Citation
Narcissus in Valéry's poetics

Material Information

Title:
Narcissus in Valéry's poetics
Creator:
Schnare, Dorothy Hopkins, 1938-
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
1974
Language:
English
Physical Description:
vi, 237 leaves. : ; 28 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Beauty ( jstor )
Dunes ( jstor )
Love ( jstor )
Love poetry ( jstor )
Nymphs ( jstor )
Poetic themes ( jstor )
Poetics ( jstor )
Poetry ( jstor )
Sonnets ( jstor )
Theater ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- Romance Languages and Literatures -- UF ( lcsh )
Narcissus (Mythology) ( lcsh )
Romance Languages and Literatures thesis Ph. D ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis -- University of Florida.
Bibliography:
Bibliography: leaves 230-236.
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright [name of dissertation author]. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
022779024 ( AlephBibNum )
14087861 ( OCLC )
ADA8926 ( NOTIS )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:

narcissusinval00schn ( .pdf )

narcissusinval00schn_Page_165.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_118.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_133.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_020.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_142.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_032.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_023.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_199.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_102.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_138.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_089.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_011.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_115.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_017.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_191.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_149.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_015.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_096.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_230.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_067.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_208.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_221.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_201.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_229.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_019.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_081.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_056.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_242.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_232.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_064.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_071.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_050.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_187.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_098.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_060.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_217.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_143.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_162.txt

EV58U4LNU_6E3WDC_xml.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_127.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_154.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_134.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_189.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_146.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_073.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_028.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_145.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_141.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_111.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_160.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_072.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_016.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_087.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_196.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_085.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_077.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_227.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_063.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_194.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_236.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_158.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_202.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_132.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_079.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_168.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_131.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_103.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_078.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_185.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_061.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_212.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_198.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_210.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_107.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_075.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_026.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_175.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_174.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_203.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_176.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_041.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_153.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_178.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_034.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_126.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_106.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_136.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_038.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_025.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_238.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_082.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_070.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_235.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_171.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_006.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_213.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_086.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_219.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_095.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_080.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_192.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_180.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_233.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_021.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_099.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_116.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_114.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_054.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_022.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_048.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_193.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_128.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_112.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_135.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_029.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_152.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_057.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_206.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_241.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_084.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_226.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_234.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_209.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_027.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_058.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_036.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_066.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_139.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_004.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_220.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_122.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_093.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_200.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_076.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_013.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_044.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_091.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_243.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_166.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_053.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_069.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_177.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_172.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_120.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_204.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_147.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_033.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_215.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_163.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_130.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_109.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_179.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_190.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_123.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_218.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_207.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_065.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_024.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_055.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_049.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_047.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_237.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_184.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_002.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_140.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_035.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_223.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_110.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_088.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_129.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_097.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_042.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_125.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_101.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_151.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_240.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_051.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_195.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_008.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_045.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_148.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_157.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_144.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_083.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_010.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_216.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_228.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_186.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_100.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_037.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_214.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_164.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_105.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_092.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_059.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_030.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_121.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_043.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_039.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_182.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_062.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_211.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_170.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_012.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_003.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_104.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_173.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_155.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_224.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_001.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_156.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_068.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_052.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_119.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_018.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_117.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_205.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_197.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_094.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_113.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_031.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_046.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_137.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_150.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_169.txt

narcissusinval00schn_pdf.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_245.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_007.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_188.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_040.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_014.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_239.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_124.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_244.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_074.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_009.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_231.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_005.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_222.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_161.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_225.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_159.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_167.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_090.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_181.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_108.txt

narcissusinval00schn_Page_183.txt


Full Text














NARCISSUS IN VALERY'S POETICS


By

DOROTHY HOPKINS SCHNARE















A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY







UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1974



















ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


The writer wishes to express her appreciation to

Dr. Raymond Gay-Crosier and to Dr. Albert B. Smith for

their assistance in the writing of this dissertation.

Their constructive criticism and numerous suggestions were

invaluable. In addition, Dr. Herman E. Spivey, an out-

standing teacher, has been a great source of inspiration.

Special thanks are also due her husband, Dr. Paul S. Schnare,

for his patience and encouragement.










TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ........... ........................ ii

ABSTRACT .......................... ..................... ... ... iv

INTRODUCTION ................ ............. ....... ....... 1

NOTES ........................................... .. 12

CHAPTER ONE: "NARCISSE PARLE" ......................... 14

NOTES .............................. ........... ... 76

CHAPTER TWO: "FRAGMENTS DU NARCISSE"................. 85

Introduction and Background...................... 85

"Narcisse parole" and the "Fragments"............. 105

Questionable Sources ............................. 122

Ovidian Elements............ .... .. .... ......... 138

Further Poetic Considerations.................... 149

Summary .............. .............. ............. 163

NOTES .......... ............ ......... ........... 167

CHAPTER THREE: CANTATE DU NARCISSE ..................177

NOTES.............. ................ ............... 219

CONCLUSION ............ ................... ............ 222

BIBLIOGRAPHY.. ...................................... . 230

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.................. .. .. .... .... ......237















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

NARCISSUS IN VALERY'S POETICS

By

Dorothy Hopkins Schnare

August, 1974

Chairman: Dr. Raymond Gay-Crosier
Major Department: Romance Languages and Literatures (French)


This study proceeds from the conviction that the most

logical way to arrive at an understanding of Val6ry's poetics

is by means of his poems, in particular, his Narcissus poems.

Valdry used many different forms to expatiate on his poetic

theory. Excerpts appear in letters, aphorisms, and in his

poems. Specific details are amplified in essays, lectures,

and the Cahiers. One of the most persistent problems in

attempting to understand Valdry's poetics is how to confront

this mass of disparate material in order to articulate it

succinctly. Critics tend to see the theory as a mass of

fragments and even contradictions. Proceeding from the poems

to the theory, as Valdry generally did, is a viable way to

synthesize the essential tenets.

Val6ry wrote three major works on Narcissus: "Nar-

cisse parle" (1891), "Fragments du Narcisse" (1926), and

Cantate du Narcisse (1939). Since these works and revisions








of them were composed over a fifty year period, they func-

tion as a poetic autobiography demonstrating the essential

elements of his poetics.

One chapter is devoted to each of the three works.

In each case, the same pattern is followed, providing back-

ground details, confronting the problem of influence, analyz-

ing the Ovidian elements, and closely examining the text.

The focus is kept on what these aspects reveal about Valdry's

theory. For example, in the first chapter, a study of "Nar-

cisse parle," a poem in the Symbolist manner, the question

of influence is seriously entertained. Valdry's early poetic

theory is formulated, primarily, on the poems and poetic

aims of Mallarm6 and the theories and technique of Poe.

The second chapter concentrates on the "Fragments

du Narcisse" and demonstrates Valdry's classical aims. Com-

parison of it with "Narcisse parle," underlines Valery's

method of composition, a series of rejections, revisions,

retentions, and regroupings. Finally, the Cantate, a fusion

of his Symbolist tendencies and his classical aims, rein-

forces a number of the basic elements of Valery's poetic

canon, for instance, his problem solving approach, and his

view of poetry as an art of language.

Valdry's theory of poetry is personal. He indulges

in poetic creation for himself first and for others only

second, remaining, on the whole, indifferent to his audience.

His theory centers on considerations about the poet and the

problems he faces or poses for himself. For Valry, poetry

is a serious intellectual exercise involving long labor and









constant revision. A poem is never finished, for the

creative process is a quest for perfection, for pure poetry.

As much consciousness as possible is his fundamental rule

for poetic creation. He insisted upon writing under strict

constraints, imposing the maximum number of conventions and

rules to increase the degree of both consciousness and poetry.

His poetry is at once cerebral and sensuous making

the Narcissus myth the perfect vehicle to explore his acute

sensitivity and heightened consciousness. The Narcissus

poems are a clear demonstration of his conviction that a

poet could spend a lifetime rewriting the same poem. Con-

scious effort and attention to the beautiful details of

poetry provide a myriad of angles from which the poet can

approach the same theme to learn more about the creative act.

Valdry postulates no dogmatic theory of poetry.

Inward-looking and self-reflective, he prefers to question

and experiment. The cumulative impression which the Nar-

cissus poems produce about Val6ry's poetics is one of unity

and continuity. During the long period from "Narcisse parle"

through the "Fragments" to the Cantate, his poetic preoccupa-

tions and practices remain basically unaltered. They are

always related to the larger question of how to know the mind.

















INTRODUCTION


The persona in Paul Valry's literary production

is Narcissus whether he is named Monsieur Teste who says:

"Je suis 6tant, et me voyant; me voyant, me voir et ainsi

de suite..." or the angel seated at the edge of the

fountain in Valery's final poem, "L'Ange." Named, un-

named or renamed, the figure of Narcissus is a constant

of Valry's work.

Valdry wrote three major poems with the word

Narcissus mentioned in the title: "Narcisse parle"

(1891), the "Fragments du Narcisse" (1926), and the

Cantate du Narcisse (1939). These three compositions

will serve as the framework for this study of Valery's

poetics. Elaboration and clarification of the tenets

of Valery's poetic theory are made possible by means of

a close examination of the background and details of his

three major Narcissus works.

Val6ry's study of poetry is much broader and

involves much more than the statement of an "art po6tique."

He researched the creative process in depth and focused

on the mind's act of "making." That is why he chooses

to speak of poeticsc" art as making:









J'ai done cru pouvoir le reprendre
dans un sens qui regarded L l1'tymologie,
sans oser cependant le prononcer
Politique, don't la physiologie se sert
quand elle parole do functions h6mato-
poi@tiques ou galactopo'itiques. Mais
c'est enfin la notion toute simply
de faire que je voulais exprimer.

What interested Val6ry about his own poems was how he

created them, their very genesis. The actual process of

fabrication was so important to him because it led him

back to and taught him more about his primordial interest

- the mind.

The poems are a starting point for further research

and allow him to make statements about theory, implicitly

by means of the poems themselves, explicitly in letters,

lectures, and essays, nearly always after the fact. While

aspects of his poetic theory developed and changed, much

of it remained constant and became more precise over the

years, and this is what makes a close study of the Nar-

cissus poems so revealing and rewarding in an attempt to

synthesize Valery's theory of poetry. They span his whole

career from his early insistence on the sonnet as an

ideal form in the late 1800's to the very end of his career

with the publication of the prose poem, "L'Ange" in 1945.

There is a Narcissus poem for each major creative period

in his life. In the early period, the Symbolist period,

he produced "Narcisse parole Of all his youthful poems,

he felt that this one alone approached his ideal. During

the years of his return to poetry, there is a significant










revision of "Narcisse parole" for the Album de vers anciens.

The period of maturity, with the masterpieces of Charmes,

includes the three part, highly acclaimed, "Fragments du

Narcisse." Finally, his artistic endeavors centered on

drama, and in this last period he wrote the libretto for

the musical drama: Cantate du Narcisse.

While Valdry's Narcissus is engaged in the search

for self, it is not as the result of an identity crisis,

nor is his preoccupation with the figure of Narcissus

pure narcissism in the psychological sense.2 The starting

point for Valdry's Narcissus poems is not an unconscious

impulse to lend imagery to a universal human problem, that

of the relationship of the self to the self, but rather

a very conscious effort to resolve problems of poetry,

and, thereby, to reach an understanding of the creative

process. This understanding is, in turn, a means to the

fundamental goal which was to know and understand the

mind and its potential. Undoubtedly, the quest into the

mind is simultaneously the quest into the integrity of

the self and individuality. As Narcisse says in the

"Fragments:"

Mais moi, Narcisse aimed, je ne suis curieux
Que de ma seule essence;
Tout autre n'a pour moi qu'un coeur myst6rieux,
Tout autre n'est qu'absence (0, I, 128).

The mind's goal is a "moi pur," absolute consciousness.

One of the most significant aspects of Valdry's

choice of the mask of Narcissus is its total suitability










for him. It is, at once, both important and unimportant

as subject matter for his poetry. Because it is an old

re-worked vehicle for poetic production with a long

poetic history (not the least of which is in the French

literary tradition), it is insignificant in and of itself,

a banal subject. Consequently, the poetry itself becomes

of prime importance as Val6ry intended. The act of crea-

tion which he saw as a serious intellectual exercise

involving subtle modulation and constant revision becomes

the focal point of his poetic activity. He continuously

stresses the unimportance of subject in its usual sense

and insists that the interest in a poem, for him, lies in

the composition: "Cependanr la seule pens&e de con-

structions de cette espece demeure pour moi la plus

poetique des iddes: l'id6e de composition' (0, 1, 1504).

If the story of Narcissus is not in and of itself

of prime importance for its subject matter or thought

content, Valiry's use of it, nevertheless, has symbolic

significance. The introspective, ever-reflective Valery,

always on the verge of utter solipsism, is certainly like

Narcissus continually gazing at his reflection in the

water, as he endlessly seeks total self-possession.

Ultimately, of course, both Valery and Narcissus are

doomed to failure, and Valdry is keenly aware that absolute

knowledge is inaccessible. Yet, he sees the purity of

purpose involved in the constant striving for a single,

unattainable ideal goal, be it the "moi pur" or pure poetry.










The Narcissus myth is Valdry's most important

myth. A number of short articles and one full-length

study of the theme recognize the importance of the figure

of Narcissus in Val6ry's work. Pierre Fortassier in

"Le Theme de Narcisse" begins:

Le regard le plus superficiel ne
peut manquer de percevoir, dans
l'oeuvre de Paul Valery, l'impor-
tance du thbme de Narcisse ..
Un examen plus approfondi rvbele
la presence de ce thime, plus ou
moins latent, A peu pros partout.

The longer study, a dissertation, attempts to reassess

the importance of the Cantate du Narcisse. Basically,

however, it is a comparative study with some limited

explications de texte.4 The third chapter purports to

be a "close reading of the three Narcissus works of

Val6ry."5 Unfortunately, this is not the case. Only

three pages, for instance, are spent in an examination

of the last two parts of "Fragments du Narcisse" which

contain a total of 166 lines. The shorter studies make

no claim to be in-depth analyses of the three works.

None of these studies recognize that the three poems,

stretching over Valery's career as they do, are a logical

steppingstone to an understanding of Valdry's poetic

theory.

While it is clear that the theme of Narcissus

in Valdry's work has not been adequately or thoroughly

explored, there have been important studies made of









Valery's poetics. Two full-length studies, in particular,

come to mind immediately: Jean Hytier's La Po6iique de

Valery6 and W.N. Ince's The Poetic Theory of Paul Val6ry.7

The latter, subtitled Inspiration and Technique, is

interesting but limited since it concentrates primarily

on trying to make a case for the role of inspiration in

Valery's work. It is often suggested that Val6ry is

contradictory and less than honest about the role of in-

spiration in his work, but he does not disregard emotion,

imagination, intuition or inspiration, for that matter.

He emphasizes instead that these are not sufficient in

themselves but must be complemented and disciplined by

intelligence and as much consciousness as possible.

Hytier's book, much more comprehensive than

Ince's, is the most widely acclaimed study of Val&ry's

theory of poetry. It is an indispensable aid to an

understanding of the subject. One major point of differ-

ence between Hytier's work and this present examination

is that he does not, with any consistency or detail,

compare Val6ry's theories about poetry with his practice.

He neglects or overlooks the fact that the poems generally

came first and then the theory. Writing "Le Cimetiere

marin," for example, led eventually to "Au sujet du

'Cimetiere marin,'" an important pronouncement on poetic

theory. A revealing account of Valery's return to poetry,

"Le Prince et la Jeune Parque," followed the writing of

the poem La Jeune Parque and the Narcissus poems eventually










resulted in "Une Causerie sur Narcisse" on September

19, 1941, which was later published as "Sur les

'Narcisse.'"

Val6ry's essays and commentary on his poems are

in a way a defense and illustration of them. Because of the

fact that Val6ry's interest in poetry is based on his

preoccupation with the effect of the poet's labor on the

the poet himself and how much of the mind poetry is capable

of engaging, it is important, if not essential, to start

with the poetry. Also, Hytier does not make use of the

Cahiers, an indispensable tool for the study of Val6ry's

poetic theory.

A number of short articles as well as chapters in

various books about Valdry also serve to introduce, out-

line and clarify Valry's poetics.8 In a short chapter

entitled "The Poetic Theory of Paul Valery," Henry Grubbs

touches on poetry as exercise, the role of inspiration,

the necessity of rhyme, the theory of multiple solutions

and the importance of revisions.9 The poetic problems

which concerned Val6ry, as outlined by Grubbs, come up

naturally in the course of examining the Narcissus poems,

and,therefore, they can be explained and amplified in

direct correlation with the poetry.

As I shall demonstrate, nowhere is it clearer

than in the Narcissus poems that, for Valdry, poetry is

a long labor involving constant revision. Moreover, a poem









is never finished except by accident, as was the case

with "Narcisse parole" which Pierre Louys needed immediately

for the first issue of his journal, La Conque. Val6ry saw

poetry as an art of language and, like Mallarm6, recog-

nized that the impurity of language necessitated separating

its poetic from its ordinary practical function. The

Narcissus poems show that Val6ry is a word sceptic, test-

ing the limits of language. The role of music in poetry,

the importance of form as opposed to content, the intention

to utilize to the fullest the conventions of poetry, the

goal of pure poetry, all are shown, in this study, to be

integral parts of the long development from "Narcisse

parle" through the "Fragments" to the Cantate.

A chapter will be devoted to each of the three

Narcissus works. While the emphasis will not always be

the same, a similar pattern of analysis will be followed

in each chapter. There will be a general introduction and

survey of background details, a study of possible influences,

a demonstration of the Ovidian elements Valery utilizes,

and a close examination of the text itself.

In the first chapter where "Narcisse parle" is

studied, the role of influence is most carefully dealt

with since it is crucial to an understanding of the poem

and the poetic theory behind it. Mallarm6 and Poe, in

particular, materially affected "Narcisse parle," which

is, essentially, a poem in the Symbolist manner. Since










there are two major versions of the poem, concentrated

study of Valry's revisions reveals his specific technical

considerations and important aspects of his poetic

theory. Valry's ultimate rejection of certain Symbolist

traits comes to light, as well as his theory of the

possibility of different solutions to a poetic problem,

and the necessity for attention to the smallest details of

poetry and calculated effects.

With the "Fragments," studied in chapter two,

it is necessary to confront the mass of analyses already

existing since the poem has been studied repeatedly.

Rather than indulge in additional interpretative specula-

tion, I have concentrated instead on comparison with

"Narcisse parle" which figures materially in the composi-

tion of the "Fragments" and clearly demonstrates Valery's

serious interest in poetic technique, especially the

importance of utilizing standard poetic conventions.

Synthesis of several studies of the work leads to com-

parison of Valdry with Lucretius, the Romantic poets, and

Racine. This focus has the advantage of putting Val4ry's

aims into perspective. Subject matter is inconsequential

but the poetic challenge which an old theme affords is

an important factor. The expression of the poet's philo-

sophy has no role in the poem. In addition, the "Frag-

ments" underscore Valery's classicism.

In the third chapter I examine the Cantate du Narcisse.









Since the Cantate is the least familiar of Val6ry's Nar-

cissus works, I have approached it in a slightly different

manner. I have tried to piece together background infor-

mation which has not previously been assimilated. I also

spend more time on interpretation since, unlike the

"Fragments," the Cantate has rarely been analyzed. An

additional change in format is caused by Valdry's use of

a different genre which requires examination of his con-

cept of theater. On the other hand, as I develop the sub-

stance of this modified approach, I continue to focus on

Valdry's poetic preoccupations and his theory of poetry

demonstrating that Val6ry's third work is a fusion of

the other two in that it combines his classical aims with

his Symbolist tendencies.

Close study of these works in the three chapters

which follow will show the actual progression from poem

to theory and the emergence of what is never a dogmatic

theory of poetry but allows for a viable synthesis and a

fuller understanding of Valdry's poetics. Unlike the

Teste cycle and the Leonardo works, the Narcissus poems

are not a mere phase of Valdry's development. Neither

are they primarily an aspect of Valiry's intellectual

biography and personality,as Michel Ddcaudin contends.10

The poems about Narcissus are instead exactly what Val6ry

suggested they were: "une sorte d'auto-biographie podti-

que."11 And the word poetic must be emphasized, for the




11




poems constitute a veritable autobiography of Val6ry's

poetic development. They span his total poetic career

and cover the full range of his artistic concerns.









NOTES


Paul Valery, OEuvres, 6d. Jean Hytier (Paris:
Editions Gallimard. Bibliotheque de la Pl1iade, 1957),
I, p. 1342. Hereafter cited in the text as O, I, or O,
II, in the case of volume II. All emphases and ellipses
are Val6ry's unless otherwise indicated.

For a detailed discussion of the psychological
ramifications of Val6ry's choice of the theme of Narcissus
see Gilbert Aigrisse, Psychanalyse de Paul Valery (Paris:
Editions universitaires de France, 1964). The most per-
tinent chapter reprinted under the title: "Une Maniere
de narcissisme" appears in Les Critiques de notre temps
et Valery, presentation par Jean Bellemin-Noel (Paris:
Garnier, 1971), pp. 119-132.

3Pierre Fortassier, "Le Theme de Narcisse,"
Europe, 49 (1971), 49. See also "Narcisse chez Paul
Valery" in Pierre Albouy, Mythes et mythologies dans la
litt6rature franqaise (Paris: Armand Colin, 1969), pp.
181-187, and Otto Hahn, "Le Naufrage de Narcisse,"
L'Express 736 (1965), 44-46.

4Lester Dufford, The Myth of Narcissus in the
Works of Paul Valery (Dissertation: Florida State Uni-
versity, 1970). The comparisons include discussions of
the myth in Ovid, Le Roman de la Rose, Franqois Villon,
a "broadside ballad," James Shirley, and Mallarm6.

3Dufford, p. 4.

6Jean Hytier, La Podtique de Valdry (Paris:
Armand Colin, 1970).

Walter Newcomb Ince, The Poetic Theory of Paul
Val6ry (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1961).

8One of the most important is Jackson Mathews,
"The Poletics of Paul Val6ry," Romanic Review 46 (1955),
203-217. Mathews discusses the lectures given by Valery
on poetics at the College de France from 1937 to 1945
concentrating, as Valery does in the lectures, on
sensibility6."

9Henry Grubbs, Paul Val6ry (New York: Twayne
Publishers, 1968), pp. 83-99.

10Michel D&caudin, "Narcisse: une sorte d'auto-
biographie po6tique," L'Information Litt6raire, VII
(1956), 55.





13




1l"Sur les 'Narcisse,'" in Paul Valry vivant
(!Marseille: Cahiers du Sud, 1946), p. 283.
















CHAPTER I

"NARCISSE PARLE"


Of all Val6ry's early poems, "Narcisse parle" has

the longest and most distinguished history. This poem,

which has often been singled out and praised as the best

or one of the most beautiful of the many poems written

between 1888 and 1892, occasioned the first public recog-

nition of Val6ry. "Son nom voltigera sur les l1vres des

hommes" were the words written by Henri Chantavoine (in

his generally laudatory article) in the Journal des Ddbats

of April 7, 1891, to describe Valery after the publication

of the "jolis vers" of his "Narcisse parle" in La Conque

on the 15th of March 1891. Gide alone, of all Valdry's

friends, was critical of aspects of the poem. His com-

ments will be discussed later. Others like Pierre Louys,

Henri de Rdgnier, and H6rddia praised the poem whole-

heartedly. Valdry himself, who was keenly disappointed

with the poem and greatly bothered by the considerable

praise it received, nevertheless, felt that of all his

early poems it was the closest to his ideal. "Ce poeme demeure

pour moi un premier 6tat charact6ristique de mon id6al et

de mes moyens de ce temps-la." He also valued it enough

to send a copy to Mallarmd who wrote in response: "Votre










'Narcisse parole' me charme et je le dis a Louys. Gardez

ce ton rare."2

Appreciation and acclaim for the poem continue

even in recent times. Henry Grubbs, for example, feels

that "Narcisse parle" is one of Val6ry's first distinctive

poems because of its delicate harmonies, purity and ori-

ginality of imagery.3 Agnes MacKay remarks:

During the spring and summer of 1891
Valdry was still writing poetry. "H61lne,"
"a large fresco which should evoke anti-
quity," and "La Fileuse," are both of this
period, but the most characteristic poem
among his early works, and which played a
part in his evolution, was "Narcisse
parle.'

In the course of a brief examination of some of the poems

of the Album de vers anciens of which "Narcisse parle"

is an integral part, Berne-Joffroy singles it out: "Mais

l'un d'eux, 'Narcisse parle,' announce d6ja les pures

harmonies de La Jeune Parque."5 And Pierre-Olivier Walzer

wrote: "Quand Adrienne Monnier publia, en 1920, 1'Album

de vers anciens, 'Narcisse parole' en 6tait l'un des plus

beaux ornements."

In addition to his praise for the poem, Walzer

provides extensive background material (pp. 85-96). Per-

haps his most notable contribution to the study of

"Narcisse parole" is his discussion of the sonnets anterior

to the "Narcisse parole" of La Conque where he includes

the publication of the following sonnet which he sees as

the version"[. .] apparemment lamoins travaill6e,









repres6ntant par consequent le point de depart de tous

les Narcisses:



NARCISSE PARLE

Que je deplore ton eclat fatal et pur!
Source magique, a mes larmes predestin6e,
O puiserent mes yeux dans un mortel azur
Mon image de fleurs funestes couronn6e!

Car, je m'aime!... 6 reflet ironique de Moi!
O mes baisers! lanc6s a la calme fontaine,
Et vous, roses! que vers ma vision lointaine
Epand sur l'eau ma main suave, avec effroi.

Cher Narcissus! tes livres ont soif de tes levres!
Et mes regards, dans ce cristal 6changent leurs
fievres!
Faut-il ma vie A ton amour, 6 spectre cher?...

Toi, ma splendeur, incline-toi vers l'amdthyste
De ce miroir don't m'attire la lueur triste
Ainsi qu'un blanc vase harmonieux, 6 ma chair!...



Henri Mondor, however, in "Deux poemes in6dits,"

Hommage a Paul Valery published by Les Nouvelles LittE-

raires in 1945 gives the following version as "la toute

premiere 6bauche inddite" of "Narcisse parle." The first

five lines are the same as those of the version presented

by Walzer. The lines which differ are:



O mes baisers jets a la came fontaine,
Roses vaines que vers mon image lointaine
Epand sur 1'eau ma main suave avec effroi!

De mes propres beautds ma bouche est amoureuse
Je lis dans mes regards ma fureur malheureuse
Ma vie adore un spectre inviolable et cher.









0 ma soif de moi-meme, invoque l'amtthyste
De ce miroir don't m'attire la lueur triste
Oh dort ce noble vase harmonieux, ma chair!
(O, I, 1556-57).



Both versions have the same date, 28 September 1890.

Still another version of the sonnet and a prose poem ren-

dition appear in O, I, pages 1555 and 1557.8 Considerable

additional background material is found there also (pp.

1552-1564) including about two-thirds of the lecture

given by Valdry entitled "Sur les 'Narcisse'" (pp. 1559-

61). More of this same lecture, given at the home of

Marguerite Fournier in Marseille on the 19th of September

1941, appears in Paul Val&ry vivant.

During this talk Val6ry gave his personal account

of the poetic origin of "Narcisse parle" explaining, among

other things, the source of the poem's epigraph: PLACANDIS

NARCISSAE MANIBUS.

11 existed a Montpellier un jardin
botanique oi j'allais tres souvent alors
que j'avais l'age de 19 ans. Dans un coin
assez retired de ce jardin, qui 6tait beau-
coup plus sauvage et bien mieux autrefois,
se trouve une route et, dans cette sorte
d'anfranctuositd, une plaque de marbre
qui porte trois mots: PLACANDIS NARCISSAE
MANIBUS. Cette inscription m'avait fait
r@ver; mais voici, en deux mots, son
histoire.

En 1820, A cet emplacement, on
avait trouv6 un squelette et, d'apris
certaines traditions locales, on pensa
que c'6tait la s6pulture de la fille du
po@te Young. Celle-ci more a Montpellier
vers la fin du XVIIIe siecle, n'avait pu
Etre enterrde dans le cimetitre, car elle
dtait protestante. Son p@re 1'aurait










ensevelie, un soir de clair de lune.
La jeune morte se nommait NARCISSA.
On identifia avec elle les restes retrou-
v6s.

Pour moi, ce nom de Narcissa
sugg6rait celui de Narcisse. Puis 1'
ide6 se devloppa du mythe de ce jeune
home, parfaitement beau, ou qui se
trouvait tel dans son image.

J'6crivis en ce temps-la un tout
premier Narcisse, sonnet irrdgulier, et
origin de tous ces pommes successifs.10

That "Narcisse parole" was a sonnet first is not at

all unexpected. Val6ry's first poems were almost exclusive-

ly sonnets: for example, "Solitude" and "Elevation de la

lune" possibly written as early as 1887; "Les Chats

blancs," 26 September 1889; "Mirabilia saecula," 1 Octo-

ber 1889; "Le Cygne,"5 October 1889; "La Mer," 10 October

1889; and "Fleur mystique," 22 June 1890.11

His early devotion to the sonnet form is an in-

dication of his genuine appreciation for the constraints

of fixed forms and the strict conventions of poetry.

Artistic discipline is an important aspect of his theory

of poetry. In his theoretical writings, the necessity of

form is apparent as early as 1889:

II [the poet] se gardera de jeter sur
le paper tout ce que lui soufflera aux
minutes heureuses, la Muse Association-
des-Iddes. Mais, au contraire, tout ce
qu'il aura imagine, senti, song&, 6cha-
faud6, passera au crible, sera pes6,
pure, mis A la forme et condense le
plus possible pour gagner en force ce
qu'il sacrifice en longueur: un sonnet,
par example, sera une veritable quin-
tessence, un osmaz6me, un suc concentr6,
et cohob6, r6duit a quatorze vers,









soigneusement compose en vue d'un
effet final et foudroyant.12

Later in Calpin d'un po@te: "II faut faire des sonnets.

On ne salt pas tout ce qu'on apprend A faire des sonnets

et des poemes & forme fixe" (0, I, 1454). His apprecia-

tion for the sonnet form, in particular, is apparent when

he states: "Gloire 6ternelle a l'inventeur du sonnet."13

In the course of an amusing passage, he recounts what he

would say if he were to meet the inventor of the sonnet:

"Mon cher confrere, je vous salue tres humblement [.. .]

je vous place dans mon coeur au-dessus de tous les po@tes

de la terre et des enfers!... Vous avez invented une forme

et dans cette forme les plus grands se sont adapt s."14

Pierre Louys, however, asked Valdry for a poem

longer than a sonnet for the first issue of La Conque.

Valdry relates this in a letter to Gide:

Sachez, 6 bon neophyte pour
qui d6ja se brode le pectoral et 1'
Ephod, que Louis, notre magique Di-
recteur (et pour moi aussi directeur
spiritual), me demand instamment un
certain prelude, initial pour la rd-
sonnante conque a paraitre.

Il ne me laisse pas m@me le
temps de me rdcuser et de lui faire
observer quelle est son audace de
r4clamer a l'Indigne, quarante vers
[. .. .15

The following poem of fifty-three lines is the one which

was published by Louys in the first issue of La Conque

on March 15, 1891.









Narcisse Parle

Narcissae placandis manibus

0 freres, triste lys, je languis de beauty
Pour m'etre desire dans votre nudity
Et, vers vous, Nymphes! nymphes, nymphes des
fontaines
Je viens au pur silence offrir mes larmes vaines
Car les hymnes du soleil s'en vont!...

C'est le soir.
J'entends les herbes d'or grandir dans 1'ombre
sainte
Et la lune perfide 61Eve son miroir
Si la fontaine claire est par la nuit 6teinte!
Ainsi, dans ces rosoaux harmonieux, jet6
Je languis, o saphir, par ma triste beauty,
Saphir antique et fontaine magicienne
Of j'oubliai le rire de l'heure ancienne!

Que je deplore ton 6clat fatal et pur,
Source funeste a mes larmes pr6destin6e,
Of puiserent mes yeux dans un mortel azur
Mon image de fleurs humides couronnee...
H6las! 1'Image est douce et les pleurs 6ternels!...
A travers ces bois bleus et ces lys fraternels
Une lumi6re ondule encor, pale amdthyste
Assez pour deviner 1A-bas le Fianc6
Dans ton miroir don't m'attire la lueur triste,
Pile am6thyste! o miroir du songe insens6!
Voici dans 'eau ma chair de lune et de rose
Dont bleuit la fontaine ironique et rus6e;
Voici mes bras d'argent don't les gestes sont purs..
Mes lentes mains dans l'or adorable se lassent
D'appeler ce captif que les feuilles enlacent,
Et je dame aux 6chos le nom des dieux obscurs!

Adieu! reflet perdu sous 1'onde came et close,
Narcisse, l'heure ultime est un tendre parfum
Au coeur suave. Effeuille aux manes du d6funt
Sur ce glaque tombeau la fundrale rose.

Sois, ma l1vre, la rose effeuillant son baiser
Pour que le spectre dorme en son reve apaise,
Car la Nuit parle A demi-voix seule et lointaine
Aux calices pleins d'ombre pale et si 16gers,
Mais la lune s'amuse aux myrtes allong6s.

Je t'adore, sous ces myrtes, 6 l'incertaine!
Chair pour la solitude cclose tristement
Qui se mire dans le miroir au bois dormant,
O chair d'adolescent et de princess douce!










L'heure menteuse est molle au reve sur la mousse
Et la d6lice obscure emplit le bois profound.
Adieu! Narcisse, encor! Voici le Crdpuscule.
La flfte sur l'azur enseveli module
Des regrets de troupeaux sonores qui s'envont!...
Sur la levre de gemme en l'eau morte, 6 pieuse
Beauty pareille au soir, Beaut6 silencieuse,
Tiens ce baiser nocturne et tendrement fatal,
Caresse don't l'espoir ondule ce crystal!

Emporte-la dans l'ombre, 6 ma chair exile,
Et puis, verse pour la lune, flfte isol6e,

Verse des pleurs lointains en des urnes d'argent.

(Fragment)16



It is not surprising that the poem has added

after it the word "Fragment." The work, an ouvrage de

command, was, according to Valery, written very quickly:

"J'ai fait ce poeme en deux jours ou six heures de temps

sur command, come vous le savez, et je m'en repens. II

ouvrira La Conque d'une miserable sorte, et rougira de

confusion...."17 This form of "Narcisse parle" then was

fixed by accident18 in that Louys demanded it immediately

(recall the details of Val6ry's letter to Gide quoted

earlier: "Louys [. .] me demand instamment un certain

prelude . "). Val6ry would have preferred a much

longer labor more consistent with his constantly held

belief that poetry required long, arduous work,not quick

facile verse making.

J'ai pris ma plume, et me voila
dans les affres. Car le Narcisse longue-
ment rev6 ne devrait se faire que minu-
tieusement, A courts heures! Et je
souffre de la sentir s'augmenter faci-
lement presque, et je suis tres emu car









je vois l'Oeuvre se ditacher ingra-
tement de moi et leurrer mon songe
d'6phebe solitaire.

De grace, si je le termine, et
si je l'envoie A L., jugez-le et sans
avocat du diable, et damnez-le a jamais,
car cela ne pourra rien valoir si ha-
tivement fait. Mais vous ne vous
imagine pas quel ddchirement!19

In a later letter to Gide, he again deplores the hasty

writing:

Si vous avez lu mon hdtif poeme, bien
loin de l'oeuvre revde et que j'espere
refaire un soir ou l'autre (car sans
cet espoir je souffrirais) [. .20

A corrected version, definitive if one can use

the word definitive about a Valrian poem, considering

his attitude that a poem is never finished, appeared

in the Album de vers anciens published in 1920. This

version, revised during the beginning period of Valdry's

return to poetry, has a number of significant changes.

Before discussing in detail the elements of

Valdry's evolving poetic theory which are revealed by

a close examination of the differences between the

"Narcisse parle" of La Conque and the Album, it is help-

ful to place the poem in a historic perspective. This

Narcissus poem, much more than Valery's subsequent works

on the same subject, has specific literary antecedents.

At least four writers materially affected the poem. As

a result, the poem can be placed squarely in the Symbol-

ist tradition. That "Narcisse parle" is a poem in the

Symbolist manner is a key factor which must be analyzed









in order to arrive at a clear understanding of the poem

and its construction. First, however, a brief investi-

gation of a much earlier tradition is necessary to estab-

lish Val6ry's fundamental lack of debt to another possible

literary ancestor: Ovid.

