Monday, March 16, 2009

Still meandering on . . .

Today is the birthday of René-François-Armand Prudhomme (March 16, 1839 - September 6, 1907), French poet and essayist, winner of the first Nobel Prize in literature in 1901. He is better known by his pen name, Sully Prudhomme.

Sully Prudhomme is associated with the Parnassians. Inspired by a love affair gone poorly, he began to write poetry and his early poetry, including Stances et poèmes (1865), Les Épreuves (1866), Les Solitudes (1869), and Les Vaines Tendresses (1875), was subjective and melancholy. His major works are two long philosophical poems, La Justice (1878) and Le Bonheur [Happiness] (1888), which treat abstract, humanitarian themes. His prose, also philosophical, includes Que sais-je? [what do I know?] (1896).

"In my soul rages a battle without victor. Between faith without proof and reason without charm. " - Sully Prudhomme

Trivia bit: "Sully Prudhomme was once an important figure in French literature and hailed as the successor of Victor Hugo, but he is largely ignored and little read or written about today, in English or in French. He has utterly vanished from the canon. Even at the turn of the century, the choice of Sully Prudhomme for the Nobel caused some debate, as he had not published much poetry after 1888." direct quote source (1)

Image source (1)

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