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Tristan Corbiere (1845 - 1875)

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  • Tristan Corbiere was born in 1845 in Finistere, the son of a writer of sea stories. Named Edouard after his father, he later gave himself the name Tristan, in a conscious reference to the names mythic associations. Although his early childhood was happy, he was lonely at school and suffered ill-health from his teens. He left school at sixteen and for the rest of his life was supported by subsidies from his father. His only book, Les Amours jaunes, was published in 1873 in an edition of fewer than 500 copies, financed by his father. Ignored at the time, it was publicized by Verlaine in Les Poetes maudits (1884). It subsequently became a key work in modern French poetry and, through its influence on Pound and Eliot, in English and American modernism. Corbiere died in 1875 at the age of twenty-nine.

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