The Narcissus myth, particularly as it appears

in the third book of Ovid's Metamorphoses, has received

persistent attention from innumerable artists, especially

poets, throughout the ages.21 Not the least of these

imitations and variations on the theme have been in French

literature. Beginning with the Middle Ages and Narcisus

(a poem of the twelfth century), the Roman de la Rose,

the Ovide moralism, and the troubadour lyrics,2 it is

easy to find outstanding examples in every century of the

use of the story of Narcissus as told by Ovid. The mem-

bers of the Pliade, notably Ronsard in "Le Narssis" and

the sonnet "Que laschement...,"23 utilized elements from

the myth for their love poetry. Metamorphosis, reflecting

waters, and the problem of illusion were common themes in

Baroque poetry so it is not surprising to see allusions

to Narcissus in the works of such seventeenth century

poets as Tristan, St. Amant, and Theophile de Viau.24 In

the eighteenth century, one of the most remarkable examples

is Rousseau's "Narcisse ou 1'Amant de lui-meme." The

nineteenth century is no exception, and by the end of

the century, the figure of Narcissus became a veritable

commonplace of Symbolism, occurring in the works of









Rodenbach, R6gnier, Jean RoyEre, Gide, indirectly in

Mallarmd, especially in his H6rodiade, and, of course,

in Val6ry who carries the myth into the twentieth cen-

tury.25

Val6ry's Narcissus, ever lucid, is a modern hero

who knows from the start that his pursuit is in vain.

He is, therefore, not the Narcissus of Ovid who falls in

love with an image which he only belatedly recognizes as

himself. To construct "Narcisse parole Valery borrows

very little from the story as Ovid relates it.26 In addi-

tion to withholding essentially all of the narrative de-

tails of Narcissus' background and life, Val6ry also omits
27
completely Echo's part in the tale;27 and does not, for

example, develop the vengeance motif which results in

Narcissus' punishment for mocking and rebuffing Echo and

the others who fall in love with him. Val6ry's "Narcisse

parle" is a non-narrative poem entirely free from the

epic frame of Ovid's tale. Instead it is a lyrical poem

intent on expressing an "6tat d'ame," and aimed at evoking

a mood rather than retelling an ancient myth.

There is, however, one significant motif which

Valdry borrows ever so subtly from Ovid: the transfor-

mation myth. The poem never alludes directly to Narcissus'

ultimate transformation into a flower as in Ovid's account.

Yet, the idea is certainly suggested by the opening words:

"0 freres! tristes lys and in the early version,

by the line: "A travers ces bois bleus et ces lys









fraternels . ." which continues the implications of the

first line by the choice of the word "fraternels." In

addition, the beginning of the line: "Mon image de

fleurs . ." also causes the transformation to come to

mind although it might not have if Val4ry had turned it

around to read: "Mon image couronn6e de fleurs humides!"

Val6ry also seems to have absorbed some of Ovid's
28
vocabularly.28 In Valery's "Narcisse parle" as in Ovid's

account, there are several references to Narcissus' tears

and to the fact that his efforts are in vain. In Ovid's

Metamorphoses:

Cum risi, adrides; lacrimas quoque saepe notavi
Me lacrimante tuas: nutu quoque signa remittis
(lines 459-60).

Et lacrimis turbavit aquas, obscuraque moto
(1. 475).

Inrita fallaci quotiens dedit oscula fonti!
(1. 427).

Credule, quid frustra simulacra fugacia captas?
(1. 432).

'Hleu! frusta dilecte puer!'.. .(1. 500).

Valery combines the two in:

Je viens au pur silence offrir mes larmes vaines.

There is a reference to tears in the last line:

Une diversity de nos larmes d'argent.

Again the ideas are combined in

H6las! L'image est vaine et les pleurs 6ternels!

The deeply discouraged tone of "H61as" in the preceding

line reminds the reader of Narcissus' expressions of










grief in Ovid's line: "Indoluit, quotiensque puer

miserabilis 'eheu!'" (1. 495), and in line 500 already

quoted above. In Valry's work, the way Narcissus is

described attempting to reach the image: "Mes lentes

mains dans l'or adorable se lassent/ D'appeler ce captif

que les feuilles enlacent," corresponds, in a general

way, to Ovid's description: "In mediis quotiens visum

captantia collum/ Bracchia mersit aquis nec se deprendit

in illis" (1. 429-30). The use of the color silver to

describe the setting is found in both: "J'entends l'herbe

d'argent grandir dans 1'ombre sainte," and in Ovid: "Fons

erat inlimis, nitidis argenteus undis," (line 407). There

is, in fact, a general similarity in setting. Valdry's

landscape, like Ovid's has a pictorial quality. Its sil-

very cast is somewhat reminiscent of the silvery bright

water and grassy area described by Ovid. To the extent

that Ovid's setting can be said to reflect the mood of the

languishing Narcissus, there is an additional parallelism.

Overall, however, the ideal and unreal character of Valery's

decor is more in line with the typical symbolist landscape.

Maja Goth sums up this aspect, setting the poem squarely

in the Symbolist tradition in terms of theme as well as

landscape:

Val6ry's first poem about Narcissus,
Narcisse parle, which exists in dif-
ferent versions, is entirely in the
symbolistic tradition of a search for
the most exquisite form of beauty to
be found in poetry. Therefore we have
a scenery that is beyond reality:









Narcisse stays at a moonlit forest
pond; a nymph, lilies, silvery reeds,
murmuring wells, night-blue woods, and
sweet melodies of a flute are the tra-
ditional elements of that unreal land-
scape.29

The fountain's reflection of Narcissus surrounded by an

enchanted landscape becomes the symbol of perfect beauty,

endlessly sought, but ultimately unattainable. As Goth

indicates:

This landscape is an image of Narcissus
himself and Narcissus is the archetype
of beauty. Absolute beauty can be found
only outside of reality; therefore the
enchanted, dreamlike and unreal aspect
of the landscape. The purity of the
objects: the reflecting surface of the
water, the well, the jewels, the lily,
the calix, the star[s], all of them
symbols of purity, shall lead to the
formation of absolute beauty. Narcisse
laments the impossibility to reach this
absolute, to possess it.30

The symbols of purity catalogued by Goth are, of course,

commonplace occurrences in Symbolist poetry as are the

Mallarmean words "azur" and "pur" also found in the poem.

The preceding brief introduction to the elements

of a Symbolist landscape and typical Symbolist vocabulary

point to Val6ry's debt to Symbolism. In fact, the

"Narcisse parle" of 1891 can be seen as a period piece

since it was written under the direct stimulus of the

decadent and symbolist milieu. Environment and, more

specifically, influence are two overlapping and essential

factors which must be reviewed in a detailed consideration

of this poem. At least four distinguished literary









figures need to be discussed in this connection:

Huysmans, Gide, Poe, and Mallarm6. All four were of

consequence in the creation of the poem.31

In general, a solution to the question of influence

remains very elusive and extremely difficult to pinpoint

conclusively. Valery attached great importance to origin-

ality. He once said: "Je me mire dans cette phrase du

P. Hardouin (166..): 'Croyez-vous que je me suis donno

la peine de me lever tous les jours de ma vie A quatre

heures du matin pour penser come tout le monde?'" (0,

II, 1536). He usually refused to admit, and often vehe-

mently denied, that anyone had influenced his work. Yet,

the question of influence which certainly becomes negli-

gible very soon in Valdry's literary career, cannot be

ignored in the early and formative period of his poetic

history and is of special interest in the case of "Narcisse

parle."
32
In 1891, in the middle of the Symbolist period,3

when "Narcisse parole" was first published, Val6ry, by

means of correspondence, had only recently begun his

relationship with Mallarm6. Earlier, he had been intro-

duced to Mallarmr's work by Gide, Louys and the Symbolist

reviews, after first reading short excerpts from "L'Apres-

midi d'un faune" and "Herodiade" in Huysmans' novel A

Rebours. A Rebours itself had made a very deep impression

on Valery, who kept it as his constant livre de chevet and

called it his Bible.33 As for Gide, who was at that time









definitely in his own Symbolist period, he had just be-

come close friends with Val6ry, seeing him often for

serious conversations and corresponding with him fre-

quently, sometimes even twice a day. In the case of Poe,

Valery's admiration, extremely fervent during this period,

was to be of long standing, culminating when he wrote

"Au sujet d'Eureka" published in 1923.

The following discussion of the four literary

figures mentioned above focuses on how their influence

and ideas are reflected in "Narcisse parle" and the poetic

theory which underlies it. The contribution of Gide and

Huysmans is less dramatic than that of Mallarm6 and Poe,

and it is also somewhat less tangible and more general.

Actually, the influence of all four often tends to over-

lap in broad areas. For example, since Gide was often in

Paris, Symbolist poems and, especially, the works of

Mallarm6 were more readily available to him than to Valery

at Montpellier and, consequently, Gide often copied whole

poems for the highly appreciative Val6ry and sent them

along with his frequent letters. Valdry was certainly

aware of Mallarm6's sincere appreciation of Poe's poetry

and technique, and Valery not only discovered Mallarme's

"H6rodiade" in A Rebours, he read there of des Esseintes'

great admiration for Poe.

Although it could probably be argued that there

is more of Mallarm6's "H@rodiade" in Valdry's "Narcisse

parle;" there is also something of Huysman's hero, des









Esseintes. Val6ry's Narcissus may not be as neurasthenic

and pathological as des Esseintes, but there is in him

that acute sensitivity to his surroundings and the desire

and tendency to reduce life to inactivity and contemplation.

The languishing weariness and deep melancholy associated

with the realization of the impossibility of sustained

relief from "ennui" is also similar although it is equally

apparent in H1rodiade.

In discussing the impression of A Rebours on the

young poet, Mondor makes the following judicious assess-

ment:

Sans faire siens tous les aphorismes
ricanants de Baudelaire, chers a des
Esseintes, et les intermittences d'un
coeur mis a nu, il n'en excluait pas
l'envoutement: 'Le plaisir d'&tonner
et la satisfaction orgueilleuse de ne
jamais &tre 6tonnV' lui semblaient des
principles un peu sommaires; mais le de-
voir, pour le dandy, de vivree et dormir
devant un miroir', le ramenait facile-
ment a un Narcisse don't il ne devait
plus se sdparer. Quant a la solitude,
'loi de tous les esprits supdrieurs',
il ne sentait que trop, ddjA, la part
qu'il devrait toujours lui consentir.34

Jacques Charpier feels that by the time of "Narcisse

parle," Val6ry had shaken off the influence of all except

Mallarm4.

A 1'6poque, pouss6 a 6crire par Louys,
favoris6 de la plume mallarmdenne,
Valery 6prouve alors la total influence
de son prdcieux correspondent. Elle
chasse de lui les idoles qui, depuis sa
quatorzibme annde, s'y 6taient accumulees.
Baudelaire, Huysmans lui-meme sont decou-
ronn6s. Toute la place, dans l'esprit de









35
Valry, appartient au soul Mallarm.35

Val6ry's letters, however, attest to a serious and con-

tinued interest in Huysmans and A Rebours not to mention

Poe:

Je viens- par hasard! de relire une
cinquieme fois A rebours et je ne songe
plus qu'f le lire encore. Ne me m6prisez
pas trop, mais c'est mon livre. Quand je
sens trop la fadeur de me voir, je dd-
guste les pages sur la Salom6 de Moreau,
le voyage fictif a Londres, le finale si
curieusemne morne, et je me rejouis en
mon coeur.

This was written to Pierre Louys on the 19th of November

1890, when Valery supposedly sent "Narcisse parole" to

him! Just a short time before that, in another letter to

Louys, dated 21 September 1890, Valery wrote: "Tu sais

que j'idolatre Huysmans . ."37 and as late as 1895 the

following note appears in the Cahiers: "Les homes vi-

vants et notoires que j'admire personnellement sent

Messieurs H. Poincar6, Lord Kelvin, S. Mallarmd, J.K.

Huysmans, Ed. Degas, et peut-Ctre M. Cecil Rhodes. Cela

fait 6 noms."38

Further evidence of the effect of A Rebours on

Val6ry is suggested by his discussion of decadence. At

least at one point, he thought of himself as a decadent

rather than a symbolist. For example, he wrote the follow-

ing in a letter to Pierre Louys on June 22, 1890:

Voila pourquoi je ne m'intitule pas
Esthete ni symboliste cela a des
significations trop precises et trop
6troites. Je suis esthete et symboliste
mais A mon heure, mais je veux quand il










me plaira de le faire, verlainiser,
oublier Ia rime, le rythme, la gram-
maire, vagir a ma guise et laisser
crier mes sens..et je suis D&cadent.

In the same letter, Valery's definition of a decadent

is a melange of des Esseintes and Mallarme:

...d&cadent pour moi veut dire, artiste
ultra affin6, prot6g6 par une langue
savante contre l'assaut du vulgaire,
encore vierge des sales baisers du pro-
fesseur de litt6rature, glorieux du
mepris du journalist, mais l6aborant
pour lui-meme et quelques dizaines de
ses pairs, alambiquant de subtiles
essences d'art, et surtout vivant la
beauty, attentif a toutes ses manifesta-
tions, se melant a la vie, toujours par
quelque c6t6 original et vibrant.39

The refined and unusual language of "Narcisse parle" and

the desire to evoke absolute beauty are expressions of a

devotion to decadence as Val6ry describes it, as is his

general disdain for Henri Chantavoine's article praising

his poem.

A still greater influence on "Narcisse parle"

and especially the poetic theory behind it was Poe. Like

des Esseintes, and, of course, Baudelaire and Mallarme

before him, Val6ry held Poe in very high esteem. In his

first letter to Mallarm6 describing himself, Valery wrote:

"Mais c'est qu'il est profond6ment pen6trd des doctrines

savantes du grand Edgar Allen Poe peut-etre le plus

subtil artiste de ce siecle! Ce nom seul suffira a vous

montrer sa Po6tique."40 It was probably Poe more than any-

one else who affected Valdry's earliest theories on poetry.

T.S. Eliot suggests that Baudelaire was primarily










affected by Poe the prototype of le poete maudit while

Mallarm4 was interested in Poe's poetry and technique.41

About Val6ry, Eliot says: "But when we come to Valry,

it is neither the man nor the poetry, but the theory of
42
poetry, that engages his attention and admiration."42

While this is somewhat of an oversimplification, Eliot's

appraisal of Poe's influence is, in essence, correct.

Evidence of the impression of Poe's theories on

Val6ry and his acceptance of them are apparent in his

early essay on poetic theory, "Sur la technique litt6-

raire," in his letters to Gide, Louys, Gustave Fourment,

Mallarme and others, as well as in the poem "Narcisse

parole The most important aspect of Poe's theory as far

as Val6ry was concerned was the role of lucidity in artistic

creation. "-Celui qui m'a le plus fait sentir sa puissance

fut Poe. J'y ai lu ce qu'il me fallait, pris ce d6lire de
"43
la lucidity qu'il communique.43

The idea that a poem should be written in full

consciousness would always seem eminently wise to Val6ry.

There are several other points of Poe's theory which Valdry

took up seriously. Lucienne Cain mentions that in his

lectures on poetics at the CollIge de France, it was ob-

vious that Valdry was not limited to a general comprehension

of Poe's principles, but that he had penetrated deeply into

the analysis of his commentaries. She goes on to stress

the following important points which are relevant to









"Narcisse parole "

On se souvient que pour la composition
du Corbeau, Poe dit avoir essay de
fixer au pr6alable trois qualit6s essen-
tielles: d'abord, la longueur, tout
poeme, selon lui, n'existant que s'il
est court. Ensuite, il s'applique a
determiner la 'province' la region psy-
chique ol il va situer son oeuvre, et
enfin le ton. La 'province' 6tant
trouv6e, et c'est celle de la beauty,
le ton le mieux appropri6 pour lui con-
venir sera celui de la tristesse, tris-
tesse, qui nulle part ne s'exprime plus
que par l'id6e de la mort. Voila done
pos6s les l46ments pr6alables selon
lesquels le po6me vivra et se d6roulera;
ils enferment en eux la cl nerveuse
dans laquelle tout le morceau va s'ins-
crire pour se communiquer aux autres et
agir sur eux. Cette cl6, c'est ce que
Poe nomme the effect.r4-

Val6ry's lectures at the Collge de France did not begin

until 1937, but it is evident that Val6ry took Poe's

ideas seriously much earlier. Val6ry strictly adhered

to Poe's essential considerations in the composition

of "Narcisse parle." The overall tone is extremely

melancholy. The "province" is beauty. Symbols of beauty

permeate the poem, and Narcissus himself is the archetype

of beauty. Sadness is heightened by the references to

death. In the poem, there is the underlying theme of

the death of Narcissa, the young and beautiful daughter

of the poet Young and the imminent death of Narcissus

himself. In Poe's poetry, the death of a beautiful young

girl is a cliche. Moreover, Val6ry adheres to a general

rule of Poe's that he will eschew later. The poem must

be less than one hundred lines. This is true of the










early version published in La Conque which was fifty-

three lines and the later version, also, which had fifty-

eight lines. The insistence on this rule as well as the

implications of Poe's idea of calculated effects is

apparent in an excerpt from the following letter to Karl

Boes, director of the Courrier libre, who published

Valdry's early sonnet "Elevation de la lune." "Je suis

partisan d'un poeme court et concentr6, une breve 6vo-
45
cation close par un vers sonore et plein."45 Poe's theory

of the necessity of the calculated effect is clearly re-

iterated by Valdry in "Sur la technique litteraire."

.. La littdrature est l'art de
se jouer de l'ame des autres. C'est avec
cette brutality scientifique que notre
6poque a vu poser le problOme de l'esth4-
tique du Verbe, c'est-A-dire le problime
de la Forme.

Etant donn4 une impression, un
reve, une pensde, if faut l'exprimer de
telle maniere, qu'on produise dans 1'eme
d'un auditeur le maximum d'effet- et un
effet entierement calcul6 par 1'Artiste.
(0, I, 1809).

Valdry discusses several other points in "Sur la tech-

nique littdraire" which attest to his serious attention

to Poe's theory, including the importance of repetition

and frequent alliteration. These technical aspects will

be taken up later in the discussion of the variants of

the poem where they become important. In addition, con-

fidence in technique and the idea of a poet as a conscious

craftsman are ideas of Poe that definitely coincided with

Val6ry's own ideas on the creative act.









That there is an overlapping and a combination of

the theories of Poe and Mallarm6 behind Valery's "Narcisse

parole" is apparent in Val6ry's second letter to Mallarm6

written when he sent the poem to him. Already in his

first letter to Mallarmd, Val6ry had indicated the role

of Poe and the efficacy of the short poem in his own theory

of poetry:

Pour se faire en quelques mots connaltre,
il [Valdry] doit affirmer qu'il pr6fere
les poemes courts, concentr6s pour un
eclat final, ot les rythmes sont comme
les marches marmordennes de 1'autel que
couronne le dernier vers! non qu'il puisse
se vanter d'avoir r6alis6 cet id6al! Mais
c'est qu'il est profond6ment p4ndtrd des
doctrines savantes du grand Edgar Allan
Poe peut-etre le plus subtil artiste
de ce single! Ce nom seul suffira a
vous montger de quelle sorte est sa
Po4tique.

In the second letter to Mallarm4, Val6ry adds the following

on the subject of Poe:

Une devotion toute particuliere a Edgar
Poe me conduit alors A donner pour ro-
yaume au poete, l'analogie. II precise
l'dcho myst6rieux des choses, et leur
secrete harmonies, aussi r6elle, aussi
certain qu'un rapport math6matique A
tous esprits artistes, c'est-A-dire, et
come il sied, id6alistes violents....

That Valdry was also keenly aware of Mallarm6's theories

and sincerely appreciated the perfection of his poems is

obvious when he assigns to poetry the ability to explain

the world and underscores the important role of music

in poetry:


La podsie m'apparait come une
explication du Monde delicate et belle,










continue dans une musique singulire
et continuelle. Tandis que 'Art mita-
physique volt l'Univers construit d'
id6es pures et absolues, la peinture, de
couleurs, l'art po6tique sera de la con-
siddrer vetue de syllabes, organism en
phrases.

Consider@ en sa splendeur nue
et magique, le mot s'6live q la puissance
dl6mentaire d'unenote, d'une couleur,
d'un claveau de vote. Le vers se mani-
feste come un accord permettant l'intro-
duction des deux modes, ou 1'6pithEte
mystdrieuse et sacr6e, miroir des sou-
terraines suggestions, est come un
accompagnement prononc6 en sourdine....

Alors s'impose la conception
supreme d'une haute symphonie, unissant
le monde qui nous entoure au monde qui
nous hante, construite solon une rigou-
reuse architechtonique, arretant des
types simplifies sur fond d'or et d'azur,
et libdrant le porte du pesant secours
des banales philosophies, et des fausses
tendresses, et des descriptions ina-
nim6es... (0, I, 17,10).

In this letter, Valry is explaining what he had

hoped to suggest with his own poem "Narcisse parle:"

Pour une second fois, je viens
solliciter de vous un conseil, et
connaitre si quelques reveries esthe-
tiques accumul6es cet hiver en province
lointaine n'6taient pas aventureuses et
illusoires.

Un poeme public dans La Conque
sous le titre "Narcisse parole" les a
quelque peu indiqudes, mais l'experience
comme souvent s'est jou6e de la thdorie,
et me laisse immobile et perplexe (0, I,
1740).

He believes that Mallarmn alone has been able to reach

the ideal: "L'apris-midi du faune est seule en France a









realiser cet iddal esthftique... (0, I, 1740). Guy

Michaud, quite correctly, sees something of Mallarme's

faun in "Narcisse parole" but his emphasis is questionable

in the light of the importance of "Hfrodiade:" which will

be discussed later. Michaud remarks: "Si Valry

imite Mallarmd, c'est surtout le Mallarm6 du Faune, le

pokte du Midi, des chaleurs capiteuses et de la voluptd.

Narcisse n'dvoque-t-il pas le Faune, accompagn6 d'ara-

besques et de modulations sur la flute?"48

Valdry's second letter to Mallarm6, which has

been quoted here in some detail, was a summary of important

aspects of Mallarm6's own theories about poetry and a

fledgling poet's tribute to a master poet. At the time

of "Narcisse parle" art is almost a religion for Valery,

and he shares Mallarm6's expectations for poetry as the

means to an explanation of the world.49 Other aspects

of Mallarmd's theory and practice which impressed Valery

and reflected and enhanced his own thoughts and theories

were the emphasis on highly polished traditional forms

and the necessity for musicality, the use of difficult

syntax, and unusual words often employed in their etymo-

logical sense. The whole idea of poetry as an exploration

of and experiment on language appealed strongly to Val6ry

as well as Mallarmd's keen awareness of problems of tech-

nique and language as obstacles to be overcome.

In "Narcisse parle," in particular, there is a

Mallarmean "Tlan vers la puretd," an attempt to paint not









the thing but the effect that it produces" and to suggest

that the essence of things is behind the appearance. The

choice of the theme of Narcissus dramatizes the rejection

of the banal world and the demands of every day life.50

The vocabulary of "Narcisse parle" including words like

"fun6rale," "amdthyste," "saphir," etc. echoes the culti-

vated, obscure, rarefied language used by Mallarm4 in his
51
work.5

As Mondor suggests, Val6ry saw in Mallarm6 what

he felt the theories of Poe required.

Ce que Baudelaire avait 6crit
d'Edgar Poe, lui cclairait, depuis un
an, un ensorcelant id6al. Et voilA,
ddsormais, que Mallarme lui parassait
remplir tout a fait les conditions peu
communes Cnumdrees par Poe: une vision
impeccable du vrai, dft-elle &tre quel-
quefois impitoyable, une si exquise
d6licatesse des sens qu'une note fausse
les dut torturer, la finesse infaillible
du gout, enfin un amour du Beau pouss6
jusqu'A la passion tyrannique.

Valry, I vingt ans, venait de
se decouvrir le maitre attend. A 1'
oppose de ceux qui croient, au moment
d'dcrire, "a leur frdndsie subtile ou f
leur intuition extatique" lui aussi ne
se satisfaisait qu'apris d'inexorables
ratures et cent 6bauches et rebuts. Il
trouvait, dans les scrupules, les re-
prises et la plus lucide s6vdritd, 1'
heureuse promesse de se surpasser. En
ces exigences harassantes, le disciple
enthousiaste drcouvrait, sans_.isque
d'erreur, le meilleur de soi.

The entire scope of the Mallarm6/Valdry relation-

ship can not be detailed here where the prime concern is

"Narcisse parole A helpful introduction to this










complicated matter is Mondor's L'Heureuse Rencontre de

Valery et Mallarm6.53 However difficult it is to adequately

explain the range of Mallarme's real influence on Val6ry

and his work, given, among other things, Val6ry's contra-

dictory statements on this matter,54 it is clear, never-

theless, that the early Valery was deeply moved and even

tremendously awed by Mallarme's poetry, especially

"H@rodiade." Having been introduced to about eight lines

of it in A Rebours,55 he avidly and impatiently sought

more of it.

Vous etes bien fortune de poss@der
Mallarm6. Moi je grapille ses poemes
un peu partout. Quant A Herodiade,
je la recherche depuis deux anndes en
vain et je d6sespere de la lire. Quel
ennui que la province!56

Louys then sent him the section beginning "Oui, c'est

pour moi, pour moi que je fleuris, ddserte . ." to

"Herodiade au clair regard de diamant." (A little over

thirty lines.) Valery discusses his overall impression of

these lines in a letter to Gustave Fourment:

Ces poemes me font toujours songer a
ces perles que les poules d6daignaient!
... Ce qui fait leur splendeur sma-
ragdine, leur perfection et leur atti-
rance de gemmes, c'est qu'ils sont en
m@me temps comme elles, polls et
brillants et pourtant sans fond, inson-
dables, avec des dessous myst6rieuxKde
rives, de correspondances. II y a sous
ces vers des stages d'associations d'
iddes, des vocation multiples- le tout
sous une apparence dure et luisante,
obscure pour qui cherche avec son rai-
sonnement au lieu de trouver avec sa
reverie! La difficult vaincue est
immense, dtreindre aussi 6troitement des










visions confusdment tristes, conserver
sous le v6tement precis et lumineux 10
vague necessaire pour que l'apparition
puisse y circuler c'est dnorme! 6norme!57

Finally, Gide sent him more of the poem. Valdry was

overwhelmed and even more pointedly ashamed of his own

work. Referring to his Narcissus once again he wrote:

Herodiade m'hallucine, la glauque
Herodiade en l'or sinistre des flames
de ses cheveux, vitue comme d'un triste
et brulant faste qui embrase les miroirs.
Et je souffre, je saigne de pitie d'
avoir dans ce tiroir tant de stances in-
digentes et ce deplorable Narcisse. N'
avoir pas faith ces vers et faire des
vers! Et ce poeme supreme m'oppresse
comme un remords!t

It is known then that Valdry had access to at least some

fragments of Mallarmd's "Herodiade" when he wrote "Nar-

cisse parole" (probably two fragments, about thirty-eight

or forty lines in all). The cold bejeweled Hdrodiade who

blossoms for herself in an amethyste garden ("Oui, c'est

pour moi, pour moi que je fleuris, d6serte!/ Vous le

savez, jardins d'am6thyste . ")59 seems to have some

obvious echoes in "Narcisse parle." There is not only

the choice of the theme of Narcissus before the mirror

but the adoption of a vocabulary resplendant with words

like "saphirs," "am6thystes," "or," "gemme," "cristal,"

"glac6," and heavy with words like "meurs," "nu" and

nudity6." Lines like "Je t'adore, sous ces myrtes, o

l'incertain/ Chair pour la solitude close tristement/

Qui se mire dans le miroir au bois dormant," (where

closes" is a part of a series of flower and perfume images










including "calices" and "d'lices" also found in "HEro-

diade") are not unlike: "Et tout, atour de moi, vit dans

l'idolitrie/ D'un miroir qui reflhte en son calme dormant/

H6rodiade au clair regard de diamant . .60

Mondor, in fact, sees the eight lines first read

by Val6ry in A Rebours as the probable source of the poem:

Sept ou huit vers d'Herodiade, cites
dans son livre par Huysmans, s'4taient
aussitot imposes 5 le mdmoire de Paul
Valdry et lui 6taient devenus, pour
longtemps, legon elective, doux enle-
vement de l'dme. Se murmurer ce court
monologue l'enivrait immanquablement
et le theme de Narcisse, peut-etre, s'
insinua en son esprit grace a ces meme
vers.

He is referring to the lines from ". O miroir!/ Eau

froide par l'ennui dans ton cadre gelde" to "J'ai de mon

reve 6pars connu la nudity!" One of Gide's criticisms of

"Narcisse parle" is directed at just this aspect of the

poem: "'Ainsi, dans les roseaux harmonieux jetd' sent un
62
peu trop Herodiade au miroir soit dit en passant."

There can be no doubt that Mallarm6's "Herodiade"

affected the Val6ry of the period of "Narcisse parle."

To sum up the overall impression which Mallarme's work

made on him in this early period, Valdry's own words on

the subject are a revealing testament:

II me souvient comme je me suis
presque detachA d'Hugo et de Baudelaire
a dix-neuf ans, quand le sort sous les
yeux me mit quelques fragments d'H6ro-
diade; et Les Fleurs, et Le Cygne. Je
connaissais enfin la beauty sans prdtex-
tes, que j'attendais sans le savoir. Tout,










ici, ne reposait que sur la vertu
enchanteresse du language.

Je suis parti vers la mer
assez 6loigne, tenant les copies si
pr6cieuses que je venais de rece-
voir; et le soleil dans toute sa
force, la route dblouissante, et ni
l'azur, ni l'encens des plants bru-
lantes ne m'6taient rien, tant ces
vers inouis m'exergaient et me poss6-
daient au plus vivant de moi.63

Gide is the fourth and last figure to be studied

here as a force behind Val6ry's "Narcisse parole A

brief discussion of the relationship between Gide and Val6ry

is necessary to round out the influence factor so crucial to

an understanding of Valdry in this early formative period.64

The point of contact between Gide and Valry's "Narcisse

parole" is not merely the criticism related to "Hdrodiade"

alluded to above; yet there may be little or even no

actual internal evidence in "Narcisse parole" which can be

traced directly to Gide.65 On the other hand, a number of

factors are relevant in at least an external way. At the

time of "Narcisse parole" the friendship between Gide and

Valdry, which was in its first stages, seems to converge

at two main points: Mallarm4 and the theme of Narcissus.

As pointed out earlier, Gide generously copied long ex-

cerpts from Mallarme's work to send to Valdry who other-

wise would not have had access to them. When Valery was

undergoing the influence of Mallarm6, Gide was, too.

Depuis, tout est change, Mallarm6
surtout en est cause. II me semble
en l'aimant que je n'avais encore jamais










aim6 ni admire: c'est de moi en lui
une fusion 6perdue. II a fait tout
les vers que j'aurais rev6 de faire.

Flourishing in the same literary climate,67 both wrote,

at approximately the same time, a work about Narcissus

reflecting, in their own way, the prevailing literary

movement Symbolism. Gide's prose work, which he dedi-

cated to Valry,68 is entitled "Trait6 du Narcisse" and

has the subtitle "Th&orie du symbole."9

As dissimilar as the two works are, it is probable

that both had the same point of origin. Gide and Valdry

conversed seriously in the botanical garden at Montpellier

which Valdry cites as the origin of his "Narcisse parle."

Gide mentions this very place in his "Les Nourritures

terrestres" as J. J. Thierry points out in notes which

accompany the Pl6iade edition of "Le Traite du Narcisse."

C'est A Montpellier, oa Gide dtait all1
rejoindre son oncle Charles, que la
lgende de Narcisse leur inspira, f Paul
Valdry qu'il y avait rencontr6, et f lui-
mdme, deux de leurs plus purs chefs-
d'oeuvre. Le Jardin botanique de la cite
servit de cadre t des entretiens qu'une
entire communaut6 de vues disposait en
faveur du mythe. Gide a fait allusion,
dans ses Nouritures terrestres, f ce
dialogue: 'A Montpellier, le Jardin
botanique. [. .] Je me souviens
qu'avec Ambroise (Paul Valdry), un soir
comme aux jardins d'Academus, nous nous
assimes sur une tombe ancienne, qui est
tout entourde de cypres; et nous causions
lentement7 n machant des petales de
roses....'

The Gide/Val6ry correspondence indicates that

Gide finished his Traitd months after Valdry had finished










"Narcisse parole" for La Conque. In fact, if the dates

are correct in Lettres a quelques-uns,Val6ry had actually

sent Louys the version for La Conque in November but did

not meet Gide until December. On the other hand, the

letters dated by Gide (since Valery rarely dated letters)

in the Gide/Valery correspondence give the impression that

Valdry was still working on the poem in February. It was

published in March but to further complicate the problem

of dates, Valdry says in "Sur les 'Narcisse:'"

Au moment de composer le premier numdro
il me demand d'urgence un poeme. J'
ccrivis en deux jours le morceau inti-
tul Narcisse parle, ddveloppement du
sonnet don't il vient d'etre question.
Mais, la revue ne parut que six mois
apris. J'aurais prdfdrd avoir le temps
de travailler ce theme (p. 284).

Based on a letter from Gide to Val6ry on the 23rd

of June 1891, Thierry speaks of the indirect influence of

Valdry on Gide's Traite.

D'autre part, la Correspondance Gide-
Valdry rdvele de precieux indices sur
1'Tcriture du Narcisse, et sur 1'influence
indirecte exerc6e par Valery:
J'l6abore doucement le Traite du Narcisse,
don't je vous ai vaguement parley et que
sans vos paroles des soirs, je n'eusse
peut-etre pas ecrit ou pas vu tel tout
au moins.71

When it was finished, Gide sent his Narcisse to Valdry

just as Val6ry had sent "Narcisse parle" to him, but the

letters suggest that Valdry's written commentary on the
72
work was practically non-existent.72 Gide, on the other

hand, seems to have studied Valery's poem quite diligently.










Valdry had rather urgently requested his opinion of the

work.7 His remarks on the poem appear in a long letter

to Valdry dated March 1, 1891, referred to briefly already

in connection with Mallarm6's H1rodiade. While there

appears to be no concrete evidence that either author

directly influenced the other's Narcisse, it seems proba-

ble that Gide stimulated a few of the changes which Val6ry

made in the new version for the Album de vers anciens.

Looking closely at the two versions of the poem, it is

possible to get some idea of Valery's reaction to Gide's

criticism of the work.

The version Gide discusses was quoted earlier in

its entirety. Individual lines will be repeated here as

they are compared and contrasted with the new version.

The entire new version will be quoted when the analysis of

the two versions has been completed.

Gide begins his critique of "Narcisse parole" by

intimating that he has read the poem many times. He

states that he likes it but with reservations.

Et maintenant parlons d'autres choses:
je relis pour la ?eme fois votre Nar-
cisse: il me faut vous avouer que je
ne l'aime pas sans restrictions come
certaines autres de vos pieces, peut-
etre parce qu'un tel sujet trait@ par
vous promettait de plus lentes ddlices
et que certain vers exquis rappelaient
ces promesses et faisaient d6plorer leur
esseulement dans cette piece . .

Gide feels that the following lines from the poem are

exquisite:










J'entends les herbes d'or grandir dans l'ombre
sainte
...Si la fontaine claire est par la nuit 6teinte -
Mes lentes mains dans l'or adorable se lassent 75


and then he says, "et bien d'autres et surtout le

quatrain:


Adieu! reflet perdu sous l'onde came et close.
Narcisse, l'heure ultime est un tendre parfum
Au coeur suave. Effeuille aux mdnes du ddfunt
Sur ce glaque tombeau la fundrale rose.


Cela est parfait: il me plait de les dcrire encore et la

perfection de ceux-ci m'encourage aux critiques adja-

centes...."76

The lines Gide likes will be discussed first.

Of the lines mentioned above by Gide as exquisite, "J'

entends les herbes d'or grandir dans l'ombre sainte" has

received considerable scholarly attention, probably more

than any other line in the whole poem.

In an article entitled "Formules valryennes,"

Jean Hytier discusses the possible source or sources for

the basic idea expressed. He notes that the idea appears

in Racan and Malherbe and also finds its expression in

Baudelaire, Mallarm6, Wordsworth and Poe, among others.

In Poe, for example, he quotes the lines from "Al Aaraaf"

(Part II): "The murmur that springs/ From the growing of

grass." Hytier concludes, however, that Val6ry probably

got the idea from Chateaubriand, specifically chapter 13

on the "fete des Rogations" in Le G6nie du Christianisme.










