Biography: 

Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898) spent his life as a teacher of English in France. He contributed to various reviews but became known as a poet only some fifteen years before his death. Mallarmé might be called a high priest of poetry. He constantly polished his poems, striving to improve their harmonic effects and to refine the subtlety of the inner world he sought to portray.

Biography: 

Marc-Antoine Girard, Sieur de Saint-Amant (1594-1661) was an adventurer and bon vivant. As an officer and diplomat, he served in Spain, Italy, England, and Poland. His poetry is extremely varied in style, ranging all the way from the tenderly lyrical to fierce burlesque.

Biography: 

Rémy Belleau (1528-1577) was also a member of the "Pléiade" and an enthusiastic student of the classics. He imitated Anacreon in his Petites Inventions (1556), but is best known for his Bergerie (1565), a pastoral narrative interspersed with poems. Belleau excels in descriptive poetry and especially in the portrayal of nature of which "Avril" is the best-known example.

Biography: 

Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585), who was the leader of the "Pléiade," is a poet of superlative technique and tremendous variety. After a brief career as a page in the royal household, cut short by an illness which left him deaf, Ronsard along with Du Bellay became a member of a group which studied Greek and Latin under the famous humanist, Dorat.

Biography: 

Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) as a youthful poet frequented the coterie of Leconte de Lisle where his verses were favourably received. Shortly after his marriage in 1870, Verlaine met Arthur Rimbaud, and in 1872 he abandoned his wife and child and went away with the young poet to Belgium and England. After a quarrel in which Rimbaud was shot and wounded, Verlaine was imprisoned for two years.

Biography: 

Paul Valéry (1871-1945) published some early poetry before 1900 but then disappeared completely from the literary scene until 1917 when La jeune Parque came out in print. Like Mallarmé, Valéry is an implacable perfectionist, and he demands of form what the older poet sought in harmonic effects.

Biography: 

Little is known about Marie de France except that she lived in England where she composed, among other things, some Lais (1167-1184) and a collection of fables adapted from Latin sources. She was of noble birth and the French she uses is the standard literary French of the time.

Biography: 

Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894) was born on Reunion Island off East Africa. He studied law in France but spent his life as a journalist and translator. Like Vigny, he is a pessimist, but he refuses to express his personal despair. He turns for inspiration to the classics and the Orient.

Biography: 

Jules Laforgue (1860-1887) was born in Montevideo of Breton parents but his early years were spent at Tarbes in the Hautes Pyrénées. He came to Paris as an adolescent and later spent five years in Germany (1881-1886), where he met and married a young English woman. He died of tuberculosis after seven months of marriage. Laforgue is a poet of anguish concerned with the ultimate meaning of life.

Biography: 

José-Maria de Heredia (1842-1905) was born in Cuba of a Spanish father and a French mother. Educated in France, he became the disciple and close friend of Leconte de Lisle. Like the latter, he cultivates erudition, impersonality, and perfection of form. Heredia excelled in sonnets, and these were made into a collection by him in 1893 under the tide Les Trophées.

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