The Monumental and Human Poetry of Paul Valéry

by Mark Scroggins August 8, 2020

Paul Valéry (1871-1945) had the dubious fate of becoming a monument in his own lifetime, the personification of the quintessential “homme des lettres.” A member of the Académie française, he was France’s cultural representative to the League of Nations and an indefatigable lecturer and commentator. He held enough academic positions to overwhelm a half-dozen ordinary professors. He published over 20 books in various genres; his poetry, on which much of his reputation rests, is a very small share of the whole….