He quotes the following:

On croit entendre de toutes parts les
bl6s germer dans la terre et les plants
croitre et se d6velopper; des voix
inconnues s'dlevent dans le silence des
bois, comme le choeur des anges champe-
tres don't on a implored le secours, et
les soupirs du rossignol parviennent L
l'oreille des vieillards assis non loin
des tombeaux.77

From the first version to the second, Valry

changes the line Gide liked so much only slightly from

"J'entends les herbes d'or grandir dans l'ombre sainte"

to "J'entends l'herbe d'argent grandir dans l'ombre

sainte."

Paul Pieltain, who admires the line as intensely

as Gide does, discusses the significance of the change

in an article devoted almost entirely to this one line

and its variants. Of the change from gold to silver, he

says:

Mais cette correction, inspire soit
par un souci de justesse (la nuit
tombe et la lune commence de luire),
soit par le d6sir de substituer A un
mot plus qu'a une couleur trop
cher au Val&ry 'symboliste' un terme
moins voyant, commandait que le nom
fOt mis au singulier; ainsi, les herbes
d'or, qui pouvaient tout aussi bien
Evoquer les bl6s ou encore de grandes
herbes sauvages ou s'attarderait le
soleil -, font place A l'herbe d'argent,
plus vague et ddjk plus myst6rieuse.78

As Pieltain points out more specifically later (p. 36),

the change from gold to silver is more in keeping with

the rising moonlight. It also gives the passage the sil-

very tint of Ovid's setting. The line is a subtle way










of conveying the approach of night and the rising of the

moon which is casting its silvery hue in lengthening

shadows as it moves across the grass and towards the water

where it will ultimately replace the image of Narcissus.

The line undergoes another change and reaches its final

form in the'"ragmerts du Narcisse"where it becomes:

"J'entends l'herbe des nuits croitre dans l'ombre sainte."

The second line Gide mentions: "Si la fontaine

claire est par la nuit 6teinte," Valery omits almost com-

pletely in the new version. Rather than an outright re-

jection of Gide's taste and appreciation, however, the

near total omission and change to: "Jusque dans les

secrets de la fontaine 6teinte" may be connected with the

problem of lighting which Gide brings up later in his

letter:

Pour en revenir au Narcisse, vous di-
rais-je encore que je regrette trop de
diversity d'impressions, ou mieux de
lumieres; cela manque un peu d'unit6
d'6clairage et l'on ne sait plus tres
bien, par suite d'une absence des om-
bres, d'ou vient le jour, la nocturne
clartd: de cette atmosphere un peu
trop gale (prenez cela la plus sym-
boliquement possible, ou ne le prenez
pas du tout) rdsulte une apparence un
peu fragmentaire; chaque vision parait
breve et module avant de s'dtre mdlo-
dieusement 6ploy6e; avec ce nombre de
vers, vous auriez pu, il me semble,
dvoquer de plus lentes images. J'ai
peur que vous ne vous soyez un peu
press pour l'6crire et si cela 6tait,
il vous faudrait prendre le courage de
le refaire, la piece en vaut le peine
[. .]79










Although Valery did not completely change the lighting

in the poem, it is obvious that he made some corrections

which while they may not speak directly to Gide's criti-

cism, nevertheless, do enhance and improve the poem.

So that the poem would have a chiaroscuro effect, Valdry

at first, may have been trying to emphasize openly the

antithesis, clair/obscur, for example, in such lines as:

"Car les hymnes du soleil s'en vont!../C'est le soir,"

and "Si la fontaine claire est par la nuit 6teinte."

Since in Valdry's poem, it is not merely or actually the

darkness which is the threat but rather the moonlight

itself which obliterates Narcissus' mirror reflection,

the problem is complicated. In the light of Gide's criti-

cism, Valdry may have decided to try a different approach

to the essentially three-pronged problem of the ending of

daylight, the coming of night and the obscuring of the

image by the moonlight. By completely omitting the line

about the sun, greatly changing the line Gide so admired,80

and by toning down or dimming other references to light as

in the change from "Une lumiere ondule encor, pdle ame-

thyste" to "Une tendre lueur d'heure ambigue existe,"81

there is not a continuous sharp, almost unnatural, con-

trasting of light and dark. The new approach is more

subtle and more logical since it marks the change from

waning day to twilight to full moonrise in a more gradual

and natural way. The reader is just as keenly aware of










the approaching night, however, and the impending doom

caused by the rising moon. Not mentioning the sun at all

can make its absence felt more strongly and reminds us of

Mallarm6's use of absence.

In addition to omitting the line about the sun,

the change from "or" to "argent" in the line already dis-

cussed ("J'entends l'herbe .... .") is a corresponding

corrective change in lighting. The grass touched by the

color "or" reminds the reader of the sunlight; colored

instead by "argent" the approaching moonlight is empha-

sized.

Much later in the poem the change to "Car la nuit

parle A demi-voix, proche et lointaine,"from "Car la Nuit

parole i demi-voix seule et lointaine" is a logical improve-

ment since the night is no longer something off in the

distance, it has come much closer. Although the calices

are full of shadows, there is a brief respite while the

moon is still behind the trees. "Car la nuit parle a

demi-voix, proche et lointaine,/ Aux calices pleins d'

ombres et de sommeils l6gers,/ Mais la lune s'amuse aux

myrtes allong6s." This will not last. It is a lie.

"L'heure menteuse est molle aux membres sur la mousse."

Finally, "Adieu, Narcisse...Meurs! Voici le crepuscule."

The moon is now mirrored in the water. A kiss is placed

on the "dead image" of Narcissus which the fog or mist

will soon bury in complete darkness.









Mais sur le froid mortel oO l'6toile s'allume,
Avant qu'un lent tombeau ne se forme de brume,
Tiens ce baiser qui brise un came d'eau fatal!



Val6ry has achieved a unity of lighting, answering, at

least in a general way, Gide's main criticism.

"Mes lentes mains dans l'or adorable se lassent"

is the third line which Gide praises. Valry not only

does not change it for the Album, it is also one of a

small number of lines that he uses again for the later

Narcissus poem,'Fragments du Narcisse," suggesting that

he, too, thought it was a good line.

One might question the use of "or" here immediately

after the line with silver "Voici mes bras d'argent don't

les gestes sont purs!.." Its effectiveness in terms of

sound can not be questioned since the "or" repeated in

"adorable" is harmonious. Also, "or" here seems to have

a value signification primarily, rather than a color or

lighting importance; that is, the metaphor for water is

gold because the image is so sought after and treasured.

Its use does not seem to be related to the lighting prob-

lem previously discussed and besides the moonlight has

not yet reached the water at this point.

Concerning the quatrain which Gide singles out

as perfect, Valdry makes, in effect, only minor changes.

It becomes:

Adieu, reflet perdu sur l'onde came et close,
Narcisse...ce nom meme est un tendre parfum
Au coeur suave. Effeuille aux manes du ddfunt
Sur ce vide tombeau la fundrale rose.









In the last line, there is the loss of the Mallarmean

"glauque"82 which is changed to videe." "Vide tombeau"

is more suggestive, in this case than "glauque tombeau,"

allowing for a double interpretation of the line. The

image reminds us that this is a lucid Narcissus who knows

that his image on the water, the videe tombeau" is empty,

so to speak, that his pursuit of it is in vain; but the

videe tombeau" also refers to the empty tomb of Narcissa

which would be less apparent with the watery colored ad-

jective "glauque."

In addition to this fairly minor substitution,

the second line of the quatrain is changed only slightly

but quite dramatically from "Narcisse, l'heure ultime est

un tendre parfum" to "Narcisse...ce nom meme est un tendre

parfum." This is part of a general trend, similar to the

lighting improvements, to tighten up aspects of the poem

to achieve greater unity. The new line is now linked by

its connotations with a series of flower and scent images

which run like a leitmotif through the poem hinting at

Narcissus' transformation into a flower. The juxta-

position of the adjectives "tendre" and "suave," which

would more normally be written tender heart and sweet per-

fume, is a felicitous chiasmus uniting the Narcissus who

looks at himself in the reflecting pool with the image of

the flower he will become.

The next line to which Gide refers is the line

alluded to previously: "'Ainsi, dans les roseaux harmonieux










jete' sent un peu trop H'rodiade au miroir soit dit

en passant."83 Val6ry changes the line slightly to "Et

moil De tout mon coeur dans ces roseaux jete." This

seems to be part of an overall increase of first person

references made throughout the new version. This type

of change has been observed by Whiting who sees it as an

attempt to correct a weakness of emotion which he finds

in the early version.84

Gide's most serious criticism seems to be leveled

at the line: "Que je deplore ton eclat fatal et pur"

which he finds beneath Valdry.85 Valdry, trusting his

own poetic judgment over Gide's in this case, not only

does not change this line, he uses it again, intact, in

the'Tragments du Narcisse." There may be a special reason

for the retention of this particular line which is used

not only in the version for La Conque, the Album and the

"Fragments,'but is, also, the first line of the three

original sonnets. Could it be that this is the verss

donned the one given line on which Valdry must build the

rest?86 Acknowledgement of the occasional free line given

by the Muses is one of a few, small concessions to inspira-

tion which are found in Valdry's poetics.

Les dieux, gracieusement, nous donnent
pour rien tel premier vers; mais c'est
L nous de fagonner le second, qui doit
consonner avec l'autre, et ne pas etre
indigne de son ain6 surnaturel. Ce
n'est pas trop de routes les resources
de l'expdrience et de i'esprit pour le
rendre comparable au vers qui fut un
don.87










In addition to the possible influence of Gide on

certain aspects of the second version of "Narcisse parole "

there are broader and more important questions posed by

the two main versions of the poem. Besides the lines

already studied, what else did Valery change and why?

What do these changes or lack of changes reveal about his

theory of poetry?

Only eighteen of the original fifty-three lines

were reused unchanged by Valdry for the revised version

of "Narcisse parole If punctuation changes are also

taken into account, then only eight of the original fifty-

three are absolutely the same in the 1920 version as they

were in the 1890 version. The only lines which did not

change in any way at all were:

Et la lune perfide 6leve son miroir

Que je deplore ton 6clat fatal et pur

O puiserent mes yeux dans un mortel azur

Mes lentes mains dans l'or adorable se lassent
D'appeler ce captif que les feuilles enlacent,

Au coeur suave. Effeuille aux manes du ddfunt

Mais la lune s'amuse aux myrtes allong6s.

Chair pour la solitude close tristement


If the record is correct, however, the poem

recited by Valdry in 1941 during his lecture "Sur les

'Narcisse'" was the new version. It appears that Valdry

felt that the new version was not significantly different

from the old one overall because immediately after he










finished reciting the poem, he said:

A cinquante ans de distance, ce premier
Narcisse me parait aujourd'hui un sp6ci-
men de ce que j'aurais probablement fait
en matiere de podsie si'j'avais continue
A la pratiquer au lieu de m'en carter
et de poursuivre dans de toutes autres
voies la formation de mon esprit. Ce
poeme demeure pour moi un premier etat
caractdristique de mon iddal et de mes
moyens de ce temps-lA (p. 287).

Out of fifty-three lines, however, considerably more than

one-half were modified. About twenty lines were changed

completely. Approximately fifteen were partially altered.

In addition, five completely new lines were added so that

the total number of lines in the new version was fifty-

eight not fifty-three. Nevertheless, Walzer does not feel

that there is a major difference between the two versions

either:

Mais enfin, malgrd ces heureuses rdvi-
sions, malgrd les transformations
apportees A la conclusion et les cinq
vers ajoutes a la version definitive,
le texte de 1'Album ne differe pas
essentiellement ni par le propos ni
par la forme, du texte donned par la
Conque.88

The new version may not be a different poem, but

it is a thorough modification of the old version and a

definite improvement. The Album version has more unity.

It is clearer and flows more logically than the old one.

Networks of images such as those of light and flowers,

already referred to, are much more tightly organized.

The once very subliminal theme of poetry is subtly ampli-

fied. A sharpening of certain poetic techniques is









noticeable. There is an increase in alliteration. Har-

monious words and sound repetitions are made, expanding

greatly the internal rhyme. In addition, more effective

use of enjambement can be observed, for example,

Et d'un reste du jour me forme un fiance 89
Nu, sur la place pale oO m'attire l'eau triste...

Moreover, the poem is made more personal, less an abstract

meditation, by the proliferation of first person pronoun

references. Still another modification involves the lapi-

dary vocabulary. It is not so excessive.

The new version of the poem, as an early example

of Valdry's return to poetry, shows the painstaking efforts

of a more conscious and less rushed artist, even more keen-

ly interested in technique and poetic effect than he had

been earlier, trying new solutions and substitutions for

poetic problems.

Specific examples of some of the more significant

changes mentioned above follow, demonstrating Valery's

serious, but often subtle, attempts to improve the poem.

The changes made were as minor as the modifica-

tions in line three from: "Et, vers vous, Nymphes!

nymphes, nymphes des fontaines" to "Et vers vous, Nymphe,

Nymphe, 6 Nymphe des fontaines," or as dramatic as the

substitution of a completely new line like: "Je me

d6lie en vain de ta presence douce," for "0 chair d'ado-

lescent et de princess douce!" The new line is an

example of the increase in first person usage and an










attempt to amplify sound harmony and repetition since

"vain" is now repeated in the poem three times and "dl6ie"

blends effectively with "d6lice" which appears two lines

later in "Et d'un sombre d6lice enfle le vent profound "

The complete omission of the old line with its possible

androgynous reference reduces the ambiguity of the poem,

perhaps to its detriment.

Increased alliteration can be seen in the follow-

ing changes where lines numbered 1 will refer to the early

version and lines numbered 2 will refer to the new version.

1 A travers ces bois bleus et ces lys fraternels
2 A travers les bois bleus et les bras fraternels,

1 Pale amithyste! 6 miroir du songe insens6!
completely replaced by 90
2 D6licieux d6mon, desirable et glace!

1 L'heure menteuse est molle au reve sur la
mousse
2 L'heure menteuse est molle au membres sur la
mousse

Increased alliterative sounds also appear in:

2 L'espoir seul peut suffire a rompre ce cristal.

where the "s" sounds imitate the whispering sigh which

will ripple the water. The line had been harsher sounding:

1 Caresse don't l'espoir ondule ce crystal!

There are several additional examples of alliteration

where only two words are involved; for example,

2 Nu, sur la place pale oh m'attire 1'eau triste...

and:

1 Tiens ce baiser nocturne et tendrement fatal,
2 Tiens ce baiser qui brise un came d'eau fatal!










1 Assez pour deviner la-bas le Fianc6
2 Et d'un reste du jour me forme un fiance

Further technical improvements are found, such

as augmented internal rhyme and clever word repetitions

which echo again and again as the poem develops. The

echo can be as simple as the repetition of the end sound

of "ravisse" duplicated three lines later in "Evanouissez"

or as sustained as the sound of the word "eau" repeated

four times as the word "eau" but reverberating also in

words like "beautV" (twice), "tombeau" (twice), "tropeaux"

roseaux,"91 "chos," not to mention the many "o's" as in

"O freres . ." But the repetition of sounds and

words (as Poe prescribed) are too numerous to detail here.

A few more will be mentioned as they occur in lines cited

for other reasons.

Another fairly striking aspect of the new version

is a marked movement away from "les tresors du language

des lapidaires."

1 Saphir antique et fontaine magicienne
2 Je ne sais plus aimer que l'eau magicienne

1 Une lumiere ondule encore, pale am6thyste
2 Une tendre lueur d'heure ambigue existed 2

1 Pale am6thyste! o miroir du songe insens6!
2 Dl6icieux demon, desirable et glac6!93

1 Sur la livre de gemme en l'eau more, 6 pieuse
2 Mais sur le froid mortel oi l'dtoile s'allume,

The line which replaced "Saphir antique .

begins with "Je." A number of references have already

been made to the fact that the poem was made to seem more










personal by just such an increase in the use of the first

person. Related to this type of change are the personal

and possessive pronouns in the new lines which Valdry

added to the poem.

2 Au soupir de mon coeur mon apparence ondule,

2 La ride me ravisse au souffle qui m'exile

2 Et que mon souffle anime une flute gracile

2 Dont le joueur leger me serait indulgent!...

Lighting improvements were discussed in the

section on Gide, and flower images have been mentioned in

several places. One more example of Valery's ability to

make an image more suggestive by means of a slight adjust-

ment, with the result that it becomes more closely linked

to the other flower and scent images, is the change from

"Aux calices pleins d'ombre pale et si l4gers," to "Aux

calices pleins d'ombre et de sommeils legers." The

new line is a subtle reminder of the soporific power of

the Narcissus flower, thereby resulting in a further allu-

sion to the metamorphosis of Narcissus.

Increased attention to imagery makes one of the

underlying themes clearer too. The theme of poetic

creation, once almost totally obscure, is greatly enhanced

in the new version. The addition of "Et que mon souffle

anime une flute gracile/ Dont le joueur94 16ger me serait

indulgent!..." plus the modification of "Et puis, verse

pour la lune, flute isolde,/ Verse des pleurs lointains










en des urnes d'argent," to "Et, toi,.verse a la lune,

humble flute isol6e,/ Une diversity de nos larmes d'

argent," certainly increases the likelihood that the

theme of poetry is meant to be suggested. The flute can

be seen as the symbol of the voice of the poet pouring

out his beautifully emotive lines reimmortalizing the

tragic plight of Narcissus and the equally poetic story

of Narcissa as well as lamenting the fugitiveness of

beauty. The tears stand for poems. This equation can

be made even in the earlier line: "Je viens au pur si-

lence offrir mes larmes vaines."

Moreover, the addition of the lines "Un grand

came m'6coute, oi j'dcoute l'espoir/ La voix des sources

change et me parle du soir;" for "Car les hymnes du soleil

s'en vont!/ C'est le soir," may be related to Valery's

concept of "attente" and other aspects of the poetic pro-

cess which he discusses in a complex passage in "Calepin

d'un poete:"

Ainsi le po@te en function est
une attente. Il est une modification
dans un home, qui le fait sensible
a certain terms de son propre d6veloppe-
ment: ceux qui rdcompensent cette attente
pour 6tre conformes a la convention. Ii
restitue ce qu'il d4sirait. Il restitue
de quasi-mdcanismes qui soient capable
de lui rendre 1'energie qu'ils lui ont
coat6e et meme plus (car ici les prin-
cipes sont en apparence violds). Son
oreille lui parole.

Nous attendons le mot inattendu
et qui ne peut etre prdvu, mais attend.
Nous sommes le premier A l'entendre.










Entendre? mais c'est parler.
On ne comprend la chose entendue que
si on l'a dite soi-meme au moyen d'une
cause autre.

Parler, c'est entendre [. .]

Le silence et l'attention sont
incompatible. II faut que le courant
soit ferm6.

Crder done l'esp@ce de silence
f laquelle r6pond le beau. Ou le vers
pur, ou l'id6e lumineuse... (0, I, 1448-
49)

The ideas expressed in the preceding passage are some-

what cryptic, but they seem to be rendered poetically by

the four lines:

Je viens au pur silence offrir mes larmes vaines.

Un grand came m'6coute, ou j'6coute 1'espoir.
La voix des sources change et me parole du soir;
J'entends l'herbe d'argent grandir dans l'ombre
sainte,

Narcissus, in a state of expectation analogous to "attente,'95

has approached the kind of pure silence which speaks and

to which the beautiful responds.

Obviously, not all of the many modifications made

by Valdry in the second version have been elaborated upon

here. Other categories of changes include numerous varia-

tions in punctuation, most of them fairly minor. One over-

all statement can be made about punctuation. There is

definitely an increase in punctuation from the first to

the second version. Generally speaking, this is a move-

ment toward greater transparency. Being aware of one

deletion, however, is helpful.










1 Je t'adore, sous ces myrtes, 6 l'incertaine!
2 Je t'adore, sous ces myrtes, 6 l'incertaine

The new version is syntactically more difficult but

probably more suggestive as it now runs into the next

line: "Chair pour la solitude close tristement." It

is, therefore, not just "6 l'incertaine!" but "o l'incert-

aine Chair [qui est] pour la solitude close tristement."

Numerous preposition changes have also been made

for the second version. None are so dramatic as the

famous change in "Palme" where the new preposition gives

the line a completely opposite meaning: "D6partage avec

mystere" became "D6partage sans myst6re." One slightly

similar change:

1 Adieu! reflet perdu sous l'onde came et close,
2 Adieu, reflet perdu sur l'onde came et close,

One last relevant element of the poem needs to

be examined. Epithets, considered essential by Valery,
96
are extremely common in both versions. Many stay the

same in both versions, such as, tristee lys," "larmes

vaines," lunee perfide," "fleurs humides," "pleurs 6ter-

nels," "coeur suave," etc. Some are lost: "roseaux har-

monieux," "saphir antique," "pale am6thyste," "fontaine

ironique," "heure ultime." New ones are added, for ex-

ample, "froid mortel," "eau fatale," "flite gracile,"

"pur silence," etc.

Once Valdry quoted Voltaire on the subject of

poetry and agreed with him:









Voltaire a dit merveilleusement bien
que "la Po6sie n'est faite que de
beaux dEtails." Je ne dis autre chose.
L'univers po6tique don't je parlais s'
introduit par le nombre ou, plut6t,
par la density des images, des figures,
des consonances, dissonances, par 1'
enchainement des tours et des rythmes
[. ] (0, I, 1502).

Val6ry also said that there is no need to point out to

women that beauty demands laborious assistance, exqui-

site care, and long consultations before the mirror and

that likewise, the poet looks at his work on the page and

retouches, here and there, the original face of his

poem.7 Here is the complete second version of "Narcisse

parle," an improvement over the first and a testament to

Val6ry's determination concerning the necessity of re-

vision and the beauty of details.


0 FRERES! tristes lys, je languis de beaute98
Pour m'6tre d6sird dans votre nudity,
Et vers vous, Nymphe, Nymphe, 6 Nymphe des fon-
taines,
Je viens au pur silence offrir mes larmes vaines.

Un grand came m'4coute, ou j'4coute 1'espoir.
La voix des sources change et me parle du soir;
J'entends 1'herbe d'argent grandir dans l'ombre
sainte,
Et la lune perfide Cl6ve son miroir
Jusque dans les secrets de la fontaine 6teinte.

Et moi! De tout mon coeur dans ces roseaux jet6,
Je languis, o saphir, par ma triste beauty!
Je ne sais plus aimer que 1'eau magicienne
Oi j'oubliai le rire et la rose ancienne.

Que je deplore ton eclat fatal et pur
Si mollement de moi fontaine environn4e,
Oi puiserent mes yeux dans un mortel azur
Mon image de fleurs humides couronn6e!


L









H6las! L'image est vaine et les pleurs Eternels!
A travers les bois bleus et les bras fraternels,
Une tendre lueur d'heure ambiguo existe,
Et d'un reste du jour me forme un fiance
Nu, sur la place pale ot m'attire l'eau triste...
D6licieux demon, desirable et glac6!

Voici dans l'eau ma chair de lune et de rose,
O forme ob6issante a mes yeux oppose!
Voici mes bras d'argent don't les gestes sont
purs!..
Mes lentes mains dans l'or adorable se lassent
D'appeler ce captif que les feuilles enlacent,
Et je crie aux 6chos les noms des dieux obscurs!...

Adieu, reflet perdu sur l'onde came et close,
Narcisse... ce nom meme est un tendre parfum
Au coeur suave. Effeuille aux manes du d6funt
Sur ce vide tombeau la fundrale rose.

Sois, ma levre, la rose effeuillant le baiser
Qui fasse un spectre cher lentement s'apaiser,
Car la nuit parle A demi-voix, proche et lointaine,
Aux calices pleins d'ombre et de sommeils l6gers.
Mais la lune s'amuse aux myrtes allong6s.

Je t'adore, sous ces myrtes, 6 l'incertaine
Chair pour la solitude Aclose tristement
Qui se mire dans le miroir au bois dormant.
Je me ddlie en vain de ta presence douce,
L'heure menteuse est molle aux membres sur la
mousse
Et d'un sombre d6lice enfle le vent profound.

Adieu, Narcisse...Meurs! Voici le cr6puscule.
Au soupir de mon coeur mon apparence ondule,
La flute, par l'azur enseveli module
Des regrets de troupeaux sonores qui s'en vont.
Mais sur le froid mortel ou 1'6toile s'allume,
Avant qu'un lent tombeau ne se forme de brume,
Tiens ce baiser qui brise un came d'eau fatal!
L'espoir seul peut suffire A rompre ce cristal.
La ride me ravisse au souffle qui m'exile
Et que mon souffle anime une flte gracile
Dont le joueur leger me serait indulgent!...

Evanouissez-vous, divinity trouble!
Et, toi, verse a la lune, humble flute isolde.
Une diversity de nos larmes d'argent (0, I, 82-83).



Taking "Narcisse parle" apart and looking quite











carefully at both versions has demonstrated its richness

and underscored a number of Valery's technical preoccupa-

tions. Now that the poem has been put back together in

its revised form, it is necessary to make some observa-

tions about it as a whole.

While "Narcisse parole" has often been recognized

as, at least, a minor masterpiece and as a representative

example of Valery's early poetry, even by Val&ry himself,

it has not often been analyzed in detail. Charles Whiting

does one of the few fairly detailed studies of the poem,

a chapter in his book length study of the early versions

of the poems of the Album de vers anciens. Although he

concentrates primarily on the early form of the poem,

nevertheless, it is interesting to see how he looks at the

poem and what he understands it to mean.

Whiting studies the poem from the point of view

of the theme of purity which he sees as an underlying

theme of the early poems. He says of "Narcisse parle:"

L'importance de Narcisse parle est de
montrer que cette puret6 se trouve
en soi et que la grande affaire est de
l'apprdhender en soi-meme [...]. Val6ry
6tait trop conscient de ses defauts
pour s'interesser ici A lui-meme, tel
quel. Il pr6f6rait distinguer cette
petite parties de lui-meme qui 6tait
le "Dieu." En outre, cette conscience
aigue de ses propres ddfauts semble
expliquer aussi pouquoi Narcisse parle
est plus une lamentation qu'une re-
cherche active de la puret6. Le point
est important, car il 6claire tout le
poeme, et A travers le poeme un aspect










de la jeunesse de Valery. Dans
Narcisse parole, Narcisse a, en effet,
abandonnd la recherche de son image.
Il est sans espoir (ainsi les "larmes
vaines" du debut) et il ne fait que
languir. L'6pigraphe pour apaiser
les manes de Narcisse l'atteste.
Narcisse est venu se lamenter devant
le tombeau de son id6al.99

He finds the explanation for the attitude expressed in the

poem in Val6ry's personal life and letters. He sees in

the poem the expression of a moment of despair and sup-

ports his thesis by quoting a portion of a letter to Gide

which he says was written less than fifteen days before

Val6ry wrote the poem:

Je languis aupres du
feu en attendant ce qui ne viendra pas.
Heureusement les journees s'ecoulent.

Les projects, des fois, s'
illuminent dans l'obscurite de mon
ennui, come des palais enchants. J'
entends mes vers chanter et luire sans
pouvoir les saisir et les garder...
Ils s'envolent! Les palais s'ecroulent,
et je languis encore aupres du feu,
mortellemnt.100

On the other hand, Pierre Michel, who analyzes

the poem in Valery, L'Ecrivain symboliste et hermdtique,

has a much more optimistic interpretation of the poem.

He says: "Dans l'Album, Narcisse est un bel 6ph@be,

frere des jeunes h6ros de Virgile et de Ch6nier, qui

medite devant la fontaine. Il souffre de ne plus con-

naitre les plaisirs de la vie, de l'amour, d'etre devenue

le prisonnier de la source." 10 He recognizes, as Whiting

did, that this Narcissus knows that his efforts are in











vain but he adds:

Mais cette peine n'est pas sans con-
solations: la nature et la po6sie
charment son existence vaine, l'une
par la beauty de ses spectacles aux
nuances subtiles, 1'autre par ses
plaisirs savants: de m6me que le
Faune mallarmden goOtait dans la
creation poetique une joie plus in-
tense que dans la possession physique,
de meme Narcisse s'enivry Oe sa mdlodie
et de sa beaut ...

Concerning the ending, he feels that the twilight which

puts an end to the enchantment is not hostile because

it is accompanied by the song of the flute. Even the

fog which will bury the image is not an ominous sign

because it is not a true death since the next day "l'azur

permettra une nouvelle contemplation . Con-

sequently, he concludes that the ending of the poem is

optimistic.

La conclusion de 1'6glogue, come celle
de 1'Apris-midi d'un faune, est done
optimist: la podsie avec ses m6lo-
dies, ses correspondances, ses artifices
savants, son language secret, d6tourne
Narcisse de l'action et de la passion;
elle fait de lui un 6tre a part, qui
m6prise le matdrialisme de son 6poque
et trouve, provisoirement, 1'expression
de son Moi dans la symphonies que consitue
un po1me.04

Whiting, who contends that the new ending is

intellectual and cold,105 feels that the early version

conveyed the idea that Narcissus was consoled by the

beauty of the evening.106 While both studies are helpful

on some points, the problem may be that they are trying to

read too much into the poem. Even in the second version,









which is much more tightly organized than the first, there

is a vagueness which permeates the poem. This seemingly

intentional obscurity heightens the poem's evocative power

and adds to its charm. The poem raises certain questions

which probably can not be answered definitively but allow

for alternate possible interpretations. For instance, has

Narcissus already been transformed into a flower when the

poem begins? The first words are: "0 freres! tristes

lys .... ." And the possibility that Narcissus is indeed

a flower holds until the fifth stanza where the word

"chair" is mentioned. Even here, however, the impression

can not completely be discounted since the "chair" is of

moon and dew. The flower could be colored by moonlight

and covered with dew just as well as the flesh of Narcissus

could be. Ultimately, there is no need to determine for

sure, just as it does not matter exactly why the flower men-

tioned is a lily and not the narcissus flower. Of course,

the lily obviously blends harmoniously with the other

symbols of purity and beauty representing the ideal. It

probably is not even crucial that the reader see that the

flute metaphor and related images suggest the theme of

poetic creation. "Narcisse parle" is a vague, lovely im-

pression, the expression of "un 6tat d'ame" where beauty

is envisioned, almost apprehended, and then it vanishes.

The poem, written at the dawn of Valdry's poetic career,

remains to suggest the ideal and perpetuate the mood.

To quote Valery, the following, although stated in










another context in a slightly different form, describes

"Narcisse parole" "la meditation d'un certain moi, trans-

port6e dans l'univers po6tique [ .]" (0, I, p. 1505).

The ambiguities in the poem are a reminder that the poem

is not an attempt to tell a story, especially not the tale

told by Ovid. Valery felt that the more poetry could be

reduced to prose, the less it was poetry. It is beauty

and poetry that are important here. Valdry could have

been talking about himself and some of his own aims and

even "Narcisse parle" when he described the Symbolist

period as follows:

Un expos des tentatives de cette
6poque demanderait un travail syst6ma-
tique. Rarement plus de ferveur, plus
de hardiesse, plus de recherches thdo-
riques, plus de savoir, plus de pieuse
attention, plus de disputes ont 6td, en
si peu d'anndes, consacrds au problem
de la beauty pure (0, I, 1272).

He goes on to say that the problem of pure beauty was

approached from all sides and that language being a com-

plex thing, its many sided nature allowed for a diversity

of attempts. "Narcisse parole" seems to be an expression

of a combination of these methods:

Certains, qui conservaient les formes
traditionnelles du Vers frangais, s'
6tudiaient a l1iminer les descriptions,
les sentences, les moralit6s, les prd-
cisions arbitraires; ils purgeaient
leur podsie de presque tous ces 61ements
intellectuals que la musique ne peut
exprimer. D'autres donnaient A tous
les objets des significations infinies
qui supposaient une m6taphysique cache.
Ils usaient d'un ddlicieux materiel










ambigu. Ils peuplaient leurs pares
enchants et leurs sylves 6vanescentes
d'une faune tout id6ale. Chaque chose
6tait allusion; rien ne se bornait L
etre; tout pensait, dans ces royaumes
orn4s de miroirs; ou, du moins, tout
semblait penser... (0, I, 1272-73).

In the final analysis Valery will emerge as his

own man, an original and independent thinker and poet,

but during this early formative period when "Narcisse

parole" was written, Valdry was subject to outside in-

fluences. As a result, "Narcisse parole" can be labeled,

as it has been in this study, a Symbolist poem.

With "Narcisse parle," Valdry rejected the Nar-

cissus myth as told by Ovid. His poem does not reflect

the preoccupations of the Middle Ages vis-a-vis the Nar-

cissus myth either, because it is not didactic. There is

no moralizing in Valery's poem; there are no warnings, no

mention of the "vanitas" theme and no development of the

crime and punishment motif so common in the poems which

mention Narcissus during the Middle Ages. Although Valrry's

"Narcisse parle" does not make use of traditional aspects

of the Narcissus myth, it is, paradoxically, the least

original of his Narcissus works. The reason for this is

that it is schooled in Symbolism in the way it utilizes

the Narcissus myth, in vocabulary, in setting, and in

general aims.

While Valery's poem does not seem to have Creuzer's

sense of: Narcissus as a symbol which in a mystic way









reveals the fate of the human soul as the prisoner of
107
matter, deceived by a beautiful illusion, there is

something in "Narcisse parle" of Michaud's concept of

the Symbolist poem haunted by the myth of Narcissus

. . moins par une introversion complaisante que pour

tenter de saisir et de fixer, au delA des formes fugitives

leur propre essence."108

The inclusion of the suggestion of the theme of

poetic creation also helps to place the poem squarely in

the symbolist tradition. Narcissus, in this period, is

seen as a symbol of the creative artist. He is also seen

as the symbol of self-awareness. Val6ry's Narcissus in

"Narcisse parle," however, does not seem to be engaged

in a serious "connaisance de soi" attempt, but is instead

an archetype of beauty, meditating in a landscape beyond

reality and lamenting the fugitiveness of ideal beauty;

consequently, he is a typical symbolist hero.

Tied in with the Symbolist/decadent milieu and

Val6ry and "Narcisse parle" are the four important literary

figures discussed in detail in this study: Gide, Huysmans,

Mallarm6 and Poe. While the influence of Gide and Huys-

mans must not be discounted, more important is the clear

debt Valry owes to Mallarm6 and Poe during this early

period. Having established already that "Narcisse parle"

was definitely modeled on the poems and poetic aims of

Mallarm6 and the techniques and theories of Poe, the ques-

tion of their influence can be resolved further and put










into a larger perspective by focusing on the insight

which Mallarm6 and Poe offered Val6ry into the workings

of the mind. Val6ry touched on this specifically when he

said:

Il est exact, et presque mieux
qu'exact, que Leonard, que Poe,
que Mallarm6 ont fortement agi sur
moi a l1'ge ol se fixent, en general,
l'objet, le champ, les conditions de
notre volont6 d'action int6rieure.
Les oeuvres de ces homes m'ont
sdduit, domind, et,-comme il convient,
d6sesp6r6: le beau est ce qui dd-
sespere. Mais leur prise sur moi fut
moins celle de leurs productions meme
que de l'id6e qu'elles m'imposaient
de leurs auteurs. J'imaginais des
esprits, ce qui me conduisait a
imaginer l'esprit, A quoi j'ai d6pens6
le meilleur de mon temps [. .]. En
v6rit6, une oeuvre qui m'intdresse
profond6ment est une oeuvre qui m'
excite a me figure le systame vivant
et pensant qui l'a produite (0, II,
1537).

Ultimately, Valery viewed the whole range of his preoccu-

pations, even as they related to poetry, in terms of his

main concern: the study of the mind. Val6ry discovered

that looking outward at others and their works was just

another means of looking inward in order to understand

the workings and problems of the mind, his own above all.

This attitude towards the influence and insight provided

him by the study of seminal minds like Mallarm6's and Poe's

is an extension of his own brand of introspective Narcissism

which can not help but make us more aware that the Nar-

cissus myth as Valdry used it has the function of a










catalyst structuring his whole life and work. It is not

surprising, therefore, that Valery saw his Narcissus works

as a kind of autobiographiese podtique."

"Narcisse parole" is a representative example of

Val6ry's early work, the reflection of a particular period

and even a specific school of poetry, and, as Valery him-

self indicated, the poem closest to his ideal from this

early period. It constitutes the first chapter in Val6ry's

"autobiographie po6tique." From its early sonnet forms

through its publication in La Conque, and its revision for

the Album, "Narcisse parle" reveals Val6ry's poetic pre-

occupations and the tenets of his poetic theory.

