Paul Valéry (1871-1945) was a poet and essayist, and along with Verlaine and Mallarmé is regarded as one of the most important Symbolist writers, and an influence on poets from Eliot to Ashbery. He had a quiet life by many standards, but in one respect it was exemplary, even legendary; he early made a reputation in little magazines, decided to stop writing verse when still only twenty, kept his silence for 20 years, then began again; and his first book of verse, published when he was 45, was his masterpiece La Jeune Parque. In 1920 he published Album de vers anciens, 1890-1920 (Album of Old Verses). His second collection of poetry, Charmes (Charms) appeared in 1922. Despite tremendous critical and popular acclaim, Valéry again put aside writing poetry. In 1925 he was elected to the Académie Française. He spent the remaining twenty years of his life on frequent lecture tours in and out of France, and writing numerous essays on poetry, painting and dance. He was given a state funeral in July 1945. His journals were published in 29 volumes in 1945.
Books by Paul Valéry