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Verlaine, Paul (1844-1896)  
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Verlaine was a brilliant poet who preferred to see his sensuality and mysticism, refinement and crudity, naïveté and shrewdness, as parallel elements. His poetry, like his life, was often determined by an aesthetics of opposition that united precision with dispersal.

"Crimen amoris" closes with these images of dispersal that urge toward coherence: "La forme molle au loin monte des collines / Comme un amour encore mal défini, / Et le brouillard qui s'essore des ravines / Semble un effort vers quelque but réuni" ("The vague form climbs the hills in the distance / Like a love still poorly defined, / And the fog that leaps up from ravines / Resembles an effort toward some unified destination").

Although Verlaine's own life was at times errant, his bewilderment was matched with a keenness that focused unremittingly from beginning to end on his two great and inseparable enthusiasms, poetry and sensuality.

Gretchen Schultz

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Minahen, Charles D. "Homosexual Erotic Scripting in Verlaine's Hombres." Articulations of Difference. Dominique Fisher and Lawrence R. Schehr, eds. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997. 119-135.

Petitfils, Pierre. Verlaine. Paris: Julliard, 1981.

Peyre, Henri. Rimbaud vu par Verlaine. Paris: Nizet, 1975.

Schmidt, Paul. "Visions of Violence: Rimbaud and Verlaine." Homosexualities and French Literature. Elaine Marks and George Stambolian, eds. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1979.

Stephan, Philip. Paul Verlaine and the Decadence: 1882-1890. Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1974.

Troyat, Henri. Verlaine. Paris: Flammarion, 1993.


    Citation Information
    Author: Schultz, Gretchen  
    Entry Title: Verlaine, Paul  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated July 24, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  


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