Paul Verlaine Additional Biography


0111201599-Verlaine.jpg Paul Verlaine (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Paul Marie Verlaine (vehr-LAYN) was born in Metz, France, on March 30, 1844. His father, Captain Nicolas-Auguste Verlaine, was a gruff, brusque, career military man. His mother, Elisa, had been longing for a child. She had three miscarriages before Paul, her only child, was born. She lavished affection on him, and, in consequence, he became strongly attached to her. His early lack of independence is indicated by the fact that when he was sent to school at age nine, he ran back home on the first day and had to be coaxed to return with sweets and sweet words. Eventually he adjusted to the school regime, going first to the Institution Landry (in Paris, to which the family had moved) and then graduating to the Lycée Bonaparte in 1855....

(The entire section is 935 words.)


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

If the world had nothing but major poets, there would be a surfeit of grand statements on such themes as love and death, but important lesser matters would be forgotten. A minor poet, such as Paul Verlaine, is not a bad poet. A bad poet is hackneyed or overtaxed by projects beyond his or her capacity. A minor poet has accurately gauged his or her own skills and creates estimable work of less than earthshaking proportion. Verlaine described a world of reflected light, halfhearted moods, and undrawn connections. With all the craft at his command, he built a diaphanous, yet richly inscribed, tissue of verse.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Paul Marie Verlaine (vur-lehn) was the son of a former captain of engineers of Napoleon’s army. He was educated in Paris and then secured a minor position with an insurance company, a job that provided a small salary while leaving him time for creative work. In 1870 he married Mathilde Mauté. In the following year he formed the friendship with Arthur Rimbaud that was to affect his life so profoundly. His close relationship with Rimbaud, with whom he was infatuated, would prove extremely important to the development of Verlaine’s mature poetry. With Rimbaud, a much younger man, Verlaine wandered through England, France, and Belgium. He had long been drinking heavily, and the journey ended disastrously when he tried to shoot...

(The entire section is 569 words.)