Read Sea Shells by Paul Valéry Free Online
Book Title: Sea Shells|
The author of the book: Paul Valéry
Edition: Beacon Press
Date of issue: April 28th 1998
ISBN 13: 9780807064306
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 581 KB
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This is the question posed by the French poet-philosopher Paul Valery in his engaging meditation on the aesthetics of the seashell. As any beachcomber will attest, seashells are an endless source of fascination and delight, and Valery's 1936 essay glows, as Gaston Bachelard says, with his sense of nature's "transcendental geometry". Wondering at the enormous variety of shells -- the helices, the spirals, the surfaces smooth or encrusted with knobs or spines, the bulbs and concavities, the rugged outsides and the satiny surfaces within -- Valery compares the "making" of human beings with that slow, continuous formation that is the "making" of nature.
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Read information about the authorAmbroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry was a French poet, essayist, and philosopher. His interests were sufficiently broad that he can be classified as a polymath. In addition to his fiction (poetry, drama and dialogues), he also wrote many essays and aphorisms on art, history, letters, music, and current events.
Valéry is best known as a poet, and is sometimes considered to be the last of the French Symbolists. But he published fewer than a hundred poems, and none that drew much attention. On the night of 4 October 1892, during a heavy storm, Paul Valéry entered an existential crisis, which made a big impact on his writing career. Around 1898, his writing activity even came to a near-standstill, due partly to the death of his mentor Stéphane Mallarmé and for nearly twenty years from that time on, Valery did not publish a single word until 1917, when he finally broke this 'Great Silence' with the publication of La Jeune Parque at forty-six years of age. This obscure but superbly musical masterpiece, of 512 alexandrine lines in rhyming pairs, had taken him four years to complete, and immediately secured his fame. It is esteemed by many in France as the greatest French poem of the 20th century.
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