VERLAINE: Fool of God by Lawrence and Elizabeth Hanson

VERLAINE: Fool of God

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The biographers of Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh and Gauguin have turned their attention to the recording of the life of the poet, Paul Marie Verlaine, Verlaine, the son of an army officer, was an unremarkable, good natured child, sheltered and pampered by his mother;- and later he, in his home life, was unprepared for hard times. He could never, then, in later life, take his own tragedies very seriously, although he was for a long enough time a member of that ill-housed, undernourished Symbolist coterie -- the Parnassian group. His friends counted him among the greatest exponents of French poetry and elected him Prince of Poets. But this recognition came late. His time (1844-1896) was the era of Leon Bloy, Anatole France, Charles Baudelaire, the Van Goghs and that bohemian after Verlaine's own fashion -- Gauguin, Verlaine played the clown-exaggerating tales about himself for the amusement of his friends and, in general, playing up his own idiosyncrasies so that the little ""Fool of God"" is apt. The life and times of this colorful man need no heightening and he can justly be called the ""last great bohemian"". Most inclusive- an enlightening (includes much of his poetry, in French and English) and very readable biography.

Publisher: Random House