles

Verlaine: Fool of God By Lawrence; Elisabeth Hanson Random House, 1957
Selected Poems By Martin H. Sorrell; Paul L. Verlaine Oxford University Press, 1999
Poems under Saturn/Poèmes Saturniens By Paul Verlaine; Karl Kirchwey Princeton University Press, 2011
The Ghosts of Modernity By Jean-Michel Rebaté University Press of Florida, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Five "Verlaine and Mallarme between the Angels and the Ghosts of Language"
Men and Memories: Recollections of William Rothenstein By William Rothenstein Coward-McCann Inc., 1931
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XXI "The Last of Verlaine"
Titans of Literature: From Homer to the Present By Burton Rascoe G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1932
Librarian’s tip: "Verlaine the Musician" begins on p. 352
The Critic's Alchemy: A Study of the Introduction of French Symbolism into England By Ruth Zabriskie Temple Twayne Publishers, 1953
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Paul Verlaine in multiple chapters
The Background of Modern French Poetry: Essays and Interviews By Unknown, 1951
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "The Vers Libere"
Bottoms Up! A Pathologist's Essays on Medicine and the Humanities By William B. Ober Southern Illinois University Press, 1987
Librarian’s tip: "The Affair with Verlaine and its Consequences" begins on p. 236
A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets By John Pilling Heinemann, 1982
Librarian’s tip: "Paul Verlaine (1844-96)" begins on p. 32
Cyclopedia of World Authors By Dayton Kohler; Frank N. Magill Harper & Row, 1958
Librarian’s tip: "Paul Verlaine" begins on p. 1114
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