Les Vaines Trendresses


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Prudhomme, Sully

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Fiction, Hardcover, Poetry


French poet Sully Prudhomme (1839-1907) was the first Nobel Prize for Literature recipient in 1901. Combining the formal precision of the Parnassian poets with subjects reflecting his keen interest in philosophy and his early training in the sciences, Sully Prudhomme forged a career that drew wide praise during his lifetime. According to C. D. af Wirsén of the Swedish Academy, writing on the occasion of the Nobel Award, “Sully Prudhomme is one of the major poets of our time, and some of his poems are pearls of imperishable value. . . . [His] work reveals an inquiring and observing mind which finds no rest in what passes and which, as it seems impossible to him to know more, finds evidence of man’s supernatural destiny in the moral realm, in the voice of conscience, and the lofty and undeniable prescriptions of duty.

Sully Prudhomme was once an essential 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 French. He has utterly vanished from the canon. Even at the turn of the century, Sully Prudhomme’s choice for the Nobel Prize caused some debate, as he had not published much poetry after 1888.



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