Biography: 

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) in his writing reflects many of the literary tendencies of the century which his life almost spanned.

Biography: 

François Tristan l'Hermite (1601-1655) led an adventurous and nomadic life, part of which he describes in Le Page disgracié. He travelled in England, Norway, and Flanders, as well as France. In addition to eight plays, Tristan wrote a great deal of lyric poetry, some heroic verses, and a collection of religious devotions, L'Office de la Sainte Vierge.

Biography: 

Théophile Gautier (1811-1872) started out as a painter, but he soon turned to literature. He gained a livelihood as a journalist and critic, writing poetry and novels in his spare time. Gautier excels in descriptions, and one can see in them the influence of his early interest and training in the plastic arts.

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: 

Paul Claudel (1868-1955) was a professional diplomat who represented France as ambassador in many countries including China and the United States. In his poetry, he reveals himself as a fervent Catholic and mystic. Claudel often writes in short versets which make his thought difficult to follow.

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