Although the famous crisis night of October or

November 1892 was the climax, the publication of "Narcisse

parle" in 1891 and Val6ry's disappointment with it and

other aspects of poetry, were a turning point for Valdry,

the emerging poet, leading to an outward renunciation of
109
poetry0 and a more definite and determined turn to the

study of the processes of thought. Valdry did not return

to poetry until about 1912 or 1913 when, at the urging

of Gide and the publisher Gallimard, he began the revision

of his early poems for publication. This work of revision

which included the rewriting of "Narcisse parole" led to

the composition of the masterpiece La Jeune Parque and

ultimately resulted in the mature poetic period of Charmes

of which"Fraements du Narcisse"is an integral part. This





75




second major work on Narcissus which has lines in it

taken intact from "Narcisse parole will be studied

next for confirmation of Valiry's early theories about

poetry and their development. "Fragments du Narcisse"

enables us to determine what Val6ry discovers and what

he rejects about poetry in the second stage of his

autobiographiese po6tique."











NOTES


"'Sur les 'Narcisse,'" p. 287.

2Letter from Mallarm6 to Valery quoted in Henri
Mondor, L'Heureuse Rencontrede Val6ry et Mallarm6 (Lausanne:
La Guilde du Livre, 1947), p. 86.

3Grubbs, p. 19.

Agnes MacKay, The Universal Self, A Study of
Paul Valdry (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1961),
p. 31.

5Andre Berne-Joffroy, Presence de Valery, pr6c6de
de Propos me concernant par Paul Val6ry (Paris:
Librairie Plon, 1944), p. 184.

6pierre-Olivier Walzer, La Poesie de Valdry
(Genbve: Slatkine reprints, 1966), p. 95.

7Walzer, pp. 89-90. Also in 0, I, 1558.

8These early versions of "Narcisse parle" will be
referred to again when the variants of the two major
versions of the poem are analyzed in detail.

9"Sur les 'Narcisse,'" pp. 283-290.

10"Sur les 'Narcisse,'" pp. 283-84.

11These sonnets and information concerning them
may be found in "Notes et Documents" in Correspondance
de Paul Valery et de Gustave Fourment 1887-1933, ed.
Octave Nadal (Paris: Gallimard, 1957), pp. 211-216.

12"Sur la technique litt6raire" in 0, I, 1809.

13Also in "Calepin d'un poote," 0, I, 1454.

14"De la diction des vers," 0, II, 1254.

15Letter from Val6ry to Andr4 Gide, 1 February
1891, Correspondance d'Andr6 Gide et de Paul Valery
1890-1942, Pr6face et Notes par Robert Mallet (Paris:
Gallimard, 1955), p. 48. Hereafter cited as Correspon-
dance Gide-Val6ry. (Evidence indicates that Gide who
added the date to this letter may have dated it incor-
rectly.)










160, I, 1552-53. Appeared first in La Conque,
15 March 1891, pp. 4-5.

17Correspondance Gide-Valtry, p. 54.

18Valery discusses a similar circumstance related
to the "Cimetiere marin," an example of his theory that
a poem is never finished but instead abandoned: "Une
aprbs-midi de l'an 1920, notre ami tres regrett6, Jacques
Rivibre, 6tant venu me faire visit, m'avait trouvd
dans un '6tat' de ce Cimetiere marin, songeant A reprendre,
A supprimer, A substituer, A intervenir ga et 1A... Il
n'eut de cesse qu'il n'obtint de le lire; et l'ayant lu,
qu'il ne le ravit. Rien n'est plus d4cisif que l'esprit
d'un directeur de revue. C'est ainsi que par accident
fut fixde la figure de cet ouvrage. Il n'y a point de
mon fait. Du rest, je ne puis en general revenir sur
quoi que ce soit que j'aie ccrit que je ne pense que j'en
ferais tout autre chose si quelque intervention 6trangere
ou quelque circonstance quelconque n'avait rompu 1'enchante-
ment de ne pas en finir (0, I, 1500).

19Correspondance Gide-Val6ry, pp. 48-49.

20Correspondance Gide-Val6ry, p. 50.

21See, for example, Louise Vinge, The Narcissus
Theme in Western European Literature up to the Early 19th
Century (Lund: Gleerups, 1967).

22See Frederick Goldin, The Mirror of Narcissus
in the Courtly Love Lyric (New York: Cornell University
Press, 1967).

23Jean Soulairol, Paul Valrry (Paris: La Colombe,
1952), pp. 147-49 suggests some similarities between
Ronsard's elegy "La mort de Narcisse" and the Narcissus
poems of Val6ry.

24G6rard Genette, "Narcisse baroque," La Nouvelle
Revue Frangaise, 9 (1961), 558-564.

25"C'est le mythe de Narcisse, que nous retrouvons
a chaque instant dans l'histore du Symbolisme," Guy
Michaud, Message podtique du Symbolisme (Paris: Nizet,
1966), note, p. 34. "Le theme du narcissisme est int6gr6
dans le symbolisme, puisque pour celui-ci le monde exterieur
est un miroir de l'homme et de 1'essence myst6rieuse des
choses," Henry Nicholas, Mallarmu et le Symbolisme (Paris:
Librairie Larousse, 1965), p. 93.









26More of the myth is utilized for his two other
major works on Narcissus.
27Unless her presence is meant to be suggested
by the unusually large number of internal echo rhymes
in the poem.

28It should be noted, however, that Valdry said
that he read Ovid only after Chantavoine's remarks in
Le Journal des D6bats. "S'il me fallait def6ndre (s'il
fallait def6ndre Rien jug6 par N6ant), je cormmencerais
par remercier le critique de m'avoir fait ouvrir Ovide
pour la premiere, et sans doute ultime, fois. Je n'ai
trouv6 d'autre similitude que le titre dans son Narcisse,
et trois mots seuls m'ont arret6 comme exquis" in
Correspondence Gide-ValEry, p. 79.

29Maja Goth, "The Myth of Narcissus in the
Works of Rilke and of Val@ry," Wisconsin Studies in
Contemporary Literature, 7 (1966), 14.

30Goth, p. 14.

31Leonardo da Vinci, Pierre Louys, Rimbaud, and
Verlaine are four other major figures who undoubtedly
influenced and impressed Valery profoundly, but their
influence does not seem to be as significant in respect
to "Narcisse parle," although Louys, of course, requested
the poem and published it.

32Generally accepted dates 1885-1895 for symbolism
with a capital "S."

33"Huysmans est celui d'aujourd'hui don't mon ame
s'accommode le mieux. J'en suis toujours A relire
A rebours; c'est ma bible et mon livre de chevet."
Lettres A quelques-uns (Paris: Gallimard, 1952), p. 11.

34Henri Mondor, Pr6cocit6 de Valry (Paris:
Gallimard, 1957), p. 215.

35Jacques Charpier, Essai sur Paul Valdry (Paris:
Seghers, 1956), p. 29.

36Lettres A quelques-uns, p. 35.

37Lettres A quelques-uns, p. 23.

38paul Valery, Cahiers, 29 vols. (Paris: Centre
national de la recherche scientifique, 1957-1961), v. 1,
p. 116.









39Lettres quelques-uns, pp. 12-13.

40Lettres a quelques-uns, p. 28.

41T.S. Eliot, From Poe to Val6ry (New York:
Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1948), pp. 22-23.

42Eliot, p. 23. Joseph Chiari in Symbolisme
from Poe to Mallarm6, The Growth of a Myth (London:
Rockliff, 1956), pp. 166-167, repeats this general assess-
ment concerning the influence of Poe on Mallarm6, Baude-
laire, and Val6ry.

43Lettres a quelques-uns, p. 97.

44Lucienne Julien Cain, Trois Essais sur Paul
Val6ry, "Edgar Poe et Valry," (Paris: Gallimard, 1958),
p. 144-45.

45Lettres a quelques-uns, p. 9.

46Lettres a quelques-uns, p. 28-29.

47Lettres a quelques-uns, p. 47.

48Michaud, p. 556.

49That Val6ry no longer believes in the power of
poetry as the "orphic explanation of the universe" after
the crisis of 1892 is well-known.

50See O, I, 1485 for Valry's discussion of the
artists need to reject "[ .] tout ce qui r6sulte de
notre relation statistique avec nos semblables et de notre
commerce obligatoire et obligatoirement impur avec le
ddsordre monotone de la vie exterieure."

51Valdry generalizes this tendency in "Sur les
'Narcisse.'" A cette epoque [1890's], les pontes dis-
posaient volontiers de pierreries don't ils croyaient
enrichir leurs ouvrages. Depuis, la po6sie a connu les
restrictions, nous sommes devenus plus simples, plus
pauvres."

52Henri Mondor, L'Heureuse Rencontre de Valery et
Mallarme (Lausanne: La Guilde du Livre, 1947), pp. 35-36.









53This is a brief but valuable aid to an under-
standing of the Valdry/lMallarm4 relationship. It contains
important letters rarely printed elsewhere, details,
especially, the initial stages of their relationship, and
recounts Val6ry's important role as confidant to Mallarm6
concerning Un Coup de dds and, subsequently, as a source
of information about the poem.

54For example, "En ce qui concern les influences
que j'ai subies, la plus profonde n'est pas celle de
Mallarmd: quelques lignes de Poe, l'influence de Wagner,
l'id6e que je me fais de Leonard, et maintes reflexions
et lectures scientifiques ont jou6 le plus grand r6le
dans le ddveloppement de ma pensee" (quoted in Mondor's
Prdcocit@ de Valdry, p. 412). "Mallarmd ne devait pas
avoir d'influence: c'est une proposition qui peut se
demontrer. Influence, c'est imitation ou continuation.
Imiter un 6tre si singulier, c'est crier qu'on imite.
Imiter un art si parfait, c'est une d6sastreuse affaire:
cela cofte plus cher que de risquer d'etre 'original'"
(from a letter to Albert Thibaudet in 1912 in Lettres f
quelques-uns, p. 98). Yet in an essay entitled "St6phane
Mallarm6" in Ecrits divers sur Mallarm6, in O, I, pp. 660-
680, Valery discusses in some detail the influence of
Mallarmd on himself and other young poets of the 1890's.

55The lines which begin '" miroir!/ Eau froide
par l'ennui dans ton cadre gel6e" to "J'ai de mon reve
pars connu la nudity!"

56Lettres a quelques-uns, p. 19.

57Fourment/Val6ry letters, p. 116.

58Correspondance Gide-Val6ry, p. 50.

59Stdphane Mallarm6, OEuvres completes, Texte
6tabli et annot6 par Henri Mondor et G. Jean-Aubry,
Bibliothbque de la Pliade (Paris: Gallimard, 1945),
p. 47.

60Mallarm6, p. 48.

61Prdcocit6 de Valdry, p. 214.

62Correspondance Gide-Val6ry, p. 56.

63In "Je disais quelquefois a Stephane Mallarm6..."
O, I, 649.

64The preface to the Correspondance Gide-Valdry
by Robert Mallet is an extremely perceptive study of the
friendship between Gide and Valery.










65A question remains as to whether there is any
relationship between the androgynous suggestion in
"Narcisse parole" in such lines as "O chair d'adolescent
et de princess douce!" and the androgynous Adam in
Gide's Traiti.

66Correspondance Gide-Valery, p. 46.

67Both would eventually attend Mallarm6's "mardi
soirs" frequently.

68A Mon Ami Paul Ambroise Valery avec qui j'ai
fait un tel reve" quoted in Andr6 Gide, Romans, recits et
soties, oeuvres lyriques, Notices et Bibliographies par
Yvonne Davet et Jean-Jacques Thierry, Bibliotheque de
la Pl6iade (Paris: Gallimard, 1958), p. 1458.

69Gide had planned a Narcissus poem; however, see
Correspondance Gide-Val6ry, p. 154 concerning "Narcisse
secret."

70Andrd Gide, Romans, recits ..., p. 1457.

71Andrd Gide, Romans, rdcits .., p. 1458.

72Letter of 25 Mai 1892: "Ton oncle [Charles
Gide?] trouve le Traiti du Narcisse trop symboliste."
Letter of July 6, 1899: "J'ai re9u tes dernieres publi-
cations et je me suis amuse A les parcourir trhs vite
entierement, par gout du cindmatographe et par experience
de style. J'ai r-aim6e ce point de vue le Narcisse et
El Hadj" (p. 346).

73"Si vous avez lu mon hdtif poeme, bien loin de
l'oeuvre revge et que j'espere refaire un soir ou l'autre
(car sans cet espoir je souffrirais, dites-moi clairement,
comme une parties lucide et d6gris6e de moi-meme, ce que
vous en induisez" (Correspondance Gide-Valery, p. 50).
Also in February 1891 when he sent the poem to Gide,
"Dites-moi aussi franchement que vous parliez sous les
cypres et les t6erbinthes de ce pays sous la lune que
moi je n'ai pas oublie [The Botanical garden where the
tomb of Narcissa was] dites-moi ce qu'il vous en semble,"
p. 54.

74Correspondance Gide-Valdry, p. 56.

75Correspondance Gide-Val6ry, p. 56.

76Correspondance Gide-Valdry, p. 56.









77
77Jean Hytier, "Formules valdryennes," Romanic
Review, 47 (1956), 196.

78Paul Pieltain, "M6tamorphoses d'un fragment
du Narcisse de Paul Valry," Cahiers d'analyse textuelle,
4 (1962), 34.

79Correspondance Gide-Valry, p. 57.

80From "Si la fontaine claire est par la nuit
6teinte" to "Jusque dans les secrets de la fontaine
Cteinte."

81"Lueur" is a weaker light than "lumiere."
"Lueur lumiere faible [. .], illumination faible
ou passagere." Paul Robert, Dictionnaire alphab6tique et
analogique de la langue franchise (Paris: Societ6 du
nouveau Littr6, 1967), p. 1012.

82As in "Par le talent; quand, sur l'or glauque
de lointaines" from Mallarm6's "L'Apres-midi d'un faune,"
OEuvres completes, p. 51.

83Correspondance Gide-Valdry, p. 56.

84"Mais il n'y a guIre de changement dans les
emotions qui garden plus ou moins le meme ton dans tout
le poeme. Toujours les faibles emotions d'un Narcisse
languissant. On ne remarque guere vers la fin du poeme
le glissement d'une faible souffrance A une souffrance
douce-ambre ou Narcisse se complaint. Ce sont les exi-
gences de l'esth6tique de 1890 que Valdry suit encore,
qui produisent ces sensations affaiblies, adoucies. Dans
L'Album, Valdry essaiera de corriger cette faiblesse
d'6motion, notamment en doublant les emplois de la premiere
personnel et le nombre de strophes." Charles G. Whiting,
Valdry, jeune poete (Paris: Presses Universitaires de
France, 1960), p. 65.

85Along with the line "Que je d6plore...," Gide
partially quotes another line "........bras.....dont les
gestes sont purs." He does not explain the objection to
these two lines except to say: "Pour faire le normalien
jusqu'au bout, excuse moi de trouver tout A fait au-dessous
de vous...." Perhaps he does not like the repetition pur/
purs at the end of the lines. At any rate, Valdry did not
change the second line Gide refers to either. It remains:
"Voici mes bras d'argent don't les gestes sont purs."










86"o0 puiserent mes yeux dans un mortel azur"
is the only other line which appears in exactly the same
form in the sonnets, La Conque, the Album, and even the
Fragments du Narcisse, but, at first, it did have another
form: "O mes yeux ont puis4 dans un mortel azur." This
is mentioned by Jean Bellemin-Nodl in "En Marge des
premiers 'Narcisse,' 1'en-jeu et le hors-jeu du texte,"
Revue d'histoire litt6raire de la France, 5-6 (1972),
975-991. One more point needs to be mentioned concerning
"Que je d6plore..." as the verss donn6." There is a
factor which might be used to discount the theory. The
prose poem version begins: "Que je deplore ton cclat,
fontaine!" On the other hand, there is no proof that it
antedated the sonnets.

87"Au sujet d'Adonis," 0, I, 482.

88Walzer, p. 96.

89Originally the lines had been: "Assez pour
deviner lh-bas le Fianc6/ Dans ton miroir don't m'attire
la lueur triste."

90A line reminiscent of another line of Val6ry's
"0 dieu ddmon demiurge ou destin" quoted in Valdry/Fourment
correspondence, p. 228 from an early poem called "Ambroise."

91And: rose, rose, close, close, and so on.

92Additional internal rhyme: "lueur," and "heure"
continuing the sound of "pleurs" two lines earlier and
"fleurs" in the line before that. "Mon image de fleurs
humides couronnde!/ Hl6as l'image est vaine et les pleurs
6ternels."

93The words in this line repeat sounds found
throughout the poem. "Dl6icieux" is related to "delie"
and "ddlice," for example, and "glace" follows "place" and
is itself followed later by "gracile."

94"Joueur" may be seen as the symbol of the reader
of the poem.

95In his essays on poetry, Valery often speaks of
the stage in poetic creation which he calls "attente." For
example: "...Nous avons A poursuivre des mots qui n'existent
pas toujours, et des coincidences chim6riques; nous avons a
nous maintenir dans l'impuissance, essayant de conjoindre
des sons et des significations, et cr6ant en pleine lumibre
l'un de ces cauchemars oO s'6puise le reveur, quand il
s'efforce ind6finiment d'6galiser deux fant6mes de lignes









aussi instables que lui-meme. Nous devons done passionne-
ment attendre, changer d'heure et de jour comme l'on
changerait d'outil, et vouloir, vouloir... Et meme, ne
pas excessivement vouloir" (0, I, p. 480)(my emphasis).

96'Je ch6ris, en po6sie comme en prose, les
theories si profondes et si perfidement savantes d'Edgar
Poe, je crois a la toute-puissance du rythme et surtout de
l'6pithete suggestive." From a letter to Karl Boes in
1889, Lettres A quelques-uns, p. 9 (my emphasis).

97Paraphrased from "N6cessit6 de la po6sie,"
0, I, p. 1390.

98The same epigraph is used in both versions -
"Narcissae placandis manibus."

99Whiting, p. 62.

100Whiting, p. 63.

101pierre Michel, Val6ry, L'dcrivain symboliste et
herm6tique (Paris: Foucher n.d.), p. 20.

102Michel, p. 20.

103Michel, p. 20.

104Michel, p. 20.

105Whiting, p. 66.

106Whiting, p. 65.

107For Creuzer's role in the nineteenth and
twentieth century interpretations of the Narcissus myth,
see Vinge, especially Chapter 12, pp. 315-320.

108Guy Michaud, "Le Thbme du miroir dans le symbo-
lisme franqais," Cahiers de l'Association Internationale
des Etudes Frangaises, 11 (1959), 206.

109"Par consequence, j'ai cess6 de faire des vers.
Cet art devenu impossible I moi de 1892 [. .]." Letter
from Valery to Thibaudet in 1912 in Lettres S quelques-uns,
p. 97. There were some exceptions, however. For example, two
poems "Vue" and "Et6" were published in Le Centaure in 1896
and seem to have been written after 1892.



















CHAPTER II

"FRAGMENTS DU NARCISSE"

Introduction and Background


"Fragments du Narcisse" is one of the twenty-one

poems in Valery's collection of verse entitled Charmes.

There are only two major collections of Valery's poems:

Album de vers anciens and Charmes. The chief link between

the two is Valery's use of the Narcissus myth. Albert

Thibaudet, one of the earliest critics of Valery's work,

notes this when he says: "Au milieu du recueil, le

Fragment du Narcisse 6tablit la liaison de Charmes avec

1'Album de Vers Anciens.2 Quite significantly, earlier

in his study he makes the following comment: "L'Album

pourrait porter entier ce titre d'une de ses pieces:

Narcisse parle. Et la liaison entire l'Album et Charmes,

la perennit6 du theme po6tique que n'a jamais d6sert6

Valdry, le Fragment du Narcisse public dans Charmes nous
3
en assure f nouveau." The strong thematic bond between

the two works facilitates study of the development of

Val6ry's theory of poetry. This bond is made even stronger

by the fact that the first part of "Fragments du Narcisse"

contains lines taken directly from "Narcisse parle."










In addition to its direct tie with Valry's early

poetic endeavors, "Fragments du Narcisse," as one of the

most serious and important poems of Charmes, provides a

suitable medium for the study of Valery's poetics at the

time of his serious return to poetry. Charmes, because it

demonstrates a skillful use of a variety of forms and a

masterful command of the tools of poetry, is a testament

to the mature Valery's consummate skill in poetic compo-

sition and expression. "Fragments du Narcisse" is a model

of the craftmanship found in Charmes. The "Fragments"

illustrates Valery's increasing interest in and mastery of

the rhetorical devices of poetry. A further increase in

alliteration is readily noticeable, but there are also

tropes and literary devices not found in "Narcisse parle,"

such as anacoluthon, anaphora, asyndeton, oxymoron, simile,

etc. Although there is a determined movement away from

obscurity in this particular poem, nevertheless, there is

a calculated use of unusual syntax. Conscious attention

to expressive sound patterns, particularly the harmonic

use of vowels is also an important aspect of the exquisitely

fashioned poetry of this work. After the writing of

Charmes, the increased emphasis on the technical aspects

and rhetorical devices of poetry comes up again and again

in Valery's pronouncements on poetry. In typical Valdrian

fashion, the theory is expounded after the practice.4

For example, in "Au sujet du Cimetiere marin" published in









1933 as the preface to Gustave Cohen's famous lecture on

the poem, Val6ry writes:

L'univers po6tique don't je parlais
s'introduit par le nombre ou, plutot,
par la density des images, des figures,
des consonances, dissonances, par
1'enchainement des tours et des rythmes,
l'essentiel 6tant d'dviter constamment
ce qui reconduirait a la prose, soit en
la faisant regretter, soit en suivant
exclusivement l'id&e... (0, I, 1502-03).

A similar statement appears in "Questions de podsie:"

Les rimes, l'inversion, les figures
ddveloppdes, les sym6tries et les
images, tout ceci, trouvailles ou con-
ventions, sont autant de moyens de
s'opposer au penchant prosaique du
lecteur comee les "regles" fameuses
de l'art po6tique ont pour effet de
rappeler sans cesse au poote l'univers
complete de cet art). L'impossibilit&
de r6duire a la prose son ouvrage,
celle de le dire, ou de le comprendre
en tant que prose sont des conditions
imperieuses d'existence, hors desquelles
cet ouvrage n'a po6tiquement aucun sens
(0, I, 1294).

For Valery, perhaps the most important by-product of this

emphasis on the conventions of poetry is that by increasing

the poetry, he lessens its chances of being reduced to

mere prose.

Val6ry's poetic theory is revealed and clarified

through the study of the poetic concepts and conventions

that he utilized in the "Fragments du Narcisse," the second

chapter of his autobiographiese poetique." Following a

discussion of additional background material and a brief

survey of some representative studies of the poem, the

first fragment will be compared with "Narcisse parole "










This comparison focuses attention on the range of

poetic conventions Valry used for the poem, but, more

importantly, it points out what he rejected about his early

theory of poetry. Next, the question of influence is

taken up, but, unlike the case of "Narcisse parle," it is

a peripheral issue. Discussion is made necessary by the

frequent allusions to other poets by the critics who dis-

cuss the "Fragments." Sorting out these comparisons and

the question of possible sources does have positive re-

sults, however, since considerable light is shed on Valdry's

thoughts on poetry. Reference to Lucretius, for example,

brings out Valdry's position on the role of philosophy

in poetry. Subsequently, outlining the Ovidian elements

which appear in the poem also reflects aspects of Val6ry's

theory of poetry and underscores his unique ability to

choose and modify Ovid's details to enhance his own con-

cept of poetry. In the final section of this chapter,

the subject of pure poetry will be taken up briefly, but

the emphasis will be on additional theoretical and tech-

nical details of the "Fragments" which are important to

an understanding of Valdry's poetics.

"Fragments du Narcisse" is a dramatic, often

intensely lyrical, poem in three parts. Originally it

was at the center of Charmes.5 In the 1929 version,

considered to have the definitive order, it is number nine

following "Cantique des colonnes" and preceding "L'Abeille."










Taken as a whole, it is the longest poem in Charmes, 314

lines.

Each of the three fragments has a history of its

own. The first part has the longest and most complicated

background. It was first published in the Revue de Paris

on the 15th of September, 1919 (pp. 261-64). Later ver-

sions appeared in the Revue Universelle in May 1921 and
6
a month later in the Nouvelle Revue Frangaise. Also, in

1921, a version was published in La Pleiade which included

for the first time, the epigraph "Cur liquid vidi?"7

This first segment consisting of 148 lines is the longest

of the three fragments which make up the poem. On the

one hand, it is "Narcisse parle" greatly amplified; on

the other hand, it is a major departure from the early

poem. This seeming discrepancy will be cleared up in the

course of the detailed analysis of the poem.

Although the first sixteen lines were published

more than a year earlier in Le Divan, the entire second

fragment, consisting of 116 lines, appeared first in the

Nouvelle Revue Frangaise in 1923.8 The theme of love plays

a major role in all three parts of the poem, but it is

treated most objectively and completely in this second

fragment.

Most fragmentary in appearance, the third segment

is composed of two sections separated by a line of dots.

The second of the two parts begins and ends with an










unrhymed line. Yet, in many ways the fragmentary aspect

of this part is illusory. The images, vocabulary, and

overall poetry of this section, just like the others, is

very carefully wrought. First published in the Nouvelle

Revue Frangais on May 1, 1922P this fifty-line fragment,

like the first, is reminiscent of "Narcisse parole The

motif of the final kiss appears again, and there is also

a tender rendering of "adieux," but the tone is different,

extremely anguished and tragic.

The three fragments were not united until the

Stols edition of Narcisse in 192610 and the 1926 edition

of Charmes. The 1922 edition of Charmes contained only

the first fragment.11

As was the case with studies of "Narcisse parle,"

it is Pierre-Olivier Walzer who once again presents the

most adequate background information.12 Among other im-

portant facts, he points out a common error which states

that the first publication of the first fragment was in

the Revue Universelle of May 1, 1921 when, in fact, it

first appeared in the Revue de Paris in 1919. Most of

the background material supplied by Walzer plus additional

data, such as the variants, can be found in 0, I, 1663-1673.

Also included there are some of Valdry's own comments made

in interviews and lectures on the subject of "Fragments

du Narcisse." For example, this paragraph from the lecture

"Sur les 'Narcisse,'" appears in O, I, 1671-72.









Assez longtemps apres, l'id4e m'est
venue de faire une sorte do contre-
partie A ce poeme si severe et si
obscur de la Jeune Parque. J'ai
choisi, ou plus exactement s'est
choisi lui-meme, ce theme du Narcisse
d'autrefois, propre a ce je voulais
faire, c'est-a-dire une oeuvre qui
soit presque la contre-partie de
la Jeune Parque, autrement simple
dans sa forme et ne donnant lieu i
presque aucune difficult de com-
prdhension, en portant surtout mon
effort sur 1'harmonie meme de la
langue.13

Valdry has also made a number of comments concerning

Narcissus in the Cahiers and in letters and articles,

many of them not mentioned in the background information

in the Hytier edition of the OEuvres. A number of these

remarks will be brought up subsequently.

While Valdry's own commentary can be extremely

helpful to the reader attempting to understand his utili-

zation of the Narcissus myth, it is limited and does not

go into a number of important questions raised by the

poem. Although there are not countless exegeses of

"Fragments du Narcisse" as there are of Val6ry's La

Cimetiere marin or La Jeune Parque, still it has been

analyzed quite often and definitely more often than either

of his other works on Narcissus, "Narcisse parle" and

Cantate du Narcisse. Several of the studies of the

"Fragments" turn out to be very valuable in terms of in-

creasing the reader's understanding and enjoyment of the

poem. Even though "Fragments du Narcisse" is not as

difficult as the Cimetiere marin nor as obscure as La

Jeune Parque, it is, nonetheless, a complex and rich work










requiring sustained and determined analysis for maximum

comprehension and appreciation.

Among the analyses of "Fragments du Narcisse,"

Wallace Fowlie's "Valdry's Dream of Narcissus"l4 is a

good introduction to the poem. It is probably the most

thoughtful study in English. Frequently thought-provoking,

it is a broad look at the poem with some fine details.

While Fowlie concentrates primarily on the philosophical

implications of Val@ry's meditation and emphasizes that

the poem has the characteristics of a tragedy, he also

mentions, albeit briefly, several important points re-

lated to Valdry's theory of poetry. He understands, for

example, that Valery sees poetic creation as an exercise:

". .it is an exercise and one of the most brilliant

he ever wrote, on a theme that obsessed him throughout

his life, both in the narrow sense of the Greek myth and

in the broader philosophical sense of the 'self.'"15

For Val6ry the concept that writing poetry was primarily

an exercise was a strong conviction, seriously maintained
16
and often repeated after his return to poetry. In a

letter to Andrd Fontainas, he mentions the idea in rela-

tion to his masterpiece La Jeune Parque: "Oui, je me

suis impose pour ce poEme des lois, observances constantes,

qui en constituent le veritable objet. C'est bien un

exercise . (0, I, 1631). He even expresses the

idea in the dedication of La Jeune Parque to Gide:










"A Andrd Gide/ Depuis bien des anndes/ j'avais laiss6

1'art des vers:/ essayant de m'y astreindre encore,/ j'ai

fait cet exercise/ que je te d6die. 1917" (0, I, 96).

Again and again the point comes up in his theoretical dis-

cussions on poetry: ". . je rapporte tout ce que je

pense de l'art A l'id6e d'exercise, que je trouve la plus

belle du monde."17 Specifically in relation to "Fragments

du Narcisse:"

Je lui dis que Narcisse 6tait n6
dans mon esprit trente-six ans avant,
a l'occasion d'une pierre oi le
feminin de son nom est grav6; que
l'image de cet amateur de soi-meme
m'avait s6duit en premier par sa
grice, et donn6 l'id6e d'un poeme
fort simple oO il n'y eft que le
chant d'un malheureux trop beau.
Bien des anndes plus tard, je repris
ce theme si pur, et m'en fis un
exercise.18 (My emphasis)

When Val6ry seriously returned to poetry about 1912 or

1913, what primarily interested him about poetic creation

was how much of the mind it was capable of engaging; and,

conversely, he recognized that the exercise of writing

poetry stimulated the mind:

Tandis que je m'abandonnais avec
d'assez grandes jouissances a des
rdflexions de cette espOce, et
que je trouvais dans la po6sie un
sujet de questions infinies, la
meme conscience de moi-m&me qui
m'y engageait me repr6sontait qu'une
speculation sans quelque production
d'oeuvres ou d'actes qui la puissent
vdrifier est chose trop douce pour
ne pas devenir, si profonde ou si
ardue qu'on la poursuive en soi,
une tentation prochaine de facility









sous des apparences abstraites.
Je m' apercevais que ce qui
d6sormais m'int6ressait dans cet
art 6tait la quantity d'esprit
qu'il me semblait pouvoir deve-
lopper, et qu'il excitait d'autant
plus qu'on se faisait de lui une
idde plus approfondie. Je ne
voyais pas moins nettement que
toute cette d6pense d'analyse ne
pouvait prendre un sens et une
valeur que moyennant une prati-
que et une production qui s'y
rapportat.19

What is important to Valery is the labor which goes into

the poem and the way the mind functions in creation. It

is the means not the end which Val6ry values most. "En

some, je regarded bien plus amoureusement aux m6thodes

qu'aux resiltats, et la fin ne me justifie pas les moyens

car il n'y a pas de fin" (0, I, 1472).

The last part of the preceding quotation, which

Val4ry emphasizes, is related to another important factor

that comes up in Fowlie's discussion of the poem the

idea that, for Valery, a poem is never finished: "Val6ry

is constantly establishing an opposition between life and

the mind of the poet observing life. But he is also con-

stantly establishing a connection between life and the

poet's mind. Life never comes to a completion (until,

of course, the event of death) and a poem is therefore

never completed until the poet's death arrests all future

work on it."20 Val6ry felt very strongly about this

point, too: "Une oeuvre n'est jamais n6cessairement

finie, car celui qui 1'a faite ne s'est jamais accompli..."

(0, I, 1450-51).21 He comments at length on the subject




Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID EV58U4LNU_6E3WDC INGEST_TIME 2017-07-17T20:24:45Z PACKAGE UF00098937_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC
FILES



PAGE 1

NARCISSUS IN VALERY'S POETICS By DOROTHY HOPKINS SCHNARE A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OE THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1974 L

PAGE 2

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The writer wishes to express her appreciation to Dr. Raymond Gay-Crosier and to Dr. Albert B. Smith for their assistance in the writing of this dissertation. Their constructive criticism and numerous suggestions were invaluable. In addition, Dr. Herman E. Spivey, an outstanding teacher, has been a great source of inspiration. Special thanks are also due her husband, Dr. Paul S. Schnare for his patience and encouragement.

PAGE 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS i i ABSTRACT iv INTRODUCTION 1 NOTES 12 CHAPTER ONE: "NARCISSE PARLE" 14 NOTES 76 CHAPTER TWO: "FRAGMENTS DU NARCISSE" 85 Introduction and Background 85 "Narcisse parle" and the "Fragments" 105 Questionable Sources 122 Ovidian Elements 138 Further Poetic Considerations 149 Summary 163 NOTES 167 CHAPTER THREE : CANT ATE DU NARCISSE 177 NOTES 219 CONCLUSION 222 BIBLIOGRAPHY 230 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 237

PAGE 4

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy NARCISSUS IN VALERY'S POETICS By Dorothy Hopkins Schnare August, 1974 Chairman: Dr. Raymond Gay-Crosier Major Department: Romance Languages and Literatures (French) This study proceeds from the conviction that the most logical way to arrive at an understanding of Valery's poetics is by means of his poems, in particular, his Narcissus poems. Vale'ry used many different forms to expatiate on his poetic theory. Excerpts appear in letters, aphorisms, and in his poems. Specific details are amplified in essays, lectures, and the Cahiers . One of the most persistent problems in attempting to understand Valery's poetics is how to confront this mass of disparate material in order to articulate it succinctly. Critics tend to see the theory as a mass of fragments and even contradictions. Proceeding from the poems to the theory, as Valery generally did, is a viable way to synthesize the essential tenets. Valery wrote three major works on Narcissus: "Narcisse parle" (1891), "Fragments du Narcisse" (1926), and Cantate du Narcisse (1939). Since these works and revisions

PAGE 5

of them were composed over a fifty year period, they function as a poetic autobiography demonstrating the essential elements of his poetics. One chapter is devoted to each of the three works. In each case, the same pattern is followed, providing background details, confronting the problem of influence, analyzing the Ovidian elements, and closely examining the text. The focus is kept on what these aspects reveal about Valery's theory. For example, in the first chapter, a study of "Narcisse parle," a poem in the Symbolist manner, the question of influence is seriously entertained. Valery's early poetic theory is formulated, primarily, on the poems and poetic aims of Mallarme' and the theories and technique of Poe. The second chapter concentrates on the "Fragments du Narcisse" and demonstrates Valery's classical aims. Comparison of it with "Narcisse parle," underlines Valery's method of composition, a series of rejections, revisions, retentions, and regroupings. Finally, the Cantate , a fusion of his Symbolist tendencies and his classical aims, reinforces a number of the basic elements of Valery's poetic canon, for instance, his problem solving approach, and his view of poetry as an art of language. Valery's theory of poetry is personal. He indulges in poetic creation for himself first and for others only second, remaining, on the whole, indifferent to his audience. His theory centers on considerations about the poet and the problems he faces or poses for himself. For Valery, poetry is a serious intellectual exercise involving long labor and

PAGE 6

constant revision. A poem is never finished, for the creative process is a quest for perfection, for pure poetry. As much consciousness as possible is his fundamental rule for poetic creation. He insisted upon writing under strict constraints, imposing the maximum number of conventions and rules to increase the degree of both consciousness and poetry. His poetry is at once cerebral and sensuous making the Narcissus myth the perfect vehicle to explore his acute sensitivity and heightened consciousness. The Narcissus poems are a clear demonstration of his conviction that a poet could spend a lifetime rewriting the same poem. Conscious effort and attention to the beautiful details of poetry provide a myriad of angles from which the poet can approach the same theme to learn more about the creative act. Valery postulates no dogmatic theory of poetry. Inward-looking and self-reflective, he prefers to question and experiment. The cumulative impression which the Narcissus poems produce about Valery 's poetics is one of unity and continuity. During the long period from "Narcisse parle" through the "Fragments" to the Cantate , his poetic preoccupations and practices remain basically unaltered. They are always related to the larger question of how to know the mind.

