Paul Verlaine: His Absinthe Tinted Song, Page 15
by Bergen Applegate (1916).
In Russia Verlaine is popular and has been widely read, both in the French and Slavonic tongues. Broussov's anthology, published in Moscow in 1911, is the longest. Petrograd has a translation by F. Sologoub, 1908. Russia is also credited with a number of other, though shorter, collections.
To English readers it appears singular that the cult of Verlaine should be so widespread in Germany. To those, however, who have closely followed the trend of German literature and thought during the past two decades, the fact is not surprising. Tournoux notations for Germany are as follows :
1900 564. O. Hauser. Paul Verlaine. Berlin. Concordia. Petit in-16.
565. P. Wiegler. Baudelaire und Verlaine. Berlin. Behr's Verlag. in-16.
1902 566. Paul Verlaine. Gedichte. Eine Anthologie der besten Ubertragungen. Herausgegeben von Stefan Zweig. Berlin et Leipzig. Schuster ct Loeffler. in-16.
567. E. Singer. Paul Verlaine. Gedichte. Vienne et Leipzig. Neue Literaturanstalt. in-16.
568. H. Kirchner. Gedichte von Paul Verlaine. Halle. Hendel. in-16.
569. O. Händler. Paul Verlaine. Ausgewählte Gedichte. Strasburg. Heitz ct Muendel. in-16.
571. R. Schaukal. Verlaine-Heredia. Nachdichtungen. Berlin. Oesterheld. in-8.
572. W. von Kalckreuth. Paul Verlaine. Ausgewählte Gedichte. Leipzig. Insel-Verlag. in-16.
Among other writers who have contributed to the diffusion of the poet's works in Germany are Arnold, Mehring, Ostwald, George, Gundlach, Abels, Bethge, Jaffé, Evers and Henckell. Nearly all the leading German magazines, as well as newspapers, have published notices upon Verlaine and his work.
In Holland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Portugal and Bohemia, the poet has found appreciative readers.
In English speaking countries, Verlaine has been appreciated but not widely read. Perhaps the irregularities of his conduct during his life attract the attention of the public more than his work.
• • • • •Dearest Décadent, to read the first page of this article,
George Moore, Arthur Symons, F. A. Cazals, John Gray, Ernest Dowson and Ashmore Wingate are prominent among English writers who have spread his fame. To George Moore, more than to any other, is due the credit of introducing him to the English public, and no one has written more interestingly of the poet. Until the present, Wingate's translation has been the longest in English. Symons' translations, all too few in number, surpass in workmanship any heretofore published in English. These have appeared in the Mosher collection of gift books in America.
In many ways the translation of Verlaine's poems by Gertrude Hall, translator of Chantecler, is most satisfactory. It is to be regretted the collection is so abridged. Published by Stone & Kimball, Chicago, 1895. Verlaine has been known to American readers chiefly through this work.
Throughout his life Verlaine was an interesting subject for artists. Dégas painted him in the Absinthe Drinker, and Zorn, Pearson, Cazals, Carriére and many others have contributed interesting studies. Cazals' drawing, which hangs in the National Museum of the Luxembourg, Paris, is most striking. Here the idealization is marked. The poet is no longer the man of enigmatic bumps and grotesque visage, but the inmate of a hospital — a neutral spot on the borderland of Death — and all his being seems blurred with ineffable mystery.
Numerous composers have set his songs to music — poems so musical in themselves that music of another seems almost a profanation. In America John Alden Carpenter has set to music four poems. Published by Schirmer, New York.
The poet's statue stands in the Luxembourg gardens, and an annual dinner is given in Paris to the memory of this great child — for all poets are only men who have kept fresh in their hearts the fancies of childhood — and Verlaine kept also the weaknesses.
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