By Paul Valéry
Publish yr note: initially released in 1970.
This number of Valery's occasional pieces--speeches, interviews, articles--shows him greatly because the public determine, the 1st sought after whilst an "occasion" wanted a renowned individual. integrated are his speech sooner than the French Academy on his reception into that physique; his tackle welcoming Marshal Petain to club within the French Academy; a witty and attractive graduation tackle to the younger women of a personal college; memorial addresses honoring Emile Verhaeren and Henri Bremond; an editorial at the "Future of Literature," and an incisive piece at the eponymous heroine of Racine's "Phedre."
Because Valery spoke on many present academic and social difficulties in France, Occasions should be of substantial curiosity to scholars of recent eu historical past in addition to to these concerned about French literature and drama.
Read Online or Download Occasions (Collected Works of Paul Valery, Volume 11) (Princeton Legacy Library) PDF
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Extra info for Occasions (Collected Works of Paul Valery, Volume 11) (Princeton Legacy Library)
Purposes and systems used to clash with greater precision. The entire literary population arranged itself in a few tribes, according to the naive laws of opposites which pitted art against nature, the beautiful against the true, thought against life, the new against the old. Each of these tribes had its incontestable leader, by which I mean a leader whose authority was contested, if at all, by someone waving the same banner. Naturalism carricd the day under Emile Zola. Grouped round the august figure of Leconte de Lisle, the Parnassian poets practiced rhyming as a rigorous art.
Our works seem a mere pinch of dust; and here, on the edge of your gathering, deeply sensible of all I owe to your good favor, I cannot but take stock of myself and conclude that miracles do happen. You have readily accorded me the high honor of occupy ing among you one of the seats which so many supremely gifted men have had to spend long years coveting, and not a few of the very greatest, and most deserving, have waited an entire lifetime in vain. I should not be human, gentlemen, if this inescapable reflection did not prompt me to compare, in some fashion, my own with the destiny of others.
All I had done, probably, was to express in my own way the thoughts common to all who delight in music and are moved by perfection. I am quite certain that I praised that astonishing economy peculiar to Racine's art, which atones for the sparse means at its disposal by possessing them so completely. Few people clearly understand how great an imagination is required of the artist who would do RECEPTION ADDRESS TO THE FRENCH ACADEMY without imagery and strive for so stringent an ideal as Racine's.