PAGE 7

INTRODUCTION The persona in Paul Valery's literary production is Narcissus whether he is named Monsieur Teste who says: "Je suis £tant, et me voyant; me voyant , me voir et ainsi de suite..." or the angel seated at the edge of the fountain in ValSry's final poem, "L'Ange." Named, unnamed or renamed, the figure of Narcissus is a constant of Val6ry ' s work. Val6ry wrote three major poems with the word Narcissus mentioned in the title: "Narcisse parle" (1891), the "Fragments du Narcisse" (1926), and the Cantate du Narcisse (1939). These three compositions will serve as the framework for this study of Vale'ry's poetics. Elaboration and clarification of the tenets of Valery's poetic theory are made possible by means of a close examination of the background and details of his three major Narcissus works. Valery's study of poetry is much broader and involves much more than the statement of an "art poetique He researched the creative process in depth and focused on the mind's act of "making." That is why he chooses to speak of "poietics" art as making:

PAGE 8

J'ai done cru pouvoir le reprendre dans un sens qui regarde a 1 ' etymologie , sans oser cependant le prononcer Politique , dont la physiologie se sert quand el le parle de fonctions hematopoietiques ou galactopoi'et iques . Mais e'est enfin la notion toute simple de faire que je voulais exprimer. What interested Val6ry about his own poems was how he created them, their very genesis. The actual process of fabrication was so important to him because it led him back to and taught him more about his primordial interest the mind. The poems are a starting point for further research and allow him to make statements about theory, implicitly by means of the poems themselves, explicitly in letters, lectures, and essays, nearly always after the fact. While aspects of his poetic theory developed and changed, much of it remained constant and became more precise over the years, and this is what makes a close study of the Narcissus poems so revealing and rewarding in an attempt to synthesize Valery's theory of poetry. They span his whole career from his early insistence on the sonnet as an ideal form in the late 1800' s to the very end of his career with the publication of the prose poem, "L'Ange" in 1945. There is a Narcissus poem for each major creative period in his life. In the early period, the Symbolist period, he produced "Narcisse parle." Of all his youthful poems, he felt that this one alone approached his ideal. During the years of his return to poetry, there is a significant

PAGE 9

revision of "Narcisse parle" for the Album de vers anciens. The period of maturity, with the masterpieces of Charmes , includes the three part, highly acclaimed, "Fragments du Narcisse." Finally, his artistic endeavors centered on drama, and in this last period he wrote the 1 ibretto for the musical drama: Cantate du Narcisse . While Valery's Narcissus is engaged in the search for self, it is not as the result of an identity crisis, nor is his preoccupation with the figure of Narcissus 2 pure narcissism in the psychological sense. The starting point for Valery's Narcissus poems is not an unconscious impulse to lend imagery to a universal human problem, that of the relationship of the self to the self, but rather a very conscious effort to resolve problems of poetry, and, thereby, to reach an understanding of the creative process. This understanding is, in turn, a means to the fundamental goal which was to know and understand the mind and its potential. Undoubtedly, the quest into the mind is simultaneously the quest into the integrity of the self and individuality. As Narcisse says in the "Fragments : " Mais moi, Narcisse aime\, je ne suis curieux Que de ma seule essence; Tout autre n'a pour moi qu'un coeur mystgrieux, Tout autre n'est qu'absence (0, I, 128). The mind's goal is a "moi pur," absolute consciousness. One of the most significant aspects of Valery's choice of the mask of Narcissus is its total suitability

PAGE 10

for him. It is, at once, both important and unimportant as subject matter for his poetry. Because it is an old re-worked vehicle for poetic production with a long poetic history (not the least of which is in the French literary tradition), it is insignificant in and of itself, a banal subject. Consequently, the poetry itself becomes of prime importance as Valery intended. The act of creation which he saw as a serious intellectual exercise involving subtle modulation and constant revision becomes the focal point of his poetic activity. He continuously stresses the unimportance of subject in its usual sense and insists that the interest in a poem, for him, lies in the composition: "Cependunt la seule pensee de constructions de cette espece derneure pour moi la plus poetique des id§es: 1 ' idee de composition'' (0, I, 1504). If the story of Narcissus is not in and of itself of prime importance for its subject matter or thought content, Val§ry's use of it, nevertheless, has symbolic significance. The introspective, ever-reflective Valery, always on the verge of utter solipsism, is certainly like Narcissus continually gazing at his reflection in the water, as he endlessly seeks total self-possession. Ultimately, of course, both Valery and Narcissus are doomed to failure, and Valery is keenly aware that absolute knowledge is inaccessible. Yet, he sees the purity of purpose involved in the constant striving for a single, unattainable ideal goal, be it the "moi pur" or pure poetry.

PAGE 11

The Narcissus myth is Valery's most important myth. A number of short articles and one full-length study of the theme recognize the importance of the figure of Narcissus in Valery's work. Pierre Fortassier in "Le Theme de Narcisse" begins: Le regard le plus superficiel ne peut manquer de percevoir, dans l'oeuvre de Paul Valery, 1 ' importance du theme de Narcisse .... Un examen plus approfondi revele la presence de ce theme, plus ou moins latent, a peu pres partout. The longer study, a dissertation, attempts to reassess the importance of the Cantate du Narcisse . Basically, however, it is a comparative study with some limited explications de texte . 4 The third chapter purports to be a "close reading of the three Narcissus works of Valery." 5 Unfortunately, this is not the case. Only three pages, for instance, are spent in an examination of the last two parts of "Fragments du Narcisse" which contain a total of 166 lines. The shorter studies make no claim to be in-depth analyses of the three works. None of these studies recognize that the three poems, stretching over Valery's career as they do, are a logical steppingstone to an understanding of Valery's poetic theory. While it is clear that the theme of Narcissus in Valery's work has not been adequately or thoroughly explored, there have been important studies made of

PAGE 12

ValSry's poetics. Two full-length studies, in particular, come to mind immediately: Jean Hytier's La Poetique d e Valery 6 and W.N. Ince's T he Poetic Theory of Paul Valery . 7 The latter, subtitled Inspiration and Technique , is interesting but limited since it concentrates primarily on trying to make a case for the role of inspiration in Valery' s work. It is often suggested that Valery is contradictory and less than honest about the role of inspiration in his work, but he does not disregard emotion, imagination, intuition or inspiration, for that matter. He emphasizes instead that these are not sufficient in themselves but must be complemented and disciplined by intelligence and as much consciousness as possible. Hytier's book, much more comprehensive than Ince's, is the most widely acclaimed study of Valery ' s theory of poetry. It is an indispensable aid to an understanding of the subject. One major point of difference between Hytier's work and this present examination is that he does not, with any consistency or detail, compare Valery 's theories about poetry with his practice. He neglects or overlooks the fact that the poems generally came first and then the theory. Writing "Le Cimetiere marin," for example, led eventually to "Au sujet du 'Cimetiere marin,'" an important pronouncement on poetic theory. A revealing account of Valery 's return to poetry, "Le Prince et la Jeune Parque , " followed the writing of the poem La Jeune Parque and the Narcissus poems eventually

PAGE 13

resulted in "Une Causerie sur Narciss e" on September 19, 194], which was later published as "Sur les ' Narcisse . ' " Valery's essays and commentary on his poems are in a way a defense and illustration of them. Because of the fact that Valery's interest in poetry is based on his preoccupation with the effect of the poet's labor on the the poet himself and how much of the mind poetry is capable of engaging, it is important, if not essential, to start with the poetry. Also, Hytier does not make use of the Cahiers , an indispensable tool for the study of Valery's poetic theory. A number of short articles as well as chapters in various books about Valery also serve to introduce, outline and clarify Valery's poetics. 8 In a short chapter entitled "The Poetic Theory of Paul Valery," Henry Grubbs touches on poetry as exercise, the role of inspiration, the necessity of rhyme, the theory of multiple solutions and the importance of revisions. ^ The poetic problems which concerned Valery, as outlined by Grubbs, come up naturally in the course of examining the Narcissus poems, and, therefore, they can be explained and amplified in direct correlation with the poetry. As I shall demonstrate, nowhere is it clearer than in the Narcissus poems that, for Valery, poetry is a long labor involving constant revision. Moreover, a poem

PAGE 14

is never finished except by accident, as was the case with "Narcisse parle" which Pierre Louys needed immediately for the first issue of his journal, La Conque . Valery saw poetry as an art of language and, like Mallarme, recognized that the impurity of language necessitated separating its poetic from its ordinary practical function. The Narcissus poems show that Valery is a word sceptic, testing the limits of language. The role of music in poetry, the importance of form as opposed to content , the intention to utilize to the fullest the conventions of poetry, the goal of pure poetry, all are shown, in this study, to be integral parts of the long development from "Narcisse parle" through the "Fragments" to the Cantate . A chapter will be devoted to each of the three Narcissus works. While the emphasis will not always be the same, a similar pattern of analysis will be followed in each chapter. There will be a general introduction and survey of background details, a study of possible influences, a demonstration of the Ovidian elements Valery utilizes, and a close examination of the text itself. In the first chapter where "Narcisse parle" is studied, the role of influence is most carefully dealt with since it is crucial to an understanding of the poem and the poetic theory behind it. Mallarme and Poe, in particular, materially affected "Narcisse parle," which is, essentially, a poem in the Symbolist manner. Since

PAGE 15

there are two major versions of the poem, concentrated study of Valery's revisions reveals his specif ic technical considerations and important aspects of his poetic theory. Valery's ultimate rejection of certain Symbolist traits comes to light, as well as his theory of the possibility of different solutions to a poetic problem, and the necessity for attention to the smallest details of poetry and calculated effects. With the "Fragments," studied in chapter two, it is necessary to confront the mass of analyses already existing since the poem has been studied repeatedly. Rather than indulge in additional interpretative speculation, I have concentrated instead on comparison with "Narcisse parle" which figures mater ially in the composition of the "Fragments" and clearly demonstrates Valery's serious interest in poetic technique, especially the importance of utilizing standard poetic conventions. Synthesis of several studies of the work leads to comparison of Val£ry with Lucretius, the Romantic poets, and Racine. This focus has the advantage of putting Valery's aims into perspective. Subject matter is inconsequential but the poetic challenge which an old theme affords is an important factor. The expression of the poet's philosophy has no role in the poem. In addition, the "Fragments" underscore Valery's classicism. In the third chapter I examine the Cantate du Narcisse

PAGE 16

10 Since the Cantate is the least familiar of Valery's Narcissus works, I have approached it in a slightly different manner. I have tried to piece together background information which has not previously been assimilated. I also spend more time on interpretation since, unlike the "Fragments," the Cantate has rarely been analyzed. An additional change in format is caused by Valery's use of a different genre which requires examination of his concept of theater. On the other hand, as I develop the substance of this modified approach, I continue to focus on Valery's poetic preoccupations and his theory of poetry demonstrating that Valery's third work is a fusion of the other two in that it combines his classical aims with his Symbolist tendencies. Close study of these works in the three chapters which follow will show the actual progression from poem to theory and the emergence of what is never a dogmatic theory of poetry but allows for a viable synthesis and a fuller understanding of Valery's poetics. Unlike the Teste cycle and the Leonardo works, the Narcissus poems are not a mere phase of Valery's development. Neither are they primarily an aspect of Valery's intellectual biography and personality, as Michel Decaudin contends. 10 The poems about Narcissus are instead exactly what Valery suggested they were: "une sorte d' auto-biographie poetique."H And the word poetic must be emphasized, for the

PAGE 17

11 poems constitute a veritable autobiography of Valery's poetic development. They span his total poetic career and cover the full range of his artistic concerns.

PAGE 18

NOTES Paul Valery, OEuvres , §d. Jean Hytier (Paris: Editions Gallimard, Bibliothdque de la Plgiade, 1957), I, p. 1342. Hereafter cited in the text as 0, I, or 0, II, in the case of volume II. All emphases and ellipses are Valery's unless otherwise indicated. 2 For a detailed discussion of the psychological ramifications of Valery's choice of the theme of Narcissus see Gilbert Aigrisse, Psyehanalyse de Paul Valery (Paris: Editions universitaires de France, 1964). The most pertinent chapter reprinted under the title: "Une Maniere de narcissisme " appears in Les Critiques de notre temps et Vale ry, presentation par Jean Bel lemin-Noel (Paris: Gamier, 1971), pp. 119-132. °Pierre Fortassier, "Le Theme de Narcisse," Europe , 49 (1971), 49. See also "Narcisse chez Paul Valery" in Pierre Albouy, Mythes et mythologies dans la litterature franchise (Paris: Armand Colin, 1969), pp. 181-187, and Otto Hahn, "Le Naufrage de Narcisse," L' Express 736 (1965), 44-46. Lester Dufford, The Myth of Narcissus in the Works of Paul Valery (Dissertation: Florida State University, 1970). The comparisons include discussions of the myth in Ovid, Le Roman de la Rose , Francois Villon, a "broadside ballad," James Shirley, and Mallarme. 5 Dufford, p. 4. °Jean Hytier, La Poetique de Valgry (Paris: Armand Colin, 1970). 7 Walter Newcomb Ince, The Poetic Theory of Paul Valery (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1961). Q One of the most important is Jackson Mathews, "The Poietics of Paul Valery," Romanic Review 46 (1955), 203-217. Mathews discusses the lectures given by Valery on poetics at the College de France from 1937 to 1945 concentrating, as Valery does in the lectures, on "sensibilite . " g Henry Grubbs, Paul Valery (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1968), pp. 83-99. .Michel Decaudin, "Narcisse: une sorte d'autobiographie poetique," L ' Information Litteraire , VII (1956), 55. ~ " " 12

PAGE 19

13 11,, Sur les 'Narcisse. in Paul Valerv vivant (Marseille: Cahiers du Sud, 1946), p. 2S3

PAGE 20

CHAPTER I "NARCISSE PARLE" Of all Val£ry's early poems, "Narcisse parle" has the longest and most distinguished history. This poem, which has often been singled out and praised as the best or one of the most beautiful of the many poems written between 1888 and 1892, occasioned the first public recognition of Val6ry. ''Son nom voltigera sur les levres des homines" were the words written by Henri Chantavoine (in his generally laudatory article) in the Journal des Dgbats of April 7, 1891, to describe Val£ry after the publication of the "jolis vers" of his "Narcisse parle" in La Conque on the 15th of March 1891. Gide alone, of all Valgry's friends, was critical of aspects of the poem. His comments will be discussed later. Others like Pierre Louys , Henri de R£gnier, and H£r6dia praised the poem wholeheartedly. Val£ry himself, who was keenly disappointed with the poem and greatly bothered by the considerable praise it received, nevertheless, felt that of all his early poems it was the closest to his ideal. "Ce poeme demeure pour moi un premier §tat charact§r ist ique de mon ideal et de mes moyens de ce temps-l^." He also valued it enough to send a copy to Mallarme who wrote in response: "Votre 11

PAGE 21

15 'Narcisse parle' me charme et je le dis a Louys. Gardez „2 ce ton rare . Appreciation and acclaim for the poem continue even in recent times. Henry Grubbs, for example, feels that "Narcisse parle" is one of Valery's first distinctive poems because of its delicate harmonies, purity and oriq ginality of imagery. Agnes MacKay remarks: During the spring and summer of 1891 Val§ry was still writing poetry. "Helene," "a large fresco which should evoke antiquity," and "La Fileuse," are both of this period, but the most characteristic poem among his early works, and which played a part in his evolution, was "Narcisse parle . In the course of a brief examination of some of the poems of the Album de vers ancien s of which "Narcisse parle" is an integral part, BerneJoffroy singles it out: "Mais l'un d'eux, 'Narcisse parle,' annonce deja les pures harmonies de La Jeune Parque ." 5 And Pierre-Olivier Walzer wrote: "Quand Adrienne Monnier publia, en 1920, 1 'Album de vers anciens , 'Narcisse parle' en gtait l'un des plus beaux ornements. In addition to his praise for the poem, Walzer provides extensive background material (pp. 85-96). Perhaps his most notable contribution to the study of "Narcisse parle" is his discussion of the sonnets anterior to the "Narcisse parle" of La Conque where he includes the publication of the following sonnet which he sees as the version "[. . .] apparemment la moins travaillSe,

PAGE 22

16 repres£ntant par consequent le point de depart de tous les Narcisses : NARCISSE PARLE Que je deplore ton eclat fatal et pur! Source magique, a mes larmes predestinee, Oil puiserent mes yeux dans un mortel azur Mon image de fleurs funestes couronnee ! Car, je m'aime!... 6 reflet ironique de Moi! mes baisers! lances 3. la calme fontaine, Et vous , roses! que vers ma vision lointaine Epand sur 1 ' eau ma main suave, avec effroi. Cher Narcissus! tes ldvres ont soif de tes ldvres! Et mes regards, dans ce cristal echangent leurs f ievres ! Faut-il ma vie a ton amour, 6 spectre cher?... Toi, ma splendeur, incline-toi vers l'amethyste De ce miroir dont m' attire la lueur triste y Ainsi qu'un blanc vase harmonieux, 6 ma chair!..." Henri Mondor , however, in "Deux poemes inedits," Hommage a Paul Valgry published by Les Nouvelles Litt6raires in 1945 gives the following version as "la toute premiere gbauche ingdite" of "Narcisse parle." The first five lines are the same as those of the version presented by Walzer. The lines which differ are: mes baisers jet£s a la calme fontaine, Roses vaines que vers mon image lointaine Epand sur 1 ' eau ma main suave avec effroi! De mes propres beautes ma bouche est amoureuse Je lis dans mes regards ma fureur malheureuse Ma vie adore un spectre inviolable et cher.

PAGE 23

17 ma soif de moi-meme, invoque l'amethyste De ce miroir dont m'attire la lueur triste Ou dort ce noble vase harmonieux, ma chair! (0, I, 1556-57). Both versions have the same date, 28 September 1890. Still another version of the sonnet and a prose poem rendition appear in 0, I, pages 1555 and 1557. Considerable additional background material is found there also (pp. 1552-1564) including about two-thirds of the lecture given by Valery entitled "Sur les 'Narcisse'" (pp. 155961). More of this same lecture, given at the home of Marguerite Fournier in Marseille on the 19th of September 9 1941, appears in Paul Valery vivant . During this talk Valery gave his personal account of the poetic origin of "Narcisse parle" explaining, among other things, the source of the poem's epigraph: PLACANDIS NARCISSAE MANIBUS. II existe §. Montpellier un jardin botanique oil j'allais tr&s souvent alors que j ' avais 1 ' age de 19 ans. Dans un coin assez retire 1 de ce jardin, qui £tait beaucoup plus sauvage et bien mieux autrefois, se trouve une voute et , dans cette sorte d ' anf ranctuosite" , une plaque de marbre qui porte trois mots: PLACANDIS NARCISSAE MANIBUS. Cette inscription m'avait fait rever; mais voici, en deux mots, son histoire . En 1820, a; cet emplacement, on avait trouve" un squelette et , d'apres certaines traditions locales, on pensa que c'^tait la sepulture de la fille du podte Young. Celle-ci morte & Montpellier vers la fin du XVIII e si§cle, n'avait pu etre enterr^e dans le cimeti§re, car elle £tait protestante. Son p$re l'aurait

PAGE 24

ensevelie, un soir de clair de lune. La jeune morte se nommait NARCISSA. On identifia avec elle les restes retrouves. Pour moi, ce nom de Narcissa suggerait celui de Narcisse. Puis 1' idee se dev§loppa du my the de ce jeune homme, parfaitement beau, ou qui se trouvait tel dans son image. J'ecrivis en ce temps-la un tout premier Narcisse , sonnet irr^gulier, et origine de tous ces poemes successif s . 10 That "Narcisse parle" was a sonnet first is not at all unexpected. Valery's first poems were almost exclusively sonnets: for example, "Solitude" and "Elevation de la lune" possibly written as early as 1887; "Les Chats blancs," 26 September 1889; "Mirabilia saecula," 1 October 1889; "Le Cygne, " 5 October 1889; "La Mer , " 10 October 1889; and "Fleur mystique," 22 June 1890. 11 His early devotion to the sonnet form is an indication of his genuine appreciation for the constraints of fixed forms and the strict conventions of poetry. Artistic discipline is an important aspect of his theory of poetry. In his theoretical writings, the necessity of form is apparent as early as 1889: II [the poet] se gardera de jeter sur le papier tout ce que lui soufflera aux minutes heureuses , la Muse Associationdes-Id^es. Mais, au contraire, tout ce qu'il aura imaging, senti, songe, echafaud§, passera au crible, sera pesS, epure , mis a" la forme et condense le plus possible pour gagner en force ce qu'il sacrifie en longueur: un sonnet, par exemple, sera une veritable quintessence, un osmazome, un sue concentre^ et cohobe, rSduit a quatorze vers,

PAGE 25

19 soigneusement compost en vue d ? un effet final et foudroyant . 12 Later in Calpin d'un po£te : "II faut faire des sonnets. On ne sait pas tout ce qu'on apprend a* faire des sonnets et des po$mes a" forme fixe" (0, I, 1454). His appreciation for the sonnet form, in particular, is apparent when 13 he states: "Gloire <§ternelle a* 1 ' inventeur du sonnet." In the course of an amusing passage, he recounts what he would say if he were to meet the inventor of the sonnet : "Mon cher confrdre, je vous salue tris humblement [. . .] je vous place dans mon coeur au-dessus de tous les pontes de la terre et des enfers! . . . Vous avez invente une forme 14 et dans cette forme les plus grands se sont adapte"s." Pierre Louys, however, asked Val6ry for a poem longer than a sonnet for the first issue of La Conque . Val£ry relates this in a letter to Gide : Sachez, 6 bon ndophyte pour qui d6jsi se brode le pectoral et 1' £phod, que Louis, notre magique Directeur (et pour moi aussi directeur spirituel ) , me demande instamment un certain prglude , initial pour la r£sonnante conque a paraitre. II ne me laisse pas mime le temps de me r£cuser et de lui faire observer quelle est son audace de r£clamer a" l'Indigne, quarante vers [. • -]15 The following poem of fifty-three lines is the one which was published by Louys in the first issue of La Conque on March 15, 1891 .

PAGE 26

20 Narcisse Parle Narcissae placandis manibus freres, triste lys, je languis de beauts Pour m'etre desire dans votre nudite Et , vers vous, Nymphes ! nymphes, nymphes des f ontaines Je viens au pur silence offrir mes larmes vaines Car les hynmes du soleil s ' en vont ! . . . C'est le soir. J'entends les herbes d'or grandir dans l 1 ombre sainte Et la lune perfide Sieve son miroir Si la fontaine claire est par la nuit gteinte! Ainsi, dans ces roseaux harmonieux, jetS Je languis, 6 saphir, par ma triste beauts, Saphir antique et fontaine magicienne Oil j'oubliai le rire de 1 ' heure ancienne! Que je deplore ton eclat fatal et pur, Source funeste a mes larmes predestinee, Ou puiserent mes yeux dans un mortel azur Mon image de fleurs humides couronn^e... HSlas! 1 ' Image est douce et les pleurs eternels!. A travers ces bois bleus et ces lys f raternel s Une lumidre ondule encor , pale amethyste Assez pour deviner la-bas le Fianc^ Dans ton miroir dont m'attire la lueur triste, Pale amethyste! o miroir du songe insens£! Voici dans l'eau ma chair de lune et de rosSe Dont bleuit la fontaine ironique et rusee; Voici mes bras d'argent dont les gestes sont purs. Mes lentes mains dans 1'or adorable se lassent D'appeler ce captif que les feuilles enlacent , Et je clame aux Schos le nom des dieux obscurs! Adieu! reflet perdu sous l'onde calme et close, Narcisse, 1 ' heure ultime est un tendre parfum Au coeur suave. Effeuille aux manes du dSfunt Sur ce glaque tombeau la funerale rose. Sois, ma ldvre, la rose effeuillant son baiser Pour que le spectre dorme en son reve apaise" , Car la Nuit parle si. demi-voix seule et lointaine Aux calices pleins d'ombre pale et si lagers, Mais la lune s' amuse aux myrtes allonges. Je t' adore, sous ces myrtes, 6 1 ' incertaine ! Chair pour la solitude eclose tristement Qui se mire dans le miroir au bois dormant, chair d' adolescent et de princesse douce!

PAGE 27

21 L'heure menteuse est molle au reve sur la mousse Et la d$lice obscure eraplit le bois profond. Adieu! Narcisse, encor ! Voici le Crgpuscule. La flute sur 1 ' azur enseveli module Des regrets de troupeaux sonores qui s'envont! . . . Sur la ISvre de gemme en 1 ' eau morte, 6 pieuse Beaute pareille au soir, Beaut£ silencieuse, Tiens ce baiser nocturne et tendrement fatal, Caresse dont l'espoir ondule ce crystal! Emporte-la dans 1' ombre, 6 ma chair exilge, Et puis, verse pour la lune, flute isolee, Verse des pleurs lointains en des urnes d ' argent . (Fragment) 16 It is not surprising that the poem has added after it the word "Fragment." The work, an ouvrage de commande , was, according to Valery, written very quickly: "J'ai fait ce podme en deux jours ou six heures de temps sur commande, comme vous le savez, et je m ' en repens. II ouvrira La Conque d ' une miserable sorte, et rougira de confusion...." 17 This form of "Narcisse parle" then was fixed by accident 18 in that Louys demanded it immediately (recall the details of Valery 's letter to Gide quoted earlier: "Louys [. . . ] me demande instamment un certain prelude . . . "). Val6ry would have preferred a much longer labor more consistent with his constantly held belief that poetry required long, arduous work, not quick facile verse making. J'ai pris ma plume, et me voillt dans les affres. Car le Narcisse longuement reve ne devrait se faire que minutieusement, k courtes heures! Et je souffre de la sentir s'augmenter facilement presque, et je suis tres emu car

PAGE 28

22 je vois 1 ' Oeuvre se detacher ingratement de moi et leurrer mon songe d'6phebe solitaire. De grace, si je le termine, et si je l'envoie a L. , jugez-le et sans avocat du diable , et damnez-le & jamais car cela ne pourra rien valoir si hativement fait. Mais vous ne vous imaginez pas quel d^chirement ! 19 In a later letter to Gide, he again deplores the hasty writing : Si vous avez lu mon hat if po&me, bien loin de 1' oeuvre r&v6e et que j ' espSre refaire un soir ou 1 'autre (car sans cet espoir je souffrirais) [. . .] 20 A corrected version, definitive if one can use the word definitive about a Valerian poem, considering his attitude that a poem is never finished, appeared in the Album de vers anciens published in 1920. This version, revised during the beginning period of Val£ry's return to poetry, has a number of significant changes. Before discussing in detail the elements of Val§ry's evolving poetic theory which are revealed by a close examination of the differences between the "Narcisse parle" of La Conque and the Album , it is helpful to place the poem in a historic perspective. This Narcissus poem, much more than Valery's subsequent works on the same subject, has specific literary antecedents. At least four writers materially affected the poem. As a result, the poem can be placed squarely in the Symbolist tradition. That "Narcisse parle" is a poem in the Symbolist manner is a key factor which must be analyzed

PAGE 29

23 in order to arrive at a clear understanding of the poem and its construction. First, however, a brief investigation of a much earlier tradition is necessary to establish Valery's fundamental lack of debt to another possible literary ancestor: Ovid. The Narcissus myth, particularly as it appears in the third book of Ovid's Metamorphoses , has received persistent attention from innumerable artists, especially poets, throughout the ages. Not the least of these imitations and variations on the theme have been in French literature. Beginning with the Middle Ages and Narcisus (a poem of the twelfth century), the Roman de la Rose , the Ovide moralise , and the troubadour lyrics, it is easy to find outstanding examples in every century of the use of the story of Narcissus as told by Ovid. The members of the Pleiade, notably Ronsard in "Le Narssis" and the sonnet "Que laschement . . . , " utilized elements from the myth for their love poetry. Metamorphosis, reflecting waters, and the problem of illusion were common themes in Baroque poetry so it is not surprising to see allusions to Narcissus in the works of such seventeenth century poets as Tristan, St. Amant, and Theophile de Viau . * In the eighteenth century, one of the most remarkable examples is Rousseau's "Narcisse ou 1' Amant de lui-meme." The nineteenth century is no exception, and by the end of the century, the figure of Narcissus became a veritable commonplace of Symbolism, occurring in the works of

PAGE 30

24 Rodenbach, Regnier, Jean Royere , Gide, indirectly in Mallarm£, especially in his Herodiade , and, of course, in Valery who carries the myth into the twentieth century. 25 Valery 's Narcissus, ever lucid, is a modern hero who knows from the start that his pursuit is in vain. He is, therefore, not the Narcissus of Ovid who falls in love with an image which he only belatedly recognizes as himself. To construct "Narcisse parle," Valery borrows 26 very little from the story as Ovid relates it. In addition to withholding essentially all of the narrative details of Narcissus' background and life, Valery also omits 27 completely Echo's part in the tale; and does not, for example, develop the vengeance motif which results in Narcissus' punishment for mocking and rebuffing Echo and the others who fall in love with him. Valery 's "Narcisse parle" is a non-narrative poem entirely free from the epic frame of Ovid's tale. Instead it is a lyrical poem intent on expressing an "etat d'ame," and aimed at evoking a mood rather than retelling an ancient myth. There is, however, one significant motif which Valery borrows ever so subtly from Ovid: the transformation myth. The poem never alludes directly to Narcissus' ultimate transformation into a flower as in Ovid's account. Yet, the idea is certainly suggested by the opening words: "0 freres! tristes lys ..." and in the early version, by the line: "A travers ces bois bleus et ces lys

PAGE 31

2 5 fraternels ..." which continues the implications of the first line by the choice of the word "fraternels." In addition, the beginning of the line: "Mon image de fleurs ..." also causes the transformation to come to mind although it might not have if Valgry had turned it around to read: "Mon image couronnee de fleurs humides!" Val£ry also seems to have absorbed some of Ovid's 28 vocabularly. In Val£ry's "Narcisse parle" as in Ovid's account, there are several references to Narcissus' tears and to the fact that his efforts are in vain. In Ovid's Metamorphoses : Cum risi, adrides; lacrimas quoque saepe notavi Me lacrimante tuas: nutu quoque signa remittis (lines 459-60) . Et lacrimis turbavit aquas, obscuraque moto (1. 475). Inrita fallaci quotiens dedit oscula fonti! (1. 427). Credule, quid f rustra simulacra fugacia captas? (1. 432). 'Heu! frusta dilecte puer ! '. . . (1. 500). Val6ry combines the two in: Je viens au pur silence offrir mes larmes vaines . There is a reference to tears in the last line: Une diversity de nos larmes d' argent. Again the ideas are combined ir, Hglas! L' image est vaine et les pleurs gternels! The deeply discouraged tone of "Helas" in the preceding line reminds the reader of Narcissus' expressions of

PAGE 32

26 grief in Ovid's line: "Indoluit, quotiensque puer miserabilis ' eheu ! ' " (1. 495), and in line 500 already quoted above. In Valery's work, the way Narcissus is described attempting to reach the image: "Mes lentes mains dans l'or adorable se lassent/ D'appeler ce captif que les feuilles enlacent," corresponds, in a general way, to Ovid ' s description : "In mediis quotiens visum captantia collum/ Bracchia mersit aquis nee se deprendit in illis" (1. 429-30). The use of the color silver to describe the setting is found in both: "J'entends 1 ' herbe d ' argent grandir dans 1 ' ombre sainte," and in Ovid: "Fons erat inlimis, nitidis argenteus undis," (line 407). There is, in fact, a general similarity in setting. Valery's landscape, like Ovid's has a pictorial quality. Its silvery cast is somewhat reminiscent of the silvery bright water and grassy area described by Ovid. To the extent that Ovid's setting can be said to reflect the mood of the languishing Narcissus, there is an additional parallelism. Overall, however, the ideal and unreal character of Valery's decor is more in line with the typical symbolist landscape. Maja Goth sums up this aspect, setting the poem squarely in the Symbolist tradition in terms of theme as well as landscape : Valery's first poem about Narcissus, Narcisse parle , which exists in different versions, is entirely in the symbolistic tradition of a search for the most exquisite form of beauty to be found in poetry. Therefore we have a scenery that is beyond reality:

PAGE 33

27 Narcisse stays at a moonlit forest pond; a nymph, lilies, silvery reeds, murmuring wells, night-blue woods, and sweet melodies of a flute are the traditional elements of that unreal landscape . 29 The fountain's reflection of Narcissus surrounded by an enchanted landscape becomes the symbol of perfect beauty, endlessly sought, but ultimately unattainable. As Goth indicates : This landscape is an image of Narcissus himself and Narcissus is the archetype of beauty. Absolute beauty can be found only outside of reality; therefore the enchanted, dreamlike and unreal aspect of the landscape. The purity of the objects: the reflecting surface of the water, the well, the jewels, the lily, the calix, the star[s], all of them symbols of purity, shall lead to the formation of absolute beauty. Narcisse laments the impossibility to reach this absolute, to possess it. 30 The symbols of purity catalogued by Goth are, of course, commonplace occurrences in Symbolist poetry as are the Mallarmean words "azur" and "pur" also found in the poem. The preceding brief introduction to the elements of a Symbolist landscape and typical Symbolist vocabulary point to Valery's debt to Symbolism. In fact, the "Narcisse parle" of 1891 can be seen as a period piece since it was written under the direct stimulus of the decadent and symbolist milieu. Environment and, more specifically, influence are two overlapping and essential factors which must be reviewed in a detailed consideration of this poem. At least four distinguished literary

PAGE 34

28 figures need to be discussed in this connection: Huysmans, Gide, Poe, and Mallarme. All four were of consequence in the creation of the poem.31 In general, a solution to the question of influence remains very elusive and extremely difficult to pinpoint conclusively. Valery attached great importance to originality. He once said: "Je me mire dans cette phrase du P. Hardouin (166..): 'Croyez-vous que je me suis donng la peine de me lever tous les jours de ma vie a~ quatre heures du matin pour penser comme tout le monde? ' " (0, II, 1536). He usually refused to admit, and often vehemently denied, that anyone had influenced his work. Yet, the question of influence which certainly becomes negligible very soon in Valery : s literary career, cannot be ignored in the early and formative period of his poetic history and is of special interest in the case of "Narcisse parle . " 32 In 1891, in the middle of the Symbolist period, when "Narcisse parle" was first published, Valery, by means of correspondence, had only recently begun his relationship with Mallarme. Earlier, he had been introduced to Mallarme' s work by Gide, Louys and the Symbolist reviews, after first reading short excerpts from "L'Aprdsmidi d'un faune" and "Herodiade" in Huysmans' novel A Rebours . A Rebours itself had made a very deep impression on Val6ry, who kept it as his constant livre de chevet and 3T called it his Bible. As for Gide, who was at that time

PAGE 35

29 definitely in his own Symbolist period, he had just become close friends with Valery, seeing him often for serious conversations and corresponding with him frequently, sometimes even twice a day. In the case of Poe, Valery' s admiration, extremely fervent during this period, was to be of long standing, culminating when he wrote "Au sujet d 1 Eureka " published in 1923. The following discussion of the four literary figures mentioned above focuses on how their influence and ideas are reflected in "Narcisse parle" and the poetic theory which underlies it. The contribution of Gide and Huysmans is less dramatic than that of Mallarme and Poe, and it is also somewhat less tangible and more general. Actually, the influence of all four often tends to overlap in broad areas. For example, since Gide was often in Paris, Symbolist poems and, especially, the works of Mallarme were more readily available to him than to Valery at Montpellier and, consequently, Gide often copied whole poems for the highly appreciative Valery and sent them along with his frequent letters. Valery was certainly aware of Mallarme' s sincere appreciation of Poe ' s poetry and technique, and Valery not only discovered Mallarme 's "Herodiade" in A Rebours , he read there of des Esseintes' great admiration for Poe. Although it could probably be argued that there is more of Mallarme' s "Herodiade" in Valery 's "Narcisse parle;" there is also something of Huysman's hero, des

PAGE 36

30 Esseintes. Valery's Narcissus may not be as neurasthenic and pathological as des Esseintes, but there is in him that acute sensitivity to his surroundings and the desire and tendency to reduce life to inactivity and contemplation The languishing weariness and deep melancholy associated with the realization of the impossibility of sustained relief from "ennui" is also similar although it is equally apparent in Herodiade . In discussing the impression of A Rebours on the young poet, Mondor makes the following judicious assessment : Sans faire siens tous les aphorismes ricanants de Baudelaire, chers a des Esseintes, et les intermittences d'un coeur mis £ nu , il n ' en excluait pas 1 ' envoutement : ' Le plaisir d ' etonner et la satisfaction orgueilleuse de ne jamais etre etonne' lui semblaient des principes un peu sommaires; mais le devoir, pour le dandy, de * vivre et dormir devant un miroir' , le ramenait facilement a un Narcisse dont il ne devait plus se separer. Quant a la solitude, 'loi de tous les esprits superieurs', il ne sentait que trop, dej&, la part qu'il devrait toujours lui consentir. 4 Jacques Charpier feels that by the time of "Narcisse parle," Valery had shaken off the influence of all except Mallarme . A l'epoque, pousse a ecrire par Louys, favorise de la plume mallarmeenne , ValSry eprouve alors la totale influence de son precieux correspondant . Elle chasse de lui les idoles qui, depuis sa quatorzieme annee, s'y etaient accumulees. Baudelaire, Huysmans lui-meme sont decouronnes. Toute la place, dans 1' esprit de

