Monsieur Teste

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Gallimard, 1984 - Fiction - 140 pages
3 Reviews
Dans La Soirée avec Monsieur Teste, Valéry explique pourquoi, à la recherche du succès littéraire, auquel il aurait pu légitimement aspirer suivant le voeu de ses amis, il a préféré autre chose. La recherche du succès entraîne nécessairement une perte de temps : " Chaque esprit qu'on trouve puissant commence par la faute qui le fait connaître. En échange du pourboire public, il donne le temps qu'il faut pour se rendre perceptible... " M. Teste est un homme qui a mieux employé son temps : " J'ai fini par croire que M. Teste était arrivé à découvrir des lois de l'esprit que nous ignorons. Sûrement, il avait dû consacrer des années à cette recherche : plus sûrement, des années encore, et beaucoup d'autres années avaient été disposées pour mûrir ses inventions et pour en faire ses instincts. Trouver n'est rien. Le difficile est de s'ajouter ce que l'on trouve. " Tel était bien sans doute le programme ambitieux que s'était assigné Valéry lui-même à l'époque où il rédigeait cette fameuse Soirée avec Monsieur Teste.

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User Review  - Goodreads

Valéry braves a new form of biography. In it, there is no place for the incidental, the accidental, or unnecessary. The book comprises of the short anecdote referenced above, two others like it ... Read full review

Review: Monsieur Teste

User Review  - Goodreads

A story about a man who observes his own different personalities and moods, morning, noon and night. A fascinating look at how friends, acquaintances, and strangers in our lives affect us. Read full review


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About the author (1984)

Harry T. Moore has written in Twentieth Century French Literature to World War II: "Paul Valery, who published his most important verse between 1917 and 1922, is the greatest French poet the twentieth century has so far produced... .Few modern poets.. .have presented richer experience through their verses. Valery.. .could handle abstractions with a living and always poetic concreteness, and put them into comparable verse-music." He was also a critic and aesthetic theorist, interested in art, architecture, and mathematics. His skepticism, malice, and learning brought him both admiration and hostility. Valery had been a member of the Mallarme circle in the 1890s and wrote much symbolist poetry at that time, but an unhappy love affair caused him to fall poetically silent (he earned his living as a journalist) until Gide and others persuaded him, 20 years later, to publish some of his youthful work. He had thought to add a short new poem and instead wrote La Jeune Parque (The Young Fate) (1917), several hundred lines in length. It won him instant recognition in poetic circles. Several collections of his earlier poems were published in the 1920s, as well as the great Cimetiere Marin (Graveyard by the Sea), a powerful meditation on time and mortality. From then until his death in 1945, he wrote chiefly aesthetic theory, criticism, and an unfinished play about Faust. He helped to revive lively interest in the symbolists and had a pervading influence on French culture generally, though his poetry is not easy for the casual reader. His criticism and aesthetic theory had an important influence on the structuralist critics of the 1960s. He was elected to the French Academy in 1925. His Collected Works (1971--75) have been published in expert translations by the Bollingen Foundation.

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