PAGE 37

31 35 Valery, appartient au seul Mallarme. Valery' s letters, however, attest to a serious and continued interest in Huysmans and A Rebours not to mention Poe: Je vienspar hasard ! de relire une cinquieme fois A rebours et je ne songe plus qu ' a" le lire encore. Ne me mSprisez pas trop, mais c'est mon livre. Quand je sens trop la fadeur de me voir, je deguste les pages sur la Salome de Moreau, le voyage fictif & Londres, le finale si cur ieusement morne, et je me rejouis en mon coeur. This was written to Pierre Louys on the 19th of November 1890, when Val£ry supposedly sent "Narcisse parle" to him! Just a short time before that, in another letter to Louys, dated 21 September 1890, Val£ry wrote: "Tu sais que j'idolatre Huysmans . . ." and as late as 1895 the following note appears in the Cahiers : "Les hommes vivants et notoires que j' admire personnellement sont Messieurs H. Poincar£, Lord Kelvin, S. Mallarm4, J.K. Huysmans, Ed. Degas, et peut-etre M. Cecil Rhodes. Cela fait 6 noms . " Further evidence of the effect of A Rebours on Valery is suggested by his discussion of decadence. At least at one point, he thought of himself as a decadent rather than a symbolist. For example, he wrote the following in a letter to Pierre Louys on June 22, 1890: Voila' pourquoi je ne m' intitule pas Esthete ni symbol iste cela a des significations trop precises et trop £troites. Je suis esthete et symboliste mais $. mon heure, mais je veux quand il

PAGE 38

32 me plaira de le faire, verlainise r , oublier la rime, le rythme, la grammaire, vagir a ma guise et laisser crier mes sens..et je suis Decadent. In the same letter, Valery' s definition of a decadent is a melange of des Esseintes and Mallarme: ...decadent pour moi veut dire, artiste ultra affine, protege par une langue savante contre 1 ' assaut du vulgaire, encore vierge des sales baisers du prof esseur de litterature, glorieux du mepris du journaliste, mais elaborant pour lui-meme et quelques dizaines de ses pairs, alambiquant de subtiles essences d'art, et surtout vivant la beaut§, attentif & toutes ses manifestations, se melant a la vie, toujours par quelque cote original et vibrant. 39 The refined and unusual language of "Narcisse parle" and the desire to evoke absolute beauty are expressions of a devotion to decadence as Valery describes it, as is his general disdain for Henri Chantavoine ' s article praising his poem. A still greater influence on "Narcisse parle" and especially the poetic theory behind it was Poe. Like des Esseintes, and, of course, Baudelaire and Mallarme before him, Valery held Poe in very high esteem. In his first letter to Mallarme describing himself, Valery wrote: "Mais c ' est qu'il est profondement penetre des doctrines savantes du grand Edgar Allen Poe peut-etre le plus subtil artiste de ce sieScle! Ce nom seul suffira a vous montrer sa Poetique." It was probably Poe more than anyone else who affected Valery's earliest theories on poetry. T.S. Eliot suggests that Baudelaire was primarily

PAGE 39

33 affected by Poe the prototype of le poete maudit while Mallarme' was interested in Poe's poetry and technique. 41 About Valery, Eliot says: "But when we come to Valery, it is neither the man nor the poetry, but the theory of 42 poetry, that engages his attention and admiration." While this is somewhat of an oversimplification, Eliot's appraisal of Poe's influence is, in essence, correct. Evidence of the impression of Poe's theories on Valery and his acceptance of them are apparent in his early essay on poetic theory, "Sur la technique litt6raire," in his letters to Gide, Louys, Gustave Fourment, Mallarme and others, as well as in the poem "Narcisse parle." The most important aspect of Poe's theory as far as Valery was concerned was the role of lucidity in artistic creation. "-Celui qui m'a le plus fait sentir sa puissance fut Poe. J'y ai lu ce qu'il me fallait, pris ce delire de 43 la lucidity qu'il communique. The idea that a poem should be written in full consciousness would always seem eminently wise to Valery. There are several other points of Poe's theory which Valery took up seriously. Lucienne Cain mentions that in his lectures on poetics at the Coll&ge de France, it was obvious that Valery was not limited to a general comprehension of Poe's principles, but that he had penetrated deeply into the analysis of his commentaries. She goes on to stress the following important points which are relevant to

PAGE 40

34 "Narcisse parle." On se souvient que pour la composition du Corbeau , Poe dit avoir essaye de fixer au pr£alable trois qualites essentielles: d'abord, la longueur, tout poeme, selon lui, n'existant que s'il est court. Ensuite, il s'applique a determiner la 'province' la region psychique oQ il va situer son oeuvre , et enfin le ton . La 'province' etant trouvee, et c'est celle de la beaut6, le ton le mieux approprie pour lui convenir sera celui de la tristesse, tristesse, qui nulle part ne s'exprime plus que par 1 ' idee de la mort . Voila done poses les elements prealables selon lesquels le poeme vivra et se deroulera; ils enferment en eux la cle nerveuse dans laquelle tout le morceau va s'inscrire pour se communiquer aux autres et agir sur eux. Cette cle , c'est ce que Poe nomme the effect ." Valery's lectures at the College de France did not begin until 1937, but it is evident that Valery took Poe ' s ideas seriously much earlier. Valery strictly adhered to Poe ' s essential considerations in the composition of "Narcisse parle." The overall tone is extremely melancholy. The "province" is beauty. Symbols of beauty permeate the poem, and Narcissus himself is the archetype of beauty. Sadness is heightened by the references to death. In the poem, there is the underlying theme of the death of Narcissa, the young and beautiful daughter of the poet Young and the imminent death of Narcissus himself. In Poe ' s poetry, the death of a beautiful young girl is a cliche. Moreover, Valery adheres to a general rule of Poe's that he will eschew later. The poem must be less than one hundred lines. This is true of the

PAGE 41

35 early version published in La Conque which was fiftythree lines and the later version, also, which had fiftyeight lines. The insistence on this rule as well as the implications of Poe's idea of calculated effects is apparent in an excerpt from the following letter to Karl Bo&s, director of the Courrier libre , who published Vale"ry's early sonnet "Elevation de la lune." "Je suis partisan d ' un po§me court et concentre, une breve eVo45 cation close par un vers sonore et plein." Poe's theory of the necessity of the calculated effect is clearly reiterated by Vale"ry in "Sur la technique litte'raire . " ... La litte"rature est 1 ' art de se jouer de 1 ' ame des autres. C'est avec cette brutalite* scientifique que notre £poque a vu poser le probldme de l'esthetique du Verbe, c ' est-£-dire le probl&me de la Forme. Etant donne" une impression, un reve, une pens£e, if faut l'exprimer de telle maniere, qu'on produise dans l'ame d ' un auditeur le maximum d'effetet un effet enti^rement calcule" par 1' Artiste. (0, I, 1809). Vale'ry discusses several other points in "Sur la technique litt£raire" which attest to his serious attention to Poe's theory, including the importance of repetition and frequent alliteration. These technical aspects will be taken up later in the discussion of the variants of the poem where they become important. In addition, confidence in technique and the idea of a poet as a conscious craftsman are ideas of Poe that definitely coincided with Val§ry's own ideas on the creative act.

PAGE 42

36 That there is an overlapping and a combination of the theories of Poe and Mallarme behind Valexy's "Narcisse parle" is apparent in Valgry's second letter to Mallarme" written when he sent the poem to him. Already in his first letter to Mallarme', Val6ry had indicated the role of Poe and the efficacy of the short poem in his own theory of poetry: Pour se faire en quelques mots connaitre, il [Val£ry] doit af firmer qu'il pr^fdre les poemes courts, concentres pour un £clat final , ou les rythmes sont comme les marches marrnor£ennes de l'autel que couronne le dernier vers! non qu'il puisse se vanter d' avoir r6alis£ cet id£al ! Mais c'est qu'il est profond^ment p£n£tr£ des doctrines savantes du grand Edgar Allan Poe peut-etre le plus subtil artiste de ce siegle! Ce nom seul suffira a vous montrer de quelle sorte est sa Po£tique. In the second letter to Mallarmg, Val£ry adds the following on the subject of Poe: Une devotion toute particuli^re a Edgar Poe me conduit alors a" donner pour royaume au poete, l'analogie. II precise 1 ' 6cho myst£rieux des choses, et leur secrete harmonic, aussi reelle, aussi certaine qu ' un rapport mathemat ique a tous esprits artistes, c ' est-a-dire , et comme il sied, idSalistes violents.... That Valgry was also keenly aware of Mallarm£'s theories and sincerely appreciated the perfection of his poems is obvious when he assigns to poetry the ability to explain the world and underscores the important role of music in poetry: La poe\sie m'apparait comme une explication du Monde delicate et belle,

PAGE 43

3 7 contenue dans une musique singuliere et continuelle. Tanclis que 1 ' Art metaphysique voit l'Univers construit d' idees pures et absolues, la peinture, de couleurs, l'art poetique sera de la considerer vetue de syllabes, organise en phrases . Considere en sa splendeur nue et magique, le mot s'gl&ve a la puissance elementaire d 'une note, d'une couleur, d'un claveau de voute. Le vers se manifeste eomme un accord permettant 1' introduction des deux modes, du l'gpithete mysterieuse et sacrSe, miroir des souterraines suggestions, est comrae un accompagnement prononce en sourdine. . . . Alors s' impose la conception supreme d'une haute symphonie, unissant le monde qui nous entoure au monde qui nous hante, construite selon une rigoureuse architechtonique, arretant des types simplifies sur fond d'or et d ' azur , et liberant le poete du pesant secours des banales philosophies, et des fausses tendresses, et des descriptions inanimges. . . (0, I, 1740) . In this letter, Valery is explaining what he had hoped to suggest with his own poem "Narcisse parle:" Pour une seconde fois, je viens solliciter de vous un conseil, et connaltre si quelques reveries esthetiques accumulees cet hiver en province lointaine n'£taient pas aventureuses et illusoires . Un pogme public" dans La Conque sous le titre "Narcisse parle" les a quelque peu indiquSes, mais 1' experience comme souvent s'est jouee de la th^orie, et me laisse immobile et perplexe (0, I, 1740). He believes that Mallarme' alone has been able to reach the ideal: "L ' aprds-midi du faune est seule en France &

PAGE 44

38 re"aliser cet ide'al esth^tique. . . (0, I, 1740). Guy Michaud, quite correctly, sees something of Mall army's faun in "Narcisse parle" but his emphasis is questionable in the light of the importance of "He"rodiade: " which will be discussed later. Michaud remarks: "Si Vale'ry imite Mallarme', c'est surtout le MaHamae" du Faune , le po$te du Midi, des chaleurs capiteuses et de la volupte*. Narcisse n ' eVoque-t-il pas le Faune, accompagne" d'ara48 besques et de modulations sur la flute?" Val£ry's second letter to Mallarm<§, which has been quoted here in some detail , was a summary of important aspects of Mallarm^'s own theories about poetry and a fledgling poet's tribute to a master poet. At the time of "Narcisse parle" art is almost a religion for Val£ry, and he shares Mallarm^'s expectations for poetry as the 49 means to an explanation of the world. Other aspects of Mallarm£'s theory and practice which impressed Val£ry and reflected and enhanced his own thoughts and theories were the emphasis on highly polished traditional 'forms and the necessity for musicality, the use of difficult syntax, and unusual words often employed in their etymological sense. The whole idea of poetry as an exploration of and experiment on language appealed strongly to Val^ry as well as Mallarme 's keen awareness of problems of technique and language as obstacles to be overcome. In "Narcisse parle," in particular, there is a Mallarmean "elan vers la purete," an attempt to paint not

PAGE 45

:i9 the thing but the effect that it produces" and to suggest that the essence of things is behind the appearance. The choice of the theme of Narcissus dramatizes the rejection 50 of the banal world and the demands of every day life. The vocabulary of "Narcisse parle" including words like "funerale," "am6thyste," "saphir," etc. echoes the cultivated, obscure, rarefied language used by Mallarme' in his i 51 work. As Mondor suggests, Valery saw in Mallarme' what he felt the theories of Poe required. Ce que Baudelaire avait ecrit d'Edgar Poe, lui Sclairait, depuis un an, un ensorcelant id£al . Et voilS, d£sormais, que Mallarme lui parassait remplir tout a* fait les conditions peu communes £num6r£es par Poe: une vision impeccable du vrai, dut-elle etre quelquefois impitoyable, une si exquise delicatesse des sens qu'une note fausse les dut torturer, la finesse infaillible du gout, enfin un amour du Beau pousse jusqu'S la passion tyrannique. Valery, a* vingt ans, venait de se dgcouvrir le maitre attendu. A 1' opposS de ceux qui croient, au moment d'£crire, "£ leur frenesie subtile ou a" leur intuition extatique" lui aussi ne se satisfaisait qu'apr&s d ' inexorables ratures et cent ibauches et rebuts. II trouvait, dans les scrupules, les reprises et la plus lucide se\ T §rite, 1' heureuse promesse de se surpasser. En ces exigences harassantes, le disciple enthousiaste decouvrait , sans.risque d'erreur, le meilleur de soi. The entire scope of the Mallarmg/Valery relationship can not be detailed here where the prime concern is "Narcisse parle." A helpful introduction to this

PAGE 46

40 complicated matter is Mondor's L'Heureuse Rencontre de Valery et Mallarme . 53 However difficult it is to adequately explain the range of Mallarme's real influence on Valery and his work, given, among other things, Valery 's contra54 dictory statements on this matter, it is clear, nevertheless, that the early Valery was deeply moved and even tremendously awed by Mallarme's poetry, especially "H§rodiade." Having been introduced to about eight lines 55 of it in A Rebours , he avidly and impatiently sought more of it. Vous etes bien fortune de posseder Mallarme\ Moi je grapille ses poemes un peu partout. Quant a Herodiade, je la recherche depuis deux annees en vain et je d6sespere de la lire. Quel ennui que la province I^ 6 Louys then sent him the section beginning "Oui, c ' est pour moi, pour moi que je fleuris, d£serte . . . " to "Herodiade au clair regard de diamant." (A little over thirty lines.) Val§ry discusses his overall impression of these lines in a letter to Gustave Fourment : Ces poemes me font toujours songer a" ces perles que les poules d£daignaient ! ... Ce qui fait leur splendeur smaragdine, leur perfection et leur attirance de gemmes, c'est qu'ils sont en meme temps coraiae elles, polis et brillants et pourtant sans fond, in-sondables, avec des dessous mysterieux.'de reves , de correspondances . II y a sous ces vers des etages d ' associations d' id£es, des evocation multiplesle tout sous une apparence dure et luisante, obscure pour qui cherche avec son raisonnement au lieu de trouver avec sa reverie! La difficulte vaincue est immense, §treindre aussi etroitement des

PAGE 47

41 visions confusernent tristes, conserver sous le vetement precis et lumineux le vague necessaire pour que 1 'apparition puisse y circuler c ' est gnorrne! enorme ! ' Finally, Gide sent him more of the poem. Valery was overwhelmed and even more pointedly ashamed of his own work. Referring to his Narcissus once again he wrote: H^rodiade m'hallucine, la glauque H6rodiade en l'or sinistre des flammes de ses cheveux, vetue comme d'un triste et brulant faste qui embrase les miroirs. Et je souffre, je saigne de pitie d' avoir dans ce tiroir tant de stances indigentes et ce deplorable Narcisse . N' avoir pas fait ces vers et faire des vers! Et ce podme supreme m'oppresse comme un remords ! It is known then that Valery had access to at least some fragments of Mallarm^'s "Herodiade" when he wrote "Narcisse parle" (probably two fragments, about thirty-eight or forty lines in all). The cold bejeweled Herodiade who blossoms for herself in an amethyste garden ("Oui, c ' est pour moi, pour moi que je fleuris, d£serte!/ Vous le 59 savez, jardins d' amethyste . . . ") seems to have some obvious echoes in "Narcisse parle." There is not only the choice of the theme of Narcissus before the mirror but the adoption of a vocabulary resplendant with words like "saphirs," "amethystes , " "or," "gemme," "cristal," "glac£," and heavy with words like "meurs," "nu" and "nudit§. " Lines like "Je t 'adore, sous ces myrtes, 6 l'incertain/ Chair pour la solitude Sclose tristement/ Qui se mire dans le miroir au bois dormant," (where "eclose" is a part of a series of flower and perfume images

PAGE 48

42 including "calices" and "delices" also found in "Herodiade") are not unlike: "Et tout, atour de moi, vit dans 1 ' idolatrie/ D'un miroir qui refldte en son calme dormant/ 60 Herodiade au clair regard de diamant . . . ." Mondor, in fact, sees the eight lines first read by Val£ry in A Rebours as the probable source of the poem: Sept ou huit vers d ' H erodiade , cit£s dans son livre par Huysmans, s'e"taient aussitSt imposes a le mgmoire de Paul Valery et lui 6taient devenus, pour longtemps, lecon elective, doux enlevement de 1 ' ame . Se murmurer ce court monologue l'enivrait immanquablement et le theme de Narcisse, peut-etre, s' insinua en son esprit grace a ces rneme vers . He is referring to the lines from ". . .0 miroir!/ Eau froide par 1' ennui dans ton cadre gelee" to "J'ai de mon reve §pars connu la nudit£!" One of Gide's criticisms of "Narcisse parle" is directed at just this aspect of the poem: "'Ainsi, dans les roseaux harmonieux jete' sent un peu trop Herodiade au miroir soit dit en passant." There can be no doubt that Mallarme's "Herodiade" affected the Valery of the period of "Narcisse parle." To sum up the overall impression which Mallarme's work made on him in this early period, Valery 's own words on the subject are a revealing testament: II me souvient comme je me suis presque detache d'Hugo et de Baudelaire a. dix-neuf ans, quand le sort sous les yeux me mit quelques fragments d ' Herodiade ; et Les Fleurs , et Le Cygne . Je connaissais enfin la beaute sans pretextes, que j'attendais sans le savoir. Tout,

PAGE 49

43 ici , ne reposait que sur la vertu enchanteresse du langage. Je suis parti vers la mer assez 6loign£e, tenant les copies si pr£cieuses que je venais de recevoir; et le soleil dans toute sa force, la route eblouissante , et ni 1 ' azur , ni 1 ' encens des plantes brulantes ne m'gtaient rien, tant ces vers inouis m'exercaient et me poss6daient au plus vivant de moi.° Gide is the fourth and last figure to be studied here as a force behind Val£ry's "Narcisse parle." A brief discussion of the relationship between Gide and Valery is necessary to round out the influence factor so crucial to 64 an understanding of Valery in this early formative period. The point of contact between Gide and Valery' s "Narcisse parle" is not merely the criticism related to "Herodiade" alluded to above; yet there may be little or even no actual internal evidence in "Narcisse parle" which can be 65 traced directly to Gide. On the other hand, a number of factors are relevant in at least an external way. At the time of "Narcisse parle" the friendship between Gide and Valery, which was in its first stages, seems to converge at two main points: Mallarme' and the theme of Narcissus. As pointed out earlier, Gide generously copied long excerpts from Mallarme 's work to send to Valery who otherwise would not have had access to them. When Valery was undergoing the influence of Mallarme, Gide was, too. Depuis, tout est change 1 , Mallarme' surtout en est cause. II me semble en l'aimant que je n'avais encore jamais

PAGE 50

44 aim§ ni admire: c'est de raoi en lui une fusion ^perdue. II a fait tout les vers que j'aurais reve de faire. Flourishing in the same literary climate, both wrote, at approximately the same time, a work about Narcissus reflecting, in their own way, the prevailing literary movement Symbolism. Gide's prose work, which he dedi68 cated to Val6ry, is entitled "Traits du Narcisse" and 69 has the subtitle "Th6orie du symbole." As dissimilar as the two works are, it is probable that both had the same point of origin. Gide and Val£ry conversed seriously in the botanical garden at Montpellier which Val6ry cites as the origin of his "Narcisse parle." Gide mentions this very place in his "Les Nourritures terrestres" as J. J. Thierry points out in notes which accompany the Pl£iade edition of "Le Traite' du Narcisse." C'est k Montpellier, oQ Gide e'tait alle rejoindre son oncle Charles, que la l£gende de Narcisse leur inspira, a Paul Valery qu'il y avait rencontre\ et a luimeme , deux de leurs plus purs chefsd'oeuvre. Le Jardin botanique de la cite servit de cadre £t des entretiens qu'une entiere communaute de vues disposait en faveur du my the. Gide a fait allusion, dans ses Nouritures terrestres , a ce dialogue: 'A Montpellier, le Jardin botanique. [. . . ] Je me souviens qu'avec Ambroise (Paul ValSry), un soir comme aux jardins d'Academus, nous nous assimes sur une tombe ancienne, qui est tout entouree de cypres; et nous causions lentement en machant des p^tales de roses . . . .' The Gide/Val<§ry correspondence indicates that Gide finished his Traite 1 months after Valery had finished

PAGE 51

45 "Narcisse parle" for La Co n que . In fact, if the dates are correct in Lettres a~ quelques-uns , Valery had actually sent Louys the version for La Conque in November but did not meet Gide until December. On the other hand, the letters dated by Gide (since Valery rarely dated letters) in the Gide/Val£ry correspondence give the impression that Valery was still working on the poem in February. It was published in March but to further complicate the problem of dates, Valery says in "Sur les 'Narcisse: '" Au moment de composer le premier numero il me demanda d'urgence un poeme. J' dcrivis en deux jours le morceau intitule" Narcisse parle , developpement du sonnet dont il vient d'etre question. Mais, la revue ne parut que six mois apr£s. J'aurais pr<§fer6 avoir le temps de travailler ce theme (p. 284). Based on a letter from Gide to Valery on the 23rd of June 1891, Thierry speaks of the indirect influence of Valery on Gide's Traits . D'autre part, la Correspondance GideValery revile de precieux indices sur l'£criture du Narcisse . et sur 1 ' influence indirecte exercee par Valery: "... J'61abore doucement le Traite du Narcisse , dont je vous ai vaguement parle et que sans vos paroles des soirs, je n ' eusse peut-etre pas ecrit ou pas vu tel tout au moins. 7^When it was finished, Gide sent his Narcisse to Valery just as Valery had sent "Narcisse parle" to him, but the letters suggest that Valery" s written commentary on the 72 work was practically non-existent. " Gide, on the other hand, seems to have studied Val§ry's poem quite diligently,

PAGE 52

4 6 Vale'ry had rather urgently requested his opinion of the work. His remarks on the poem appear in a long letter to Vale"ry dated March 1, 1891, referred to briefly already in connection with Mallarme's Herodiade . While there appears to be no concrete evidence that either author directly influenced the other's Narcisse , it seems probable that Gide stimulated a few of the changes which Val6ry made in the new version for the Album de vers anciens . Looking closely at the two versions of the poem, it is possible to get some idea of Valery's reaction to Gide's criticism of the work. The version Gide discusses was quoted earlier in its entirety. Individual lines will be repeated here as they are compared and contrasted with the new version. The entire new version will be quoted when the analysis of the two versions has been completed. Gide begins his critique of "Narcisse parle" by intimating that he has read the poem many times. He states that he likes it but with reservations. Et maintenant parlons d'autres choses: je relis pour la ?eme fois votre Narcisse : il me faut vous avouer que je ne l'aime pas sans restrictions comme certaines autres de vos pieces, peutetre parce qu'un tel sujet traite' par vous promettait de plus lentes delices et que certains vers exquis rappelaient ces promesses et faisaient d$plorer lgur esseulement dans cette piece . . . . Gide feels that the following lines from the poem are exquisite :

PAGE 53

47 J'entends les herbes d'or grandir dans 1 'ombre sainte ...Si la fontaine claire est par la nuit eteinte Mes lentes mains dans l'or adorable se lassent '° and then he says, "et bien d'autres et surtout le quatrain : Adieu! reflet perdu sous l'onde calme et close Narcisse, 1 ' heure ultime est un tendre parfum Au coeur suave. Effeuille aux manes du defunt Sur ce glaque tombeau la funerale rose. Cela est parfait: il me plait de les ecrire encore et la perfection de ceux-ci m'encourage aux critiques adjacentes . . . . " The lines Gide likes will be discussed first. Of the lines mentioned above by Gide as exquisite, "J' entends les herbes d'or grandir dans l'ombre sainte" has received considerable scholarly attention, probably more than any other line in the whole poem. In an article entitled "Formules valeryennes , " Jean Hytier discusses the possible source or sources for the basic idea expressed. He notes that the idea appears in Racan and Malherbe and also finds its expression in Baudelaire, Mallarme, Wordsworth and Poe , among others. In Poe, for example, he quotes the lines from "Al Aaraaf" (Part II): "The murmur that springs/ From the growing of grass." Hytier concludes, however, that Valery probably got the idea from Chateaubriand, specifically chapter 13 on the "fete des Rogations" in Le Genie du Christianisme .

PAGE 54

He quotes the following: On croit entendre de toutes parts les bl£s gerraer dans la terre et les plantes croitre et se developper; des voix inconnues s'^levent dans le silence des bois, comme le choeur des anges champetres dont on a implore" le secours, et les soupirs du rossignol parviennent a: l'oreille des^vieillards assis non loin des tombeaux.'' From the first version to the second, Val^ry changes the line Gide liked so much only slightly from "J'entends les herbes d'or grandir dans 1 'ombre sainte" to "J'entends 1 ' herbe d' argent grandir dans 1 'ombre sainte. " Paul Pieltain, who admires the line as intensely as Gide does, discusses the significance of the change in an article devoted almost entirely to this one line and its variants. Of the change from gold to silver, he says : Mais cette correction, inspired soit par un souci de justesse (la nuit tombe et la lune commence de luire), soit par le d£sir de substituer a un mot plus qu ' a une couleur trop cher au Valery 'symboliste' un terme moins voyant , commandait que le nom fut mis au singulier; ainsi , les herbes d 'or , qui pouvaient tout aussi bien §voquer les bl£s ou encore de grandes herbes sauvages ou s ' attarderait le soleil -, font place & 1 ' herbe d ' argent , plus vague et d£ja plus mysterieuse. V8 As Pieltain points out more specifically later (p. 36), the change from gold to silver is more in keeping with the rising moonlight. It also gives the passage the silvery tint of Ovid's setting. The line is a subtle way

PAGE 55

49 of conveying the approach of night and the rising of the moon which is casting its silvery hue in lengthening shadows as it moves across the grass and towards the water where it will ultimately replace the image of Narcissus. The line undergoes another change and reaches its final form in the "Fragments du Narcisse" where it becomes: "J'entends 1 ' herbe des nuits croitre dans 1 'ombre sainte." The second line Gide mentions: "Si la fontaine claire est par la nuit eteinte," Val§ry omits almost completely in the new version. Rather than an outright rejection of Gide's taste and appreciation, however, the near total omission and change to: "Jusque dans les secrets de la fontaine Eteinte" may be connected with the problem of lighting which Gide brings up later in his letter : Pour en revenir au Narcisse, vous dirais-je encore que je regrette trop de diversity d' impressions , ou mieux de lumigres; cela manque un peu d'unite 1 d'eclairage et l'on ne sait plus tres bien, par suite d'une absence des ombres, d'ou vient le jour, la nocturne clart§: de cette atmosphere un peu trop £gale (prenez cela la plus symboliquement possible, ou ne le prenez pas du tout) resulte une apparence un peu fragmentaire ; chaque vision parait br£ve et module avant de s'etre melodieusement 6ploy§e; avec ce nombre de vers, vous auriez pu , il me semble, gvoquer de plus lentes images. J'ai peur que vous ne vous soyez un peu presse pour l'<§crire et si cela etait, il vous faudrait prendre le courage de le refaire, la Diece en vaut le peine

PAGE 56

50 Although Valgry did not completely change the lighting in the poem, it is obvious that he made some corrections which while they may not speak directly to Gide's criticism, nevertheless, do enhance and improve the poem. So that the poem would have a chiaroscuro effect, Val£ry at first , may have been trying to emphasize openly the antithesis, cla ir / obscur , for example, in such lines as: "Car les hymnes du soleil s ' en vont ! . . /C ' est le soir , " and "Si la fontaine claire est par la nuit £teinte." Since in Valery's poem, it is not merely or actually the darkness which is the threat but rather the moonlight itself which obliterates Narcissus' mirror reflection, the problem is complicated. In the light of Gide's criticism, Val6ry may have decided to try a different approach to the essentially three-pronged problem of the ending of daylight, the coming of night and the obscuring of the image by the moonlight. By completely omitting the line 80 about the sun, greatly changing the line Gide so admired, and by toning down or dimming other references to light as in the change from "Une lumiere ondule encor, pale ame81 thyste" to "Une tendre lueur d ' heure ambigue existe," there is not a continuous sharp, almost unnatural, contrasting of light and dark. The new approach is more subtle and more logical since it marks the change from waning day to twilight to full moonrise in a more gradual and natural way. The reader is just as keenly aware of

PAGE 57

51 the approaching night, however, and the impending doom caused by the rising moon. Not mentioning the sun at all can make its absence felt more strongly and reminds us of Mallarm£'s use of absence. In addition to omitting the line about the sun, the change from "or" to "argent" in the line already discussed ("J'entends 1 ' herbe . . . .") is a corresponding corrective change in lighting. The grass touched by the color "or" reminds the reader of the sunlight; colored instead by "argent" the approaching moonlight is emphasized. Much later in the poem the change to "Car la nuit parle k demi-voix, proche et lointaine ," f rom "Car la Nuit parle a demi-voix seule et lointaine" is a logical improvement since the night is no longer something off in the distance, it has come much closer. Although the calices are full of shadows, there is a brief respite while the moon is still behind the trees. "Car la nuit parle a demi-voix, proche et lointaine,/ Aux calices pleins d' ombres et de sommeils lagers,/ Mais la lune s' amuse aux myrtes allonges." This will not last. It is a lie. "L'heure menteuse est molle aux membres sur la mousse." Finally, "Adieu, Narcisse . . . Meurs ! Voici le crepuscule." The moon is now mirrored in the water. A kiss is placed on the "dead image" of Narcissus which the fog or mist will soon bury in complete darkness.

PAGE 58

52 Mais sur le froid mortel oil 1'etoile s'allume, Avant qu'un lent tombeau ne se forme de brume, Tiens ce baiser qui brise un calme d ' eau fatal! Valery has achieved a unity of lighting, answering, at least in a general way, Gide's main criticism. "Mes lentes mains dans l'or adorable se lassent" is the third line which Gide praises. Valery not only does not change it for the Album . it is also one of a small number of lines that he uses again for the later Narcissus poem, "Fragments du Narcisse," suggesting that he, too, thought it was a good line. One might question the use of "or" here immediately after the line with silver "Voici mes bras d' argent dont les gestes sont purs!.." Its effectiveness in terms of sound can not be questioned since the "or" repeated in "adorable" is harmonious. Also, "or" here seems to have a value signification primarily, rather than a color or lighting importance; that is, the metaphor for water is gold because the image is so sought after and treasured. Its use does not seem to be related to the lighting problem previously discussed and besides the moonlight has not yet reached the water at this point. Concerning the quatrain which Gide singles out as perfect, Valery makes, in effect, only minor changes. It becomes: Adieu, reflet perdu sur l'onde calme et close, Narcisse ... ce nom meme est un tendre parfum Au coeur suave. Effeuille aux manes du defunt Sur ce vide tombeau la fun£rale rose.

PAGE 59

53 In the last line, there is the loss of the Mallarmean op "glauque which is changed to "vide." "Vide tombeau" is more suggestive, in this case than "glauque tombeau," allowing for a double interpretation of the line. The image reminds us that this is a lucid Narcissus who knows that his image on the water, the "vide tombeau" is empty, so to speak, that his pursuit of it is in vain; but the "vide tombeau" also refers to the empty tomb of Narcissa which would be less apparent with the watery colored adjective "glauque." In addition to this fairly minor substitution, the second line of the quatrain is changed only slightly but quite dramatically from "Narcisse, 1 ' heure ultime est un tendre parfum" to "Narcisse ... ce nom meme est un tendre parfum." This is part of a general trend, similar to the lighting improvements, to tighten up aspects of the poem to achieve greater unity. The new line is now linked by its connotations with a series of flower and scent images which run like a leitmotif through the poem hinting at Narcissus' transformation into a flower. The juxtaposition of the adjectives "tendre" and "suave," which would more normally be written tender heart and sweet perfume, is a felicitous chiasmus uniting the Narcissus who looks at himself in the reflecting pool with the image of the flower he will become. The next line to which Gide refers is the line alluded to previously: "'Ainsi, dans les roseaux harmonieux

PAGE 60

54 jete' sent un peu trop H£rodiade au rairoir soit dit en passant." Valery changes the line slightly to "Et moil De tout mon coeur dans ces roseaux jete." This seems to be part of an overall increase of first person references made throughout the new version. This type of change has been observed by Whiting who sees it as an attempt to correct a weakness of emotion which he finds in the early version. Gide's most serious criticism seems to be leveled at the line: "Que je deplore ton 4clat fatal et pur" which he finds beneath Vale'ry. Valery, trusting his own poetic judgment over Gide's in this case, not only does not change this line, he uses it again, intact, in the "Fragments du Narcisse." There may be a special reason for the retention of this particular line which is used not only in the version for La Conque , the Album and the 'Fragments,'' but is, also, the first Line of the three original sonnets. Could it be that this is the "vers donne,' the one given line on which Vale'ry must build the Qg rest? Acknowledgement of the occasional free line given by the Muses is one of a few, small concessions to inspiration which are found in Valery 's poetics. Les dieux, gracieusement , nous donnent pour r ien tel premier vers; mais c ' est a nous de faijonner le second, qui doit consonner avec 1' autre, et ne pas etre indigne de son aine surnaturel . Ce n'est pas trop de toutes les ressources de l'experience et de 1' esprit pour le rendre comparable au vers qui fut un don. 87

PAGE 61

55 In addition to the possible influence of Gide on certain aspects of the second version of "Narcisse parle,' there are broader and more important questions posed by the two main versions of the poem. Besides the lines already studied, what else did Valery change and why? What do these changes or lack of changes reveal about his theory of poetry? Only eighteen of the original fifty-three lines were reused unchanged by Valery for the revised version of "Narcisse parle." If punctuation changes are also taken into account, then only eight of the original fiftythree are absolutely the same in the 1920 version as they were in the 1890 version. The only lines which did not change in any way at all were: Et la lune perfide eleve son miroir Que je deplore ton eclat fatal et pur Ou puiserent mes yeux dans un mortel azur Mes lentes mains dans l'or adorable se lassent D'appeler ce captif que les feuilles enlacent, Au coeur suave. Effeuille aux manes du defunt Mais la lune s' amuse aux myrtes allonges. Chair pour la solitude eclose tristement If the record is correct, however, the poem recited by Valery in 1941 during his lecture "Sur les 'Narcisse'" was the new version. It appears that Valery felt that the new version was not significantly different from the old one overall because immediately after he

PAGE 62

56 finished reciting the poem, he said: A cinquante ans de distance, ce premier Narcisse me parait aujourd'hui un specimen de ce que j'aurais probablement fait en mati£re de poe"sie si'j'avais continue & la pratiquer au lieu de m'en ^carter et de poursuivre dans de toutes autres voies la formation de mon esprit. Ce podme demeure pour moi un premier e"tat caracterist ique de mon ide"al et de mes moyens de ce temps-la" (p. 2S7). Out of fifty-three lines, however, considerably more than one-half were modified. About twenty lines were changed completely. Approximately fifteen were partially altered. In addition, five completely new lines were added so that the total number of lines in the new version was fiftyeight not fifty-three. Nevertheless, Walzer does not feel that there is a major difference between the two versions either : Mais enfin, malgre' ces heureuses revisions, malgre" les transformations apport^es d la conclusion et les cinq vers ajout£s a la version definitive, le texte de 1 ' Album ne diffdre pas essent iellement ni par le propos ni par la forme, du texte donne par la Conque. 88 The new version may not be a different poem, but it is a thorough modification of the old version and a definite improvement. The Album version has more unity. It is clearer and flows more logically than the old one. Networks of images such as those of light and flowers, already referred to, are much more tightly organized. The once very subliminal theme of poetry is subtly amplified. A sharpening of certain poetic techniques is

PAGE 63

57 noticeable. There is an increase in alliteration. Harmonious words and sound repetitions are made, expanding greatly the internal rhyme. In addition, more effective use of enjambement can be observed, for example, Et d ' un reste du jour me forme un fiance gg Nu, sur la place pale oil m'attire 1 ' eau triste... Moreover, the poem is made more personal, less an abstract meditation, by the proliferation of first person pronoun references. Still another modification involves the lapidary vocabulary. It is not so excessive. The new version of the poem, as an early example of Val£-ry's return to poetry, shows the painstaking efforts of a more conscious and less rushed artist, even more keenly interested in technique and poetic effect than he had been earlier, trying new solutions and substitutions for poetic problems. Specific examples of some of the more significant changes mentioned above follow, demonstrating Valery's serious, but often subtle, attempts to improve the poem. The changes made were as minor as the modifications in line three from: "Et , vers vous, Nymphes! nymphes, nymphes des fontaines" to "Et vers vous, Nymphe, Nymphe, 6 Nymphe des fontaines," or as dramatic as the substitution of a completely new line like: "Je me d£lie en vain de ta presence douce," for "0 chair d'adolescent et de princesse douce!" The new line is an example of the increase in first person usage and an

PAGE 64

58 attempt to amplify sound harmony and repetition since "vain" is now repeated in the poem three times and "delie" blends effectively with "d§lice" which appears two lines later in "Et d'un sombre del ice enfle le vent profond." The complete omission of the old line with its possible androgynous reference reduces the ambiguity of the poem, perhaps to its detriment. Increased alliteration can be seen in the following changes where lines numbered 1 will refer to the early version and lines numbered 2 will refer to the new version. 1 A travers ces bois bleus et ces lys fraternels 2 A travers les bois bleus et les bras fraternels, 1 Pale amethyste! 6 miroir du songe insense! completely replaced by qq 2 Delicieux demon, desirable et glace! 1 L'heure menteuse est molle au reve sur la mousse 2 L'heure menteuse est molle au membres sur la mousse Increased alliterative sounds also appear in: 2 L'ejspoir seul peut suffire a rompre ce cristal . where the "s" sounds imitate the whispering sigh which will ripple the water. The line had been harsher sounding: 1 Caresse dont l'espoir ondule ce crystal! There are several additional examples of alliteration where only two words are involved; for example, 2 Nu, sur la place pale oil m'attire 1 ' eau triste... and : 1 Tiens ce baiser nocturne et tendrement fatal, 2 Tiens ce baiser qui brise un calme d ' eau fatal!

PAGE 65

59 1 Assez pour deviner la-bas le Fiance 2 Et d'un reste du jour me forme un fiance Further technical improvements are found, such as augmented internal rhyme and clever word repetitions which echo again and again as the poem develops. The echo can be as simple as the repetition of the end sound of "rav isse " duplicated three lines later in "Evanou iss ez" or as sustained as the sound of the word "eau" repeated four times as the word "eau" but reverberating also in words like "b eau te" (twice), "tomb eau " (twice), "trop eau x" 91 ros eaux , " "echos," not to mention the many "o's" as in "0 frSres . . . ." But the repetition of sounds and words (as Poe prescribed) are too numerous to detail here. A few more will be mentioned as they occur in lines cited for other reasons. Another fairly striking aspect of the new version is a marked movement away from "les tresors du langage des lapidaires. " 1 Saphir antique et fontaine magicienne 2 Je ne sais plus aimer que 1 ' eau magicienne 1 Une lumiere ondule encore, pale amethyste 2 Une tendre lueur d'heure ambigue existe,^2 1 Pale amethyste ! o miroir du songe insense ! 2 Delicieux demon, desirable et glace !°3 1 Sur la ldvre de gemme en 1 ' eau morte, 6 pieuse 2 Mais sur le froid mortel oil l'etoile s'allume, The line which replaced "Saphir antique ..." begins with "Je." A number of references have already been made to the fact that the poem was made to seem more

PAGE 66

60 personal by just such an increase in the use of the first person. Related to this type of change are the personal and possessive pronouns in the new lines which Vale'ry added to the poem. 2 Au soupir de mon coeur mon apparence ondule, 2 La ride me ravisse au souffle qui m' exile 2 Et que mon souffle anime une flute gracile 2 Dont le joueur le"ger me serait indulgent ! . . . Lighting improvements were discussed in the section on Gide, and flower images have been mentioned in several places. One more example of Val£ry's ability to make an image more suggestive by means of a slight adjustment, with the result that it becomes more closely linked to the other flower and scent images, is the change from "Aux calices pleins d'ombre pale et si legers," to "Aux calices pleins d'ombre et de sommeils lagers." The new line is a subtle reminder of the soporific power of the Narcissus flower, thereby resulting in a further allusion to the metamorphosis of Narcissus. Increased attention to imagery makes one of the underlying themes clearer too. The theme of poetic creation, once almost totally obscure, is greatly enhanced in the new version. The addition of "Et que mon souffle anime une flute gracile/ Dont le joueur 9 leger me serait indulgent!..." plus the modification of "Et puis, verse pour la lune, flute isol^e,/ Verse des pleurs lointains

PAGE 67

61 en des urnes d 1 argent," to "Et, toi, verse a" la lune, humble flute isolee,/ Une diversite de nos larmes d' argent," certainly increases the likelihood that the theme of poetry is meant to be suggested. The flute can be seen as the symbol of the voice of the poet pouring out his beautifully emotive lines reimmortalizing the tragic plight of Narcissus and the equally poetic story of Narcissa as well as lamenting the fugitiveness of beauty. The tears stand for poems. This equation can be made even in the earlier line: "Je viens au pur silence offrir mes larmes vaines." Moreover, the addition of the lines "Un grand calme m'ecoute, oil j'ecoute l'espoir/ La voix des sources change et me parle du soir;" for "Car les hymnes du soleil s ' en vont !/ C'est le soir," may be related to Valery's concept of "attente" and other aspects of the poetic process which he discusses in a complex passage in "Calepin d'un po§te:" Ainsi le podte en fonction est une attente. II est une modification dans un homme , qui le fait sensible a certains termes de son propre developpement : ceux qui r^compensent cette attente pour etre conformes a la convention. II restitue ce qu'il desirait. II restitue de quasi-mecanismes qui soient capables de lui rendre l'energie qu'ils lui ont coutee et meme plus (car ici les principes sont en apparence violes). Son oreille lui parle . Nous attendons le mot inattendu et qui ne peut etre prevu, mais attendu. Nous sommes le premier a 1' entendre.

PAGE 68

62 Entendre ? mais c ' est parle r . On ne comprend la chose entendue que si on l'a dite soi-meme au mo yen d'une cause autre. Parler , c ' est entendre [. . .] Le silence et 1 'attention sont incompat ibles . II faut que le courant so it ferme. Cr§er done l'esp^ce de silence a laquelle r£pond le beau . Ou le vers pur, ou 1 ' idee lumineuse... (0, I, 144849) The ideas expressed in the preceding passage are somewhat cryptic, but they seem to be rendered poetically by the four lines: Je viens au pur silence offrir mes larmes vaines. Un grand calme m'ecoute, ou j'6coute l'espoir. La voix des sources change et me parle du soir; J'entends 1 ' herbe d'argent grandir dans 1' ombre sainte , Narcissus, in a state of expectation analogous to "attente, has approached the kind of pure silence which speaks and to which the beautiful responds. Obviously, not all of the many modifications made by Valery in the second version have been elaborated upon here. Other categories of changes include numerous variations in punctuation, most of them fairly minor. One overall statement can be made about punctuation. There is definitely an increase in punctuation from the first to the second version. Generally speaking, this is a movement toward greater transparency. Being aware of one deletion, however, is helpful.

PAGE 69

63 1 Je t' adore, sous ces rayrtes, 6 1 ' incertaine ! 2 Je t ' adore, sous ces myrtes, 6 1 ' incertaine The new version is syntactically more difficult but probably more suggestive as it now runs into the next line: "Chair pour la solitude eclose tristement." It is, therefore, not just "6 1 ' incertaine ! " but "o 1 ' incertaine Chair [qui est] pour la solitude eclose tristement." Numerous preposition changes have also been made for the second version. None are so dramatic as the famous change in "Palme" where the new preposition gives the line a completely opposite meaning: "Departage avec mystere" became "Departage sans mystere." One slightly similar change: 1 Adieu! reflet perdu sous 1 ' onde calme et close, 2 Adieu, reflet perdu sur l'onde calme et close, One last relevant element of the poem needs to be examined. Epithets, considered essential by Valery, 96 are extremely common in both versions. Many stay the same in both versions, such as, "triste lys," "larmes vaines," "lune perfide," "fleurs humides," "pleurs eternels," "coeur suave," etc. Some are lost: "roseaux harmonieux," "saphir antique," "pale amethyste," "fontaine ironique," "heure ultime." New ones are added, for example, "froid mortel," "eau fatale," "flute gracile," "pur silence," etc. Once Valery quoted Voltaire on the subject of poetry and agreed with him:

PAGE 70

64 Voltaire a dit merveilleusement bien que "la Poesie n ' est faite que de beaux details." Je ne dis autre chose. L'univers poetique dont je parlais s' introduit par le nombre ou , plutot , par la densite des images, des figures, des consonances, dissonances, par l 1 enchainement des tours et des rythmes [. . . ] (0, I, 1502). Valery also said that there is no need to point out to women that beauty demands laborious assistance, exquisite care, and long consultations before the mirror and that likewise, the poet looks at his work on the page and retouches, here and there, the original face of his Q7 poem. Here is the complete second version of "Narcisse parle," an improvement over the first and a testament to Valery' s determination concerning the necessity of revision and the beauty of details. 98 FRERES! tristes lys, je languis de beaute Pour m'etre desire dans votre nudite, Et vers vous , Nymphe, Nymphe, 6 Nymphe des fontaines, Je viens au pur silence offrir mes larmes vaines, Un grand calme m'ecoute, oil j'ecoute l'espoir, La voix des sources change et me parle du soir; J'entends l'herbe d'argent grandir dans l'ombre sainte , Et la lune perfide 6ldve son miroir Jusque dans les secrets de la fontaine eteinte. Et moi ! De tout mon coeur dans ces roseaux jet6, Je languis, 6 saphir, par ma triste beaute! Je ne sais plus aimer que 1 ' eau magicienne Ou" j'oubliai le rire et la rose ancienne. Que je deplore ton eclat fatal et pur Si mollement de moi fontaine environnee, Oil puisdrent mes yeux dans un mortel azur Mon image de fleurs humides couronnSe!

PAGE 71

65 H61as! L' image est vaine et les pleurs Sternels! A travers les bois bleus et les bras fraternels, Une tendre lueur d'heure ambigue existe, Et d'un reste du jour me forme un fiance" Nu, sur la place pale oil m'attire 1 ' eau triste... D61icieux demon, desirable et glace\' Voici dans 1 ' eau ma chair de lune et de ros£e, forme ob£issante a" mes yeux opposee! Voici mes bras d ' argent dont les gestes sont purs ! . . . Mes lentes mains dans 1 ' or adorable se lassent D'appeler ce captif que les feuilles enlacent, Et je crie aux £chos les noms des dieux obscurs!... Adieu, reflet perdu sur l'onde calme et close, Narcisse. . . ce nom meme est un tendre parfum Au coeur suave. Effeuille aux manes du d£funt Sur ce vide tombeau la funerale rose. Sois, ma ldvre, la rose effeuillant le baiser Qui fasse un spectre cher lentement s'apaiser, Car la nuit parle a" demi-voix, proche et lointaine Aux calices pleins d'ombre et de sommeils lagers. Mais la lune s ' amuse aux myrtes allonges. Je t'adore, sous ces myrtes, 6 l'incertaine Chair pour la solitude e'close tristement Qui se mire dans le miroir au bois dormant. Je me d£lie en vain de ta presence douce, L'heure menteuse est molle aux membres sur la mousse Et d'un sombre dSlice enfle le vent profond. Adieu, Narcisse. . .Meurs ! Voici le crgpuscule. Au soupir de mon coeur mon apparence ondule, La flute, par 1 ' azur enseveli module Des regrets de troupeaux sonores qui s ' en vont . Mais sur le froid mortel oil l'gtoile s'allume, Avant qu'un lent tombeau ne se forme de brume, Tiens ce baiser qui brise un calme d ' eau fatal! L'espoir seul peut suffire a rompre ce cristal. La ride me ravisse au souffle qui m'exile Et que mon souffle anime une flute gracile Dont le joueur l£ger me serait indulgent ! . . . Evanouissez-vous, divinity troublee! Et , toi, verse a" la lune, humble flute isol6e. Une diversity de nos larmes d' argent (0, I, 82-83). Taking "Narcisse parle" apart and looking quite

PAGE 72

66 carefully at both versions has demonstrated its richness and underscored a number of Valery's technical preoccupations. Now that the poem has been put back together in its revised form, it is necessary to make some observations about it as a whole. While "Narcisse parle" has often been recognized as, at least, a minor masterpiece and as a representative example of Valery's early poetry, even by Valery himself, it has not often been analyzed in detail. Charles Whiting does one of the few fairly detailed studies of the poem, a chapter in his book length study of the early versions of the poems of the Album de vers anciens . Although he concentrates primarily on the early form of the poem, nevertheless, it is interesting to see how he looks at the poem and what he understands it to mean. Whiting studies the poem from the point of view of the theme of purity which he sees as an underlying theme of the early poems. He says of "Narcisse parle:" L' importance de Narcisse parle est de montrer que cette purete' se trouve en soi et que la grande affaire est de 1 ' apprehender en soi-meme [...]. Valery e'tait trop conscient de ses defauts pour s'interesser ici a lui-meme, tel quel. II pr^ferait distinguer cette petite partie de lui-meme qui etait le "Dieu." En outre, cette conscience aigue de ses propres defauts semble expliquer aussi pouquoi Narcisse parle est plus une lamentation qu'une recherche active de la puret£. Le point est important , car il 6claire tout le poeme , et a travers le podme un aspect

PAGE 73

67 de la jeunesse de Vale"ry. Dans Narcisse parle , Narcisse a, en effet, abandonne" la recherche de son image. II est sans espoir (ainsi les "larmes vaines" du debut) et il ne fait que languir. L'epigraphe pour apaiser les manes de Narcisse l'atteste. Narcisse est venu se lamenter devant le tombeau de son ideal . °" He finds the explanation for the attitude expressed in the poem in Valery's personal life and letters. He sees in the poem the expression of a moment of despair and supports his thesis by quoting a portion of a letter to Gide which he says was written less than fifteen days before Valery wrote the poem: . . . Je languis aupres du feu en attendant ce qui ne viendra pas. Heureusement les journees s'ecoulent. Les projets, des fois, s' illuminent dans l'obscurite de mon ennui, comme des palais enchant^s. J' entends mes vers chanter et luire sans pouvoir les saisir et les garder . . . lis s'envolent! Les palais s'ecroulent, et je languis encore auprds du feu, mortellemnt . ^®® On the other hand, Pierre Michel, who analyzes the poem in Valgry, L'Ecrivain symboliste et hermgtique , has a much more optimistic interpretation of the poem. He says: "Dans 1 ' Album , Narcisse est un bel §phdbe , frdre des jeunes h6ros de Virgile et de Ch£nier, qui m£dite devant la fontaine. II souffre de ne plus connaitre les plaisirs de la vie, de 1 ' amour , d'etre devenue le prisonnier de la source." He recognizes, as Whiting did, that this Narcissus knows that his efforts are in

PAGE 74

63 vain but he adds: Mais cette peine n ' est pas sans consolations: la nature et la poesie charment son existence vaine, l'une par la beaute de ses spectacles aux nuances subtiles, 1' autre par ses plaisirs savants; de meme que le Faune mallarmeen goutait dans la creation poetique une joie plus intense que dans la possession physique, de meme Narcisse s'enivre de sa m^lodie et de sa beaute" .... Concerning the ending, he feels that the twilight which puts an end to the enchantment is not hostile because it is accompanied by the song of the flute. Even the fog which will bury the image is not an ominous sign because it is not a true death since the next day "l'azur permettra une nouvelle contemplation .... Consequently, he concludes that the ending of the poem is optimistic . La conclusion de l'e'glogue, comme celle de 1 ' Apr&s-mid i d ' un faune, est done optimiste: la poesie avec ses melodies, ses correspondances , ses artifices savants, son langage secret, d<§tourne Narcisse de l'action et de la passion; elle fait de lui un etre a part, qui m6prise le mat§rialisme de son 6poque et trouve, provisoirement , 1 ' expression de son Moi dans la symphonie que consitue un podme. ° Whiting, who contends that the new ending is intellectual and cold, 105 feels that the early version conveyed the idea that Narcissus was consoled by the beauty of the evening. 106 While both studies are helpful on some points, the problem may be that they are trying to read too much into the poem. Even in the second version,

PAGE 75

69 which is much more tightly organized than the first, there is a vagueness which permeates the poem. This seemingly intentional obscurity heightens the poem's evocative power and adds to its charm. The poem raises certain questions which probably can not be answered definitively but allow for alternate possible interpretations. For instance, has Narcissus already been transformed into a flower when the poem begins? The first words are: "0 freres! tristes lys . . . . " And the possibility that Narcissus is indeed a flower holds until the fifth stanza where the word "chair" is mentioned. Even here, however, the impression can not completely be discounted since the "chair" is of moon and dew. The flower could be colored by moonlight and covered with dew just as well as the flesh of Narcissus could be. Ultimately, there is no need to determine for sure, just as it does not matter exactly why the flower mentioned is a lily and not the narcissus flower. Of course, the lily obviously blends harmoniously with the other symbols of purity and beauty representing the ideal. It probably is not even crucial that the reader see that the flute metaphor and related images suggest the theme of poetic creation. "Narcisse parle" is a vague, lovely impression, the expression of "un etat d'ame" where beauty is envisioned, almost apprehended, and then it vanishes. The poem, written at the dawn of Valery's poetic career, remains to suggest the ideal and perpetuate the mood. To quote Valery, the following, although stated in

PAGE 76

another context in a slightly different form, describes "Narcisse parle" "la meditation d ' un certain moi , transporter dans 1'univers poetique [. . .]" (0, I, p. 1505). The ambiguities in the poem are a reminder that the poem is not an attempt to tell a story, especially not the tale told by Ovid. Valery felt that the more poetry could be reduced to prose, the less it was poetry. It is beauty and poetry that are important here. Valery could have been talking about himself and some of his own aims and even "Narcisse parle" when he described the Symbolist period as follows: Un expose" des tentatives de cette 6poque demanderait un travail systematique. Rarement plus de f erveur , plus de hardiesse, plus de recherches theoriques, plus de savoir, plus de pieuse attention, plus de disputes ont et§ , en si peu d'ann§es, consacr^s au probldme de la beauts pure (0, I, 1272). He goes on to say that the problem of pure beauty was approached from all sides and that language being a complex thing, its many sided nature allowed for a diversity of attempts. "Narcisse parle" seems to be an expression of a combination of these methods: Certains, qui conservaient les formes tradit ionnelles du Vers frangais, s' §tudiaient a eliminer les descriptions, les sentences, les moralit§s, les precisions arbitraires; ils purgeaient leur po^sie de presque tous ces Elements intellectuels que la musique ne peut exprimer. D'autres donnaient a tous les objets des significations infinies qui supposaient une m£taphysique cach£e. Ils usaient d'un d<§licieux materiel

PAGE 77

71 ambigu. lis peuplaient leurs pares enchant£s et leurs sylves 6vanescentes d'une faune tout idfiale. Chaque chose dtait allusion; rien ne se bornait a" etre; tout pensait , dans ces royaumes orn£s de miroirs; ou , du moins, tout semblait penser... (0, I, 1272-73). In the final analysis Val6ry will emerge as his own man, an original and independent thinker and poet, but during this early formative period when "Narcisse parle" was written, Val£ry was subject to outside influences. As a result, "Narcisse parle" can be labeled, as it has been in this study, a Symbolist poem. With "Narcisse parle," Val<5ry rejected the Narcissus myth as told by Ovid. His poem does not reflect the preoccupations of the Middle Ages vis-a-vis the Narcissus myth either, because it is not didactic. There is no moralizing in Vale'ry's poem; there are no warnings, no mention of the "vanitas" theme and no development of the crime and punishment motif so common in the poems which mention Narcissus during the Middle Ages. Although Val6ry's "Narcisse parle" does not make use of traditional aspects of the Narcissus myth, it is, paradoxically, the least original of his Narcissus works. The reason for this is that it is schooled in Symbolism in the way it utilizes the Narcissus myth, in vocabulary, in setting, and in general aims. While Val^ry's poem does not seem to have Creuzer ' s sense of: Narcissus as a symbol which in a mystic way

PAGE 78

72 reveals the fate of the human soul as the prisoner of 107 matter, deceived by a beautiful illusion, there is something in "Narcisse parle" of Michaud's concept of the Symbolist poem haunted by the myth of Narcissus ". . . moins par une introversion complaisante que pour tenter de saisir et de fixer, au dela des formes fugitives , ,,108 leur propre essence. The inclusion of the suggestion of the theme of poetic creation also helps to place the poem squarely in the symbolist tradition. Narcissus, in this period, is seen as a symbol of the creative artist. He is also seen as the symbol of self-awareness. Valery's Narcissus in "Narcisse parle," however, does not seem to be engaged in a serious "connaisance de soi" attempt, but is instead an archetype of beauty, meditating in a landscape beyond reality and lamenting the fugitiveness of ideal beauty; consequently, he is a typical symbolist hero. Tied in with the Symbolist /decadent milieu and Val^ry and "Narcisse parle" are the four important literary figures discussed in detail in this study: Gide, Huysmans, Mallarme and Poe. While the influence of Gide and Huysmans must not be discounted, more important is the clear debt Valery owes to Mallarme and Poe during this early period. Having established already that "Narcisse parle" was definitely modeled on the poems and poetic aims of Mallarme' and the techniques and theories of Poe, the question of their influence can be resolved further and put

PAGE 79

73 into a larger perspective by focusing on the insight which Mallarme and Poe offered Valery into the workings of the mind. Valery touched on this specifically when he said : II est exact, et presque mieux qu ' exact, que Leonard, que Poe, que Mallarme ont fortement agi sur moi a 1 ' age ou se fixent, en general, l'objet, le champ, les conditions de notre volonte d'action interieure. Les oeuvres de ces hommes m'ont s6duit, doming, et, -comme il convient, d^sesp^re' : le beau est ce qui d.6sesp&re. Mais leur prise sur moi fut moins celle de leurs productions meme que de 1 ' id6e qu'elles m'imposaient de leurs auteurs. J'imaginais des esprits, ce qui me conduisait a imaginer 1' esprit, a quoi j'ai depens£ le meilleur de mon temps [ . . . ] . En v£rit6, une oeuvre qui m'int§resse profond£ment est une oeuvre qui m' excite a me figurer le systdme vivant et pensant qui l'a produite (0, II, 1537). Ultimately, Valery viewed the whole range of his preoccupations, even as they related to poetry, in terms of his main concern: the study of the mind. Valery discovered that looking outward at others and their works was just another means of looking inward in order to understand the workings and problems of the mind, his own above all. This attitude towards the influence and insight provided him by the study of seminal minds like J,lallarm£'s and Poe ' s is an extension of his own brand of introspective Narcissism which can not help but make us more aware that the Narcissus myth as Valery used it has the function of a

PAGE 80

74 catalyst structuring his whole life and work. It is not surprising, therefore, that Valery saw his Narcissus works as a kind of "autobiographie poetique." "Narcisse parle" is a representative example of Val^ry's early work, the reflection of a particular period and even a specific school of poetry, and, as Valery himself indicated, the poem closest to his ideal from this early period. It constitutes the first chapter in ValSry's "autobiographie po§tique." From its early sonnet forms through its publication in La Conque , and its revision for the Album , "Narcisse parle" reveals Val6ry's poetic preoccupations and the tenets of his poetic theory. Although the famous crisis night of October or November 1892 was the climax, the publication of "Narcisse parle" in 1891 and Val§ry's disappointment with it and other aspects of poetry, were a turning point for Valery, the emerging poet, leading to an outward renunciation of poetry and a more definite and determined turn to the study of the processes of thought. Valery did not return to poetry until about 1912 or 1913 when, at the urging of Gide and the publisher Gallimard, he began the revision of his early poems for publication. This work of revision which included the rewriting of "Narcisse parle" led to the composition of the masterpiece La Jeune Parque and ultimately resulted in the mature poetic period of Charmes of which "Fragments du Narcisse" is an integral part. This

PAGE 81

75 second major work on Narcissus which has lines in it taken intact from "Narcisse parle," will be studied next for confirmation of Valery's early theories about poetry and their development. "Fragments du Narcisse" enables us to determine what Valery discovers and what he rejects about poetry in the second stage of his "autobiographie poetique."

PAGE 82

1„ NOTES Sur les 'Narcisse,'" p. 287 2 Letter from Mallarme to Valery quoted in Henri Mondor, L' Heureuse Rencontre de Valery et Mallarme (Lausanne La Guilde du Livre, 1947), p. 86. 3 Grubbs, p. 19. Agnes MacKay , The Universal Self, A Study of Paul Valery (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1961), p. 31. Andre Berne-Jof f roy , Presence de Valery, precede de Propos me concernant par Paul Valery (Paris: Librairie Plon, 1944), p. 184. 6 Pierre-01ivier Walzer, La Poesie de Valery (Geneve: Slatkine reprints, 1966), p. 95. 7 Walzer, pp. 89-90. Also in 0, I, 1558. These early versions of "Narcisse parle" will be referred to again when the variants of the two major versions of the poem are analyzed in detail. 9 "Sur les 'Narcisse,'" pp. 283-290. 10 "Sur les 'Narcisse,'" pp. 283-84. 11-These sonnets and information concerning them may be found in "Notes et Documents" in Correspondance de Paul ValSrv et de Gustave Fourment 1887-1933 , ed . Octave Nadal (Paris: Gallimard, 1957), pp. 211-216. 12 "Sur la technique litteraire" in 0, I, 1809. l^Also in "Calepin d'un poete," 0, I, 1454. 14 "De la diction des vers," 0, II, 1254. 15 Letter from Valery to Andre Gide, 1 February 1891, Corres po ndance d ' Andre Gide et de Paul Valery 1890-1942 , PTeface et Notes par Robert Mallet (Paris: Gallimard, 1955), p. 48. Hereafter cited as Correspondance Gide-Valery . (Evidence indicates that Gide who added the date to this letter may have dated it incorrectly . ) 76

PAGE 83

77 0, I, 1552-53. Appeared first in La Conque , 15 March 1891, pp. 4-5. 17 Correspondance Gide-Valery , p . 54 . Valery discusses a similar circumstance related to the "Cimetiere marin," an example of his theory that a poem is never finished but instead abandoned: "Une apres-midi de 1 ' an 1920, notre ami tres regrette, Jacques Riviere, etant venu me faire visite, m'avait trouve dans un ' etat ' de ce Cimetiere marin, songeant a reprendre, &. supprimer, a substituer, a intervenir ga et la... II n'eut de cesse qu'il n'obtint de le lire; et 1 ' ayant lu, qu'il ne le ravit. Rien n ' est plus d^cisif que l'esprit d ' un directeur de revue. C'est ainsi que par accident fut fixee la figure de cet ouvrage. II n'y a point de mon fait. Du reste, je ne puis en general revenir sur quoi que ce soit que j'aie ecrit que je ne pense que j ' en ferais tout autre chose si quelque intervention etrangere ou quelque circonstance quelconque n'avait rompu l'enchantement de ne pas en finir (0, I, 1500). 9 Correspondance Gide-Valery , pp. 48-49. 20, 21 Correspondance Gide-Valer y, p. 50. See, for example, Louise Vinge, The Narcissus Theme in Western European Literature up to the Early 19th Century (Lund: Gleerups, 1967). op * See Frederick Goldin, The Mirror of Narcissus in the Courtly Love Lyric (New York: Cornell University Press, 1967). 23jean Soulairol , Paul Valery (Paris: La Colombe, 1952), pp. 147-49 suggests some similarities between Ronsard's elegy "La mort de Narcisse" and the Narcissus poems of Valery. 24 Gerard Genette, "Narcisse baroque," La Nouvelle Revue Franqaise , 9 (1961), 558-564. 25 C'est le mythe de Narcisse, que nous retrouvons £i chaque instant dans 1 ' histore du Symbolisme," Guy Michaud, Message poetique du Symbolisme (Paris: Nizet , 1966), note, p. 34. "Le theme du narcissisme est integre dans le symbolisme, puisque pour celui-ci le monde exterieur est un miroir de 1 ' homme et de 1 ' essence mysterieuse des choses," Henry Nicholas, Mallarme et le Symbolisme (Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1965), p. 93.

PAGE 84

78 2 ^More of the myth is utilized for his two other major works on Narcissus. Unless her presence is meant to be suggested by the unusually large number of internal echo rhymes in the poem. 28jt should be noted, however, that Valery said that he read Ovid only after Chantavoine ' s remarks in Le Journal des Debats . "S'il me fallait defendre (s'il fallait defendre Rien juge par Meant ) , je commencerais par remercier le critique de m'avoir fait ouvrir Ovide pour la premiere, et sans doute ultime, fois. Je n'ai trouve d' autre similitude que le titre dans son Narcisse , et trois mots seuls m'ont arrete comme exquis" in Correspondance Gide-Valery , p. 79. 29 Maja Goth, "The Myth of Narcissus in the Works of Rilke and of Valery," Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature , 7 (1966), 14. 30 Goth, p. 14. •^Leonardo da Vinci, Pierre Louys, Rimbaud, and Verlaine are four other major figures who undoubtedly influenced and impressed Valery profoundly, but their influence does not seem to be as significant in respect to "Narcisse parle," although Louys, of course, requested the poem and published it. 32 Generally accepted dates 1885-1895 for symbolism with a capital "S." 33 "Huysmans est celui d ' au jourd ' hui dont mon ame s'accommode le mieux. J' en suis toujours 9. relire A rebours ; c ' est ma bible et mon livre de chevet . " Lettres & quelques-uns (Paris: Gallimard, 1952), p. 11. Henri Mondor , Precocite de Val6ry (Paris: Gallimard, 1957), p. 215. 3 5jacques Charpier, Essai sur Paul Valery (Paris: Seghers, 1956), p. 29. "' ' " 3 " Lettres 5. quelques-uns , p . 35. ^ Lettres & quelques-uns , p. 23. 38 Paul Valery, Cahiers , 29 vols. (Paris: Centre national de la recherche scientif ique , 1957-1961), v. 1, p. 116.

PAGE 85

79 ^ Lettres a que l ques-uns , pp. 12-13. ° Lettres a quelques-uns , p. 28. 41 T.S. Eliot, From Poe to Valery (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1948), pp. 22-23. "^^Eliot, p. 23. Joseph Chiari in Symbol ism e from Poe to Mallarme, The Growth of a Myth (London: Rockliff, 1956), pp. 166-167, repeats this general assessment concerning the influence of Poe on Mallarme, Baudelaire, and Valery. ^ Lettres a quelques-uns , p. 97. 44 Lucienne Julien Cain, Trois Essais sur Paul Val6ry , "Edgar Poe et Val§ry," (Paris: Gallimard, 1958), p. 144-45. 45 Lettres £ quelques-uns , p. 9. 46 Lettres a quelques-uns , p. 28-29. ^ Lettres £ quelques-uns , p. 47. 48 Michaud, p. 556. 4 ^That Valery no longer believes in the power of poetry as the "orphic explanation of the universe" after the crisis of 1892 is well-known. so See 0, I, 1485 for Valery 's discussion of the artists need to reject "[. . .] tout ce qui r^sulte de notre relation statistique avec nos semblables et de notre commerce obligatoire et obligatoirement impur avec le desordre monotone de la vie exterieure." ^Val^ry generalizes this tendancy in "Sur les 'Narcisse.'" A cette epoque [1890' s], les podtes disposaient volontiers de pierreries dont ils croyaient enrichir leurs ouvrages. Depuis, la po^sie a connu les restrictions, nous sommes devenus plus simples, plus pauvres. " S^Henri Mondor , L' Heureuse Rencontre de Valery et Mallarme (Lausanne: La Guilde du Livre, 1947), pp. 35-36.

PAGE 86

so This is a brief but valuable aid to an understanding of the Valery/Mallarme relationship. It contains important letters rarely printed elsewhere, details, especially, the initial stages of their relationship, and recounts Valery's important role as confidant to Mallarme' concerning Un Coup de de\s and, subsequently, as a source of information about the poem. For example, "En ce qui concerne les influences que j'ai subies, la plus profonde n ' est pas celle de Mallarme': quelques lignes de Poe, 1 ' influence de Wagner, 1 ' id£e que je me fais de Leonard, et maintes reflexions et lectures scientif iques ont joue' le plus grand role dans le deVeloppement de ma pens£e" (quoted in Mondor's Precocite" de Valgry , p. 412). "Mallarme' ne devait pas avoir d' influence: c ' est une proposition qui peut se d£montrer. Influence, c'est imitation ou continuation. Imiter un etre si singulier, c'est crier qu'on imite. Imiter un art si parfait, c'est une d§sastreuse affaire: cela coute plus cher que de risquer d'etre 'original'" (from a letter to Albert Thibaudet in 1912 in Lettres a quelques-uns, p. 98). Yet in an essay entitled "St^phane Mallarm£" in Ecrits divers sur Mallarm£ , in 0, I, pp. 660680, Val£ry discusses in some detail the influence of Mallarme on himself and other young poets of the 1890' s. ^The lines which begin "0 miroir!/ Eau froide par 1' ennui dans ton cadre gel6e" to "J'ai de mon reve £pars connu la nudity !" Lettres a quelques-uns , p. 19. ^^Fourment/Valery letters, p. 116. 5 Correspondance Gide-Valery , p. 50. 59 St£phane Mallarme\ QEuvres completes , Texte £tabli et annote par Henri Mondor et G. Jean-Aubry , Bibliothdque de la Plgiade (Paris: Gallimard, 1945), p. 47. 60 Mallarme\ p. 48. ^ Precocite de Val§ry , p. 214. ^ 2 Correspondance Gide-Valery , p. 56. 6 ^In "Je disais quelquefois a Stephane Mallarme... 0, I, 649. ® 4 The preface to the Correspondance Gide-Valery by Robert Mallet is an extremely perceptive study of the friendship between Gide and Valery.

PAGE 87

8] U ^A question remains as to whether there is any relationship between the androgynous suggestion in "Narcisse parle" in such lines as "0 chair d ' adolescent et de princesse douce!" and the androgynous Adam in Gide's Traite . 66 Correspondance Gide-Valgry , p. 46. 67 Both would eventually attend Mallarme's "mardi soirs" frequently. CO UOM A Mon Ami Paul Ambroise Valgry avec qui j'ai fait un tel reve" quoted in Andr£ Gide, Romans, recits et soties, oeuvres lyriques , Notices et Bibliographies par Yvonne Davet et Jean-Jacques Thierry, Biblioth£que de la Plgiade (Paris: Gallimard, 1958), p. 1458. 69Gide had planned a Narcissus poem; however, see Correspondance Gide-Valery , p. 154 concerning "Narcisse secret . " 70 Andrd Gide, Romans, recits . . ., p. 1457. 71 Andr6 Gide, Romans, recits . . ., p. 1458. 72 Letter of 25 Mai 1892: "Ton oncle [Charles Gide?] trouve le Traite du Narcisse trop symboliste." Letter of July 6, 1899: "J'ai requ tes dernieres publications et je me suis amuse 1 a" les parcourir tres vite entiSrement, par gout du cinematographe et par experience de style. J'ai r-aime' a" ce point de vue le Narcisse et El Hadj " (p. 346). '3"Si vous avez lu mon hatif po£me , bien loin de l'oeuvre revee et que j ' espdre refaire un soir ou 1 'autre (car sans cet espoir je souffrirais, dites-moi clairement comme une partie lucide et d§gris£e de moi-meme, ce que vous en induisez" ( Correspondance Gide-Valgry , p. 50). Also in February 1891 when he sent the poem to Gide, "Dites-moi aussi franchement que vous parliez sous les cypres et les t£r§binthes de ce pays sous la lune que moi je n'ai pas oublie [The Botanical garden where the tomb of Narcissa was] dites-moi ce qu'il vous en semble p. 54. 7 ^ Correspondance Gide-Valgry , p. 56. '^ Correspondance Gide-Val6ry , p. 56. 7 6correspondance Gide-Val6ry , p. 56.

PAGE 88

82 77 Jean Hytier, "Formules vaieryennes , " Romanic Review , 47 (1956), 196. '^Paul Pieltain, "Metamorphoses d'un fragment du Narcisse de Paul Vaiery," Cahiers d'analyse textuelle , 4 (1962), 34. 79 correspondance Gide-Valgry , p. 57. SOprom "Si la fontaine claire est par la nuit eteinte" to "Jusque dans les secrets de la fontaine eteinte . " 81"Lueur" is a weaker light than "lumi£re." "Lueur lumiSre faible [. . .], illumination faible ou passagSre." Paul Robert, Dictionnaire alphabetique et analogique de la langue francaise (Paris: Soci<§te' du nouveau Littre, 1967), p. 1012. S^As in "Par le talent; quand, sur l'or glauque de lointaines" from Mallarmg's "L' Apres-midi d'un faune," OEuvres completes , p. 51. ^ Correspondance Gide-Vaiery , p. 56. 84"Mais il n'y a gudre de changement dans les Amotions qui gardent plus ou moins le meme ton dans tout le poeme. Toujours les faibles emotions d'un Narcisse languissant. On ne remarque guere vers la fin du poeme le glissement d'une faible souffrance £ une souffrance douce-amere ou Narcisse se complait. Ce sont les exigences de l'esthetique de 1890 que Vaiery suit encore, qui produisent ces sensations affaiblies, adoucies. Dans L' Album , Vaiery essaiera de corriger cette faiblesse d' emotion , notamment en doublant les empiois de la premiere personne et le nombre de strophes." Charles G. Whiting, Vaiery, jeune poete (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1960), p. 65. 85Along with the line "Que je deplore...," Gide partially quotes another line " bras dont les gestes sont purs." He does not explain the objection to these two lines except to say: "Pour faire le normalien jusqu'au bout, excusez moi de trouver tout a fait au-dessous de vous.. .." Perhaps he does not like the repetition pur/ purs at the end of the lines. At any rate, Vaiery did not change the second line Gide refers to either. It remains: "Voici mes bras d' argent dont les gestes sont purs."

PAGE 89

83 °6"oO puiserent raes yeux dans un mortel azur" is the only other line which appears in exactly the same form in the sonnets, La Conque , the Album , and even the Fragments du Narcisso , but, at first, it did have another form: "Oil mes yeux ont puis6 dans un mortel azur." This is mentioned by Jean Bellemin-Noel in "En Marge des premiers 'Narcisse,' l'en-jeu et le hors-jeu du texte," Revue d'histoire littgraire de la France , 5-6 (1972), 975-991. One more point needs to be mentioned concerning "Que je deplore..." as the "vers donn§." There is a factor which might be used to discount the theory. The prose poem version begins: "Que je deplore ton <§clat, fontaine!" On the other hand, there is no proof that it antedated the sonnets. 87 "Au sujet d' Adonis," 0, I, 482. 88walzer, p. 96. 89originally the lines had been: "Assez pour deviner la-bas le Fiance/ Dans ton miroir dont m'attire la lueur triste . " 9°A line reminiscent of another line of Valgry's "0 dieu demon demiurge ou destin" quoted in Valgry/Fourment correspondance , p. 228 from an early poem called "Ambroise." "lAnd: ros£e, rose, close, £close, and so on. 92 Additional internal rhyme: "lueur," and "heure" continuing the sound of "pleurs" two lines earlier and "fleurs" in the line before that. "Mon image de f leurs humides couronn£e!/ H61as 1 ' image est vaine et les pleurs £ternels." ^^The words in this line repeat sounds found throughout the poem. "Dglicieux" is related to "delie" and "d£lice," for example, and "glac£" follows "place" and is itself followed later by "gracile." 94"Joueur" may be seen as the symbol of the reader of the poem. 95in his essays on poetry, Valgry often speaks of the stage in poetic creation which he calls "attente." For example: "...Nous avons & poursuivre des mots qui n' existent pas toujours, et des coincidences chimSriques; nous avons a nous maintenir dans 1 ' impuissance , essayant de conjoindre des sons et des significations, et creant en pleine lumidre 1 ' un de ces cauchemars ou s'epuise le reveur , quand il s'efforce indgfiniment d'£galiser deux fantomes de lignes

PAGE 90

84 aussi instables que lui-meme. Nous devons done passionnement attendre , changer d'heure et de jour comme l'on changerait d'outil, et vouloir, vouloir... Et merae , ne pas excessivement vouloir" (0, I, p. 480)(my emphasis). y °"Je cheris, en poesie comme en prose, les theories si profondes et si perf idement savantes d' Edgar Poe, je crois a la toute-puissance du rythme et surtout de l' gpithete suggestive ." From a letter to Karl Boes in 1889, Lettres a quelques-uns , p. 9 (my emphasis). ^Paraphrased from "Necessity de la poesie," 0, I, p. 1390. 9 °The same epigraph is used in both versions "Narcissae placandis manibus." "Whiting, p. 62. 100 Whiting, p. 63. lOlpierre Michel , Valery, L'ecrivain symboliste et hermetique (Paris: Foucher n.d.), p. 20. 102 Michel, p. 20. 103 Michel, p. 20. 1 4 Michel, p. 20. 105whiting, p. 66. 106whiting, p. 65. 107For Creuzer ' s role in the nineteenth and twentieth century interpretations of the Narcissus myth, see Vinge, especially Chapter 12, pp. 315-320. IC^Guy Michaud, "Le Theme du miroir dans le symbolisme fran^ais," Cahiers de 1 ' Associat ion Internationale des Etudes Franqaises , 11 (1959), 206. 109" p ar consequence , j'ai cesse de faire des vers. Cet art devenu impossible a moi de 1892 [ . . . ] . " Letter from Valery to Thibaudet in 1912 in Lettres a quelques-uns , p. 97. There were some exceptions, however. For example, two poems "Vue" and "Ete" were published in Le Centaure in 1896 and seem to have been written after 1892.

PAGE 91

CHAPTER II "FRAGMENTS DU NARCISSE" Introduction and Background "Fragments du Narcisse" is one of the twenty-one poems in Valery's collection of verse entitled Charmes . There are only two major collections of Valery's poems: Album de vers anciens and Charmes . The chief link between the two is Val§ry's use of the Narcissus myth. Albert Thibaudet , one of the earliest critics of Val6ry's work, notes this when he says: "Au milieu du recueil, le Fragment du Narcisse etablit la liaison de Charmes avec 2 1' Album de Vers Anciens ." Quite significantly, earlier in his study he makes the following comment: "L' Album pourrait porter entier ce titre d'une de ses pieces: Narcisse parle . Et la liaison entre 1 ' Album et Charmes , la perennit£ du theme po§tique que n'a jamais d^sert^ Val6ry, le Fragment du Narcisse public dans Charmes nous 3 en assure a nouveau." The strong thematic bond between the two works facilitates study of the development of Valery's theory of poetry. This bond is made even stronger by the fact that the first part of "Fragments du Narcisse" contains lines taken directly from "Narcisse parle." 85

PAGE 92

86 In addition to its direct tie with Valery's earlypoetic endeavors, "Fragments du Narcisse," as one of the most serious and important poems of Charmes , provides a suitable medium for the study of Valery's poetics at the time of his serious return to poetry. Charmes , because it demonstrates a skillful use of a variety of forms and a masterful command of the tools of poetry, is a testament to the mature Valery's consummate skill in poetic composition and expression. "Fragments du Narcisse" is a model of the craftmanship found in Charmes . The "Fragments" illustrates Valery's increasing interest in and mastery of the rhetorical devices of poetry. A further increase in alliteration is readily noticeable, but there are also tropes and literary devices not found in "Narcisse parle," such as anacoluthon, anaphora, asyndeton, oxymoron, simile, etc. Although there is a determined movement away from obscurity in this particular poem, nevertheless, there is a calculated use of unusual syntax. Conscious attention to expressive sound patterns, particularly the harmonic use of vowels is also an important aspect of the exquisitely fashioned poetry of this work. After the writing of Charmes , the increased emphasis on the technical aspects and rhetorical devices of poetry comes up again and again in Valery's pronouncements on poetry. In typical Valerian fashion, the theory is expounded after the practice. For example, in "Au sujet du Cimetiere marin " published in

PAGE 93

87 1933 as the preface to Gustave Cohen's famous lecture on the poem, Valery writes: L'univers poetique dont je parlais s'introduit par le nombre ou , plutot , par la densite des images, des figures, des consonances, dissonances, par 1 ' enchainement des tours et des rythmes, l'essentiel etant d'eviter constamment ce qui reconduirait a la prose, soit en la faisant regretter, soit en suivant exclusivement 1' idee . . . (0, I, 1502-03). A similar statement appears in "Questions de poesie:" Les rimes, 1' inversion, les figures developpees, les symetries et les images, tout ceci, trouvailles ou conventions, sont autant de moyens de s'opposer au penchant prosaique du lecteur (comme les "regies" fameuses de l'art poetique ont pour effet de rappeler sans cesse au poete 1 ' univers complexe de cet art). L ' impossibility de reduire a la prose son ouvrage, celle de le dire , ou de le comprendre en tant que prose sont des conditions imperieuses d'existence, hors desquelles cet ouvrage n'a poetiquement aucun sens (0, I, 1294). For Valery, perhaps the most important by-product of this emphasis on the conventions of poetry is that by increasing the poetry, he lessens its chances of being reduced to mere prose. Valery 's poetic theory is revealed and clarified through the study of the poetic concepts and conventions that he utilized in the "Fragments du Narcisse," the second chapter of his "autobiographie poetique." Following a discussion of additional background material and a brief survey of some representative studies of the poem, the first fragment will be compared with "Narcisse parle."

PAGE 94

88 This comparison focuses attention on the range of poetic conventions Valery used for the poem, but, more importantly, it points out what he rejected about his early theory of poetry. Next, the question of influence is taken up, but, unlike the case of "Narcisse parle," it is a peripheral issue. Discussion is made necessary by the frequent allusions to other poets by the critics who discuss the "Fragments." Sorting out these comparisons and the question of possible sources does have positive results, however, since considerable light is shed on Valery 's thoughts on poetry. Reference to Lucretius, for example, brings out Valery's position on the role of philosophy in poetry. Subsequently, outlining the Ovidian elements which appear in the poem also reflects aspects of Valery's theory of poetry and underscores his unique ability to choose and modify Ovid's details to enhance his own concept of poetry. In the final section of this chapter, the subject of pure poetry will be taken up briefly, but the emphasis will be on additional theoretical and technical details of the "Fragments" which are important to an understanding of Valery's poetics. "Fragments du Narcisse" is a dramatic, often intensely lyrical, poem in three parts. Originally it 5 was at the center of Charmes. In the 1929 version, considered to have the definitive order, it is number nine following "Cantique des colonnes" and preceding "L ' Abeille . "

PAGE 95

89 Taken as a whole, it is the longest poem in Charmes , 314 lines. Each of the three fragments has a history of its own. The first part has the longest and most complicated background. It was first published in the Revue de Paris on the 15th of September, 1919 (pp. 261-64). Later versions appeared in the Revue Universelle in May 1921 and 6 a month later in the Nouvelle Revue Franqaise . Also, in 1921, a version was published in La Pleiade which included 7 for the first time, the epigraph "Cur aliquid vidi?" This first segment consisting of 148 lines is the longest of the three fragments which make up the poem. On the one hand, it is "Narcisse parle" greatly amplified; on the other hand, it is a major departure from the early poem. This seeming discrepancy will be cleared up in the course of the detailed analysis of the poem. Although the first sixteen lines were published more than a year earlier in Le Divan , the entire second fragment, consisting of 116 lines, appeared first in the Q Nouvelle Revue Franqaise in 1923. The theme of love plays a major role in all three parts of the poem, but it is treated most objectively and completely in this second fragment . Most fragmentary in appearance, the third segment is composed of two sections separated by a line of dots. The second of the two parts begins and ends with an

PAGE 96

90 unrhymed line. Yet, in many ways the fragmentary aspect of this part is illusory. The images, vocabulary, and overall poetry of this section, just like the others, is very carefully wrought. First published in the Nouvelle Revue Fran;ais on May 1, 1922, 9 this fifty-line fragment, like the first, is reminiscent of "Narcisse parle." The motif of the final kiss appears again, and there is also a tender rendering of "adieux," but the tone is different, extremely anguished and tragic. The three fragments were not united until the Stols edition of Narcisse in 1926 and the 1926 edition of Charmes . The 1922 edition of Charmes contained only the first fragment. As was the case with studies of "Narcisse parle," it is Pierre-Olivier Walzer who once again presents the 12 most adequate background information. Among other important facts, he points out a common error which states that the first publication of the first fragment was in the Revue Universelle of May 1, 1921 when, in fact, it first appeared in the Revue de Paris in 1919. Most of the background material supplied by Walzer plus additional data, such as the variants, can be found in 0, I, 1663-1673. Also included there are some of Valgry's own comments made in interviews and lectures on the subject of "Fragments du Narcisse." For example, this paragraph from the lecture "Sur les 'Narcisse,'" appears in 0, I, 1671-72.

PAGE 97

91 Assez longtemps apres, 1 ' idee m'est venue de faire une sorte de contrepartie a" ce poeme si severe et si obscur de la Jeune Parque . J'ai choisi, ou plus exactement s'est choisi lui-rneme, ce theme du Narcisse d'autrefois, propre a ce je voulais faire, c'est-a-dire une oeuvre qui soit presque la contre-partie de la Jeune Parque , autrement simple dans sa forme et ne donnant lieu a presque aucune difficulte de comprehension, en portant surtout mon effort sur l'harmonie meme de la langue . 1 ^ Val^ry has also made a number of comments concerning Narcissus in the Cahiers and in letters and articles, many of them not mentioned in the background information in the Hytier edition of the OEuvres . A number of these remarks will be brought up subsequently. While Val£ry's own commentary can be extremely helpful to the reader attempting to understand his utilization of the Narcissus myth, it is limited and does not go into a number of important questions raised by the poem. Although there are not countless exegeses of "Fragments du Narcisse" as there are of Valery's La Cimetiere marin or La Jeune Parque , still it has been analyzed quite often and definitely more often than either of his other works on Narcissus, "Narcisse parle" and Cantate du Narcisse . Several of the studies of the "Fragments" turn out to be very valuable in terms of increasing the reader's understanding and enjoyment of the poem. Even though "Fragments du Narcisse" is not as difficult as the Cimetiere marin nor as obscure as La Jeune Parque , it is, nonetheless, a complex and rich work

PAGE 98

92 requiring sustained and determined analysis for maximum comprehension and appreciation. Among the analyses of "Fragments du Narcisse," Wallace Fowlie's "Valery's Dream of Narcissus"1 is a good introduction to the poem. It is probably the most thoughtful study in English. Frequently thought-provoking, it is a broad look at the poem with some fine details. While Fowlie concentrates primarily on the philosophical implications of Valery's meditation and emphasizes that the poem has the characteristics of a tragedy, he also mentions, albeit briefly, several important points related to Valery's theory of poetry. He understands, for example, that Valery sees poetic creation as an exercise: ". . . it is an exercise and one of the most brilliant he ever wrote, on a theme that obsessed him throughout his life, both in the narrow sense of the Greek myth and in the broader philosophical sense of the 'self.'" ° For Valery the concept that writing poetry was primarily an exercise was a strong conviction, seriously maintained and often repeated after his return to poetry. In a letter to Andr£ Fontainas, he mentions the idea in relation to his masterpiece La Jeune Parque : "Oui, je me suis impost pour ce poeme des lois, observances constantes, qui en constituent le veritable objet . C'est bien un exercice ..." (0, I, 1631). He even expresses the idea in the dedication of La Jeune Parque to Gide :

PAGE 99

93 "A Andre Gide/ Depuis bien des annees/ j'avais laisse l'art des vers:/ essayant de m'y astreindre encore,/ j'ai fait cet exercice/ que je te dedie. 1917" (0, I, 96). Again and again the point comes up in his theoretical discussions on poetry: ". . . je rapporte tout ce que je pense de l'art a 1 ' idee d'exercise, que je trouve la plus 17 belle du monde." Specifically in relation to "Fragments du Narcisse:" Je lui dis que Narcisse etait ne dans mon esprit trente-six ans avant , a 1 'occasion d'une pierre od le feminin de son nom est grave; que 1 ' image de cet amateur de soi-meme m'avait seduit en premier par sa grace, et donne 1 ' idee d'un poeme fort simple oil il n'y eut que le chant d'un malheureux trop beau. Bien des annees plus tard, je repris ce theme si pur, et m ' en fis un exercise . *-° (My emphasis) When ValSry seriously returned to poetry about 1912 or 1913, what primarily interested him about poetic creation was how much of the mind it was capable of engaging; and, conversely, he recognized that the exercise of writing poetry stimulated the mind: Tandis que je m ' abandonnais avec d'assez grandes jouissances a* des reflexions de cette espdce, et que je trouvais dans la poe'sie un sujet de questions infinies, la meme conscience de moi-meme qui m'y engageait me representait qu'une speculation sans quelque production d'oeuvres ou d'actes qui la puissent verifier est chose trop douce pour ne pas devenir, si profonde ou si ardue qu'on la poursuive en soi, une tentation prochaine de facility

PAGE 100

94 sous des apparences abstraites. Je m 1 apercevais que ce qui desormais m ' interessait dans cet art etait la quantite d'esprit qu'il me semblait pouvoir developper, et qu'il excitait d'autant plus qu'on se faisait de lui une idee plus approfondie. Je ne voyais pas moins nettement que toute cette depense d' analyse ne pouvait prendre un sens et une valeur que moyennant une pratique et une production qui s'y rapportat . 1" What is important to Valery is the labor which goes into the poem and the way the mind functions in creation. It is the means not the end which Valery values most. "En somme, je regarde bien plus amoureusement aux methodes qu ' aux resultats, et la fin ne me justifie pas les moyens car il n'y a pas de fin " (0, I, 1472). The last part of the preceding quotation, which Valery emphasizes, is related to another important factor that comes up in Fowlie's discussion of the poem the idea that, for Valery, a poem is never finished: "Valery is constantly establishing an opposition between life and the mind of the poet observing life. But he is also constantly establishing a connection between life and the poet's mind. Life never comes to a completion (until, of course, the event of death) and a poem is therefore never completed until the poet's death arrests all future 20 work on it." Valery felt very strongly about this point, too: "Une oeuvre n'est jamais necessairement f inie , car celui qui l'a faite ne s'est jamais accompli.. (0, I, 1450-51) . 21 He comments at length on the subject

PAGE 101

95 in "Au sujet du Cimetiere marin :" On en arrive au travail pour le travail . Aux yeux de ces amateurs d' inquietude et de perfection, un ouvrage n'est jamais acheve , mot qui pour eux n'a aucun sens, mais abandonne ; et cet abandon, qui le livre aux flammes ou au public (et qu'il soit l'effet de la lassitude ou de 1 'obligation de livrer), leur est une sorte d ' accident , comparable a la rupture d'une reflexion, que la fatigue, le facheux, ou quelque sensation viennent rendre nulle. J'avais contracts* ce mal , ce gout pervers de la reprise indefinie, et cette complaisance pour l'etat reversible des oeuvres, a 1 ' age critique oil se forme et se fixe 1 ' homme intellectuel Je les ai retrouves dans toute leur force, quand, vers la cinquantaine , les circonstances ont fait que je me remisse a composer . . . (0, I, 1497). Not only did Valery revise his poems over and over again, he went so far as to say: J'ai ete blame, par exemple, d' avoir donne plusieurs textes du mime poeme, et meme contradictoires. Ce reproche m'est peu intelligible, comme on peut s'y attendre, aprds ce que je viens d'exposer. Au contraire, je serais tente [. . . ] d'engager les poetes a produire, a la mode des musiciens, une diversite de variantes ou de solutions du meme sujet. Rien ne me semblerait plus conforme a 1 ' idie que j'aime Si me faire d ' un poete et de la poesie (0, I, 1501). The use and re-use of the Narcissus theme by Valery dramatizes his strong belief that a poem is never finished, that alternate solutions are always possible and should be tried, and that variations or modulations are just as legitimate for poetry as they are for music.

PAGE 102

96 In the course of Fowlie's study of the poem, two more aspects of Val6ry's poetic theory are mentioned. He o* recognizes that the subject of the poem is not important, ' and he seems aware of the role Valery designates for the reader as a kind of co-creator with the poet. The idea of a poem, its theme, its subject matter, is not its purpose. A poem must go beyond what it affirms, otherwise it is prose, language for mere communication. The poems of Valery demand the full creative powers of the reader. 23 Somewhat related to the premise that the subject of a Valerian poem is unimportant is the anti-personal nature of Valery' s poems. Noticing this aspect in "Fragments du Narcisse," Fowlie comments as follows. The very personal incidents in Valery 's life are not known with any certainty. In 1892, he suffered over love for a woman, but there is no trace of this passion in his early poems. 24 There is probably some trace of it in Fragments du Narcisse , in the second part of the poem, but this is so universalized and transposed that it is not the autobiography of Paul Valery, but a poet's creation. 2 ^ One final point that Fowlie makes about the relationship of poetry to the "Fragments" is to see the theme of poetry embodied in the poem: During the unfolding of the myth, Valery describes the calm of the forest scene, the silence of the fountain, and Narcissus' discovery of his image. As he remains immobile, his love grows in him until it reaches a high point of fervor. As thus narrated, it is also the myth of poetry, the discovery of

PAGE 103

97 poetry as it rises up in the self when the self is immobilized and totally attentive to the emotion that is forming in words. The happiness of the poet is the tranquility of the self when he allows the image to form. So Narcissus and his image are in reality the poet and his poem. They are as totally separated one from the other as Narcissus is separated from his image, but they are bound to one another in the sense that one is dependent on the other, that one comes from the other. 2 ° In addition to his observations bearing on Valery's poetics, Fowlie makes other discerning remarks of a more general nature which are worth noting. While he is aware of the essentially depersonalized nature of Valery's poem, Fowlie, nevertheless, senses that the "art, the temperament, the intellect and struggles of Paul Valery are all 27 present in "Fragments du Narcisse." For Fowlie, Fragments du Narcisse is a long poem on the encounter of a young man with his own image. Whereas in the myth, the beauty of his face and his body is the cause of the wonderment, in Valery's poem the cause of the wonderment and self-examination is more dominantly philosophical. The erotic attraction is certainly present but the protagonist is struck by the contrast between his uniqueness and his universality. Fowlie does not quote Valery on this point, but it is important to realize that Valery himself mentions this duality of the unique and the universal in relation to "Fragments du Narcisse." Reporting a conversation he had with Rainer-Maria Rilke about the theme of Narcissus,

PAGE 104

98 he recalls that he said apropos of the "Fragments:" Ce travail me conduisit a. examiner mon sujet sous divers aspects, c'esta-dire a rechercher ce que 1 ! on peut trouver d'essentiel dans la rencontre d'un etre avec son image. Ce n'est plus la beaute de son visage et de sons corps qui apparait alors au Narcisse. C'est le contraste entre 1' Unique et l'Universel qu'il se sent etre, et cette personne finie et particuliere qu'il se voit dans le miroir d'eau... (Mais ceci n'a pas figure' dans mon poeme.) Fowlie summarizes each fragment concisely (p. 77) and then makes the following overall characterization of the poem, that it is three moments or scenes of a meditation which Val£ry laboriously made into his most poignant poem on the conscience and the consciousness of the self (P. 77). While he does not, by any means, attempt a line by line discussion of the poem, a number of vocabulary details are carefully explained and certain important lines are discussed in quite some detail. Further discussion of Fowlie' s analysis of specific points in the poem will be taken up where they become pertinent. Another substantial study of "Fragments du Narcisse" is found in James Lawler's: Lecture de Valery , 30 Une Etude de Charmes . Characterizing the poem as a "soliloque tragique," Lawler, like Fowlie, underscores the dramatic as well as the tragic nature of the poem: Le cr£puscule est un moment privil^gie' de la creation des mythes. La nuit

PAGE 105

99 remplace le jour, le sommeil la veille, et la lumiere connait une ultime extase. Un chant d ' amour s'eleve de la nature et des hommes, mais tout sera bientot absorbe par la raort puisque l'objet aime est essent iellement fugitif. Ce theme, comme Valery l'a bien compris, n'est pas seulement dramatique mais tragique et les trois actes de son poeme decrivent un mouvement inevitable sous le signe des dieux. L ' exclamation "helas," entendue cinq fois. rappelle la fatale impuissance des hommes a arreter le flot des evenements ou a. jamais atteindre a. l'objet de leur plus vif desir.31 Lawler's analysis follows the general thrust of the poem very diligently, often line by line. Unfortunately, at times, what he says tends to be little more than a running account in prose of what Valery rendered so perfectly in poetry, for example, the lines two to twenty-two discussed on pages 103 to 104. This is certainly not always the case, however. In his analysis of the second fragment, for instance, Lawler does develop the import as well as recapitulating the substance. Quoting the lines: "L'oiseau mort, le fruit mur , lentement descendus,/ Et les rares lueurs des clairs anneaux perdus..." Lawler amplifies the section on the lovers as follows: Ce dernier vers, qui eVoque avec une simplicity classique tous les amours qui ont §t6 et sont disparus, introduit 1' episode des amants qui se terminera en une frenesie nostalgique: cependant nous savons d'ores et d6ja quel doit etre le resultat inevitable de leur aventure. L' Episode commence (v. 171179) par la description de la separation du feuillage. (Nous nous souvenons

PAGE 106

100 du vers 65 ou 1 ' image de Narcisse se re-vela de fagon parallele.) La fontaine reflete le tourment des amants, leur passion brulante, compares au calme et a. la froideur de l'eau. L'amant triomphe de la nuque pr£cieuse, £prouve un pouvoir illusoire, forme le "monstre" de 1 'amour. L' union est r6alisee, ou tout au moins il le semble; mais les amants ont les yeux fermes, ils se mentent, la mort est presente quand leur sang devient une pourpre redoutable et le noeud monstrueux de leurs corps on se defait deja. ^ On a number of points, the conclusions drawn by 33 Lawler and Fowlie are strikingly similar. In particular, the last section of both studies develops the same notion. Lawler says: "Chacun des trois actes de ce drame s ' ouvre sur une invocation: aux Nymphes, a la fontaine, au propre corps de Narcisse.' Along similar lines Fowlie states: "Each of the three fragments begins with an invocation and what is invoked becomes the central part of the development." Fowlie goes on to show how each invocation becomes an essential element of its segment. Lawler, in more detail, integrates the invocations of the first two fragments (pp. 114-15). By bringing out this structural similarity found in each of the three segments, they present one of the many ways in which the three parts, seemingly so dissimilar, are carefully woven together by Valery to give the poem an unexpected unity which its title belies. After calling the reader's attention to several places in the Cahiers where Valery discusses the subject

PAGE 107

101 36 of Narcissus, Lawler makes an important point concerning ValSry's poetic theory. He sees that the poem is not, in essence, a metaphysical expression but is instead unquestionably tied in with Vale'ry's poetics. Si nous regrettons que Valery n'ait jamais terming l'essai sur le mythe qu'il eut 1' intention d'ecrire en 1921 et dont le huitidme cahier nous montre les Elements, il nous faut croire toutefois qu'il n'aurait pas ajoute' n^cessairement beaucoup & notre appreciation de la po£sie car le poeme est dans son essence la mise en oeuvre de sa propre loi de composition et non 1' expression d'une metaphysique : "Le fond importe peu, lieux communs. Ma vraie pens£e n'est pas adaptable 7, "3 7 aux vers . f ° ' Developing further the thought that the "Fragments" is an expression of Valery 's theory of poetry, Lawler, quoting Valery, stresses a point already discussed: Val£ry's preoccupation with the idea of utilizing the same theme over and over again: "Je con^ois, quant & moi, que le mime sujet et presque les memes mots pourraient etre repris O Q indefiniment et occuper toute une vie." Although he does not develop the idea in depth, Lawler recognizes that the "Fragments" is a part of Valery 's "autobiographie po£tique." He expresses it this way: "Auto-biographie est employe ici, non dans le sens de confession personnelle, mais surtout de timoignage des changements survenus dans les preoccupations formelles du poete. Fragments se presentait tout d ' abord & son auteur, a 1 ' instar des autres poemes de Charmes , comme un probldme

PAGE 108

102 forrael a rSsoudre, et le sujet aussi bien que la version fixation font partie de cette solution." Later, Lawler quotes a key statement made by Valery about a difficult problem which he posed for himself: "Ce qui m'a particulierement requis dans le Second Narcisse , c'est la combinaison de la periode syntaxique et de cette structure musicale perpetuelle, le vers, au sens syllabique du terme, divisant le d6veloppement de la phrase et formant en quelque sorte une loi de liaison de plus entre les parties. ^ Before quoting the eight lines which run from "0 douceur de survivre a la force du jour" to "Et s'6tendre en un songe en qui le soir se change," Lawler remarks: "Une exemple le montrera mieux que tout commentaire tel que cette magnifique periode (v. 48-55) qui renferme dans sa plenitude de couleur et de suggestion &vo41 tique une evocation du coucher du soleil." In order to further illustrate the originality of the lines and Val6ry's successful resolution of the technical problem which he posed for himself, Lawler compares the eight lines to the alexandrines of La Jeune Parque which he feels were "un rappel continuel du viol sauvage et mysterieux de la 42 chair." On the other hand, with these eight lines, he suggests that we find the sweetness of love and a joyous 43 lassitude, a surrender to regular movement. "" He concludes: Dans les vers cit£s ci-dessus, les rimes, les assonances et la subtile modulation des nasales, surtout remarquables dans les derniers vers, ont un pouvoir exceptionnel de

PAGE 109

103 suggestion, tant a. cause de l'unite de la longue periode dont la mesure rythmique est le distique que de la beaute sensuelle des images qui evoquent un moment singulier d'enchantement suspendu. In addition to the studies done by Fowlie and Lawler, there are several other worthwhile analyses of the "Fragments" which can not be neglected, such as Alain's comments in his annotation of Charmes , and an article of a more technical nature, Eva-Maria Gerstel's, "The Creative Process in Two Early Manuscripts of Paul Valery 's 'Frag45 ments du Narcisse.'" These will be referred to later. For now, one additional interpretation will be examined, the chapter on the "Fragments" in Pierre-Olivier Walzer's La Poesie de Valery . In addition to a wealth of background material, Walzer provides a brief but perceptive analysis of the poem. I will return to his discussion of the first fragment momentarily. A vital feature of his examination of the second fragment is his demonstration of how Valery differs remarkably from the Romantic poets in his presentation of the theme of past love. Walzer, who feels that Valery cruelly lays bare the vanity of love and the illusions it engenders, describes roughly thirty lines, from "Tant il garde 1' eclat de leurs jours les plus beaux" (55) to "Brule un secret baiser qui la rend furieuse..." (82). Ce jour consacre' au souvenir n'est qu'un nouveau "jour de desespoir." Au contraire des illustres amants romantiques, les amants de Valery ne connaissent point l'apaisement consolateur qui nait d ' un contact

PAGE 110

104 intime, presque mystique, avec la nature. Pour eux , "la rose meme est amere dans 1'air." lis ne trouvent point de consolation a apostropher les eaux, les arbres ou les rochers, tous etres qui demeurent : ils ne rencontrent dans la nature, ils n ' en retiennent que ses elements fluides et perissables, les souffles, les parfums, les feuilles qu'emporte le vent. Le soleil meme leur est ennemi , qui ne sait qu'eclairer ce qui n ' est plus et dissiper les chimeres, les "songes absolus" qu'ont enf antes leurs ames. Ils sont incapables de purifier leur passion en divinisant son souvenir. Au contraire, tout la leur rappelle avec une acuite singuliere. Au lieu que les cris de revolte se changent en hymne d' adoration chez les Romantiques, les amants du Narcisse hesitent jusqu'au bout entre "la caresse et le meurtre;" un "secret baiser" les brule, rend leur ame "furieuse," et leur rappelle constamment , dans leurs songes de la nuit et du jour, leur radicale, leur inguerissable insatisf act ion . ^6 Valgry successfully renews an old theme by means of his stark realism and complete avoidance of sentimentality. With this "exercise" in both form and content, Valery adequately meets the challenge he set himself, to completely recast the old, worn-out theme of past love. With respect to part three of the poem, which generally tends to be seriously neglected by most critics Walzer makes a precise, but, unfortunately, brief assessment of approximately the first twenty-five lines: L' amour que Narcisse se porte arrive ici & un point d ' exasperation jamais atteint. Ce corps qu ' il decouvre dans le miroir des eaux lui apparait de plus en plus desirable. II le doue

PAGE 111

105 d'une conscience et renverse les roles'. c ' est le reflet du corps, note du "ciel sombre" de la fontaine, qui est maintenant capable de seduire Narcisse. Quel secret rode sur ses levres? "J' aime . . . J ' aime ! . . . " Estce la reponse a la question posee a la fin du fragment precedent? En tout cas, elle n ' apprend rien au bel adolescent: "Et qui done peut aimer autre chose Que soi-meme? . . . " Mais encore faudrait-il que cet amour de soi ne restat pas sterile. Pour se rejoindre en un dernier effort, avant que la nuit n'ait tout a fait aboli son image, Narcisse eleve vers les dieux, "Maltres heureux , Peres des justes fraudes" une suppliante priere, leur demandant de suspendre la fuite de jour. Nouvelle reprise, en des termes infiniment precieux, d'un theme romantique: "0 temps! suspends ton vol!"" 1 ^ The reversal of roles which Walzer mentions, Valery handles subtly and effectively. The expression of panic and extreme frustration which characterizes this fragment reaches an intensity unequaled elsewhere in the poem, yet there is a remarkable, almost unparalleled, poetic control . This is especially evident in the prayer, a highly concentrated, beautiful supplication. The technical means employed by Valery in this third fragment will be amplified later . "Narcisse parle" and the "Fragments" Walzer 's treatment of the first fragment serves as an introduction and an aid to a full length discussion of the differences and similarities between "Narcisse parle" and the first section of "Fragments du Narcisse."

PAGE 112

106 The purpose of this comparison will be to show specifically what has evolved and what has remained constant in Valery's poetic theory over a significant period of time, about thirty years. First of all, Walzer describes the number and the arrangement of lines in the first version of this first fragment which appeared in the Revue de Paris in 1919. He points out which lines of the final version were already a part of this first stage, what elements of "Narcisse parle" it contained, and in what form. For example, lines twenty-nine to thirty-nine of the final version made up the first part of the earliest version. Lines thirty-five to thirty-nine were taken directly from "Narcisse parle" and line thirty-seven which ultimately became "J'entends 1 ' herbe des nuits croitre dans 1' ombre sainte," was still "J'entends 1 ' herbe d'argent grandir dans 1 'ombre sainte." The first version, in addition, consisted of lines 72 to 75, followed by 56 to 67 and 109-148, but lines 66 and 67 were reversed and consider48 ably revised while 109-114 also contained variations. Lines 110-114 were borrowed from "Narcisse parle" as were lines 115-120. Given the information in the Oeuvres (pp. 166465) and Walzer ' s comments, it is possible to reconstruct the first version. This will simplify additional discussion. The lines from "Narcisse parle" are indicated

PAGE 113

107 by placing a dash (on the left) in front of each line of the sequence. The numbers on the right indicate the position of the line in the definitive version. Heureux vos corps fondus, Eaux planes et profondes! 29 Je suis seul!...si les Dieux, les echos et les ondes, Et si tant de soupirs permettent qu ' on le soit. Seul ! . . . mais encor celui qui s'approche de soi Quand il s'approche aux bords que benit ce f euillage . . . Des cimes, l'air deja cesse le pur pillage, 'Np" — La voix des sources change, et me parle du soir; 35 — Un grand calme m'gcoute, ou j'ecoute l'espoir. — J'entends 1 ' herbe d' argent grandir dans 1' ombre sainte , — Et la lune perfide eleve son miroir — Jusque dans les secrets de la fontaine eteinte. 39 — Et moi! De tout mon coeur dans ces roseaux jete, — Je languis, 6 saphir, par ma triste beaute! — Je ne sais plus aimer que 1 ' eau magicienne — Ou j'oubliai le rire et la rose ancienne. — Que je deplore ton eclat fatal et pur 72 — Si mollement de moi fontaine environnee — Ou puiserent mes yeux dans un mortel azur, Les yeux memes et noirs de leur ame etonnee 75 Quelle perte en soi-meme offre un si calme lieu! 56 L'ame jusqu'a perir s'y penche pour un Dieu Qu'elle demande a l'onde, onde d£serte, et digne Sur son lustre, du lisse effacement d'un cygne... A cette onde jamais ne burent les troupeaux D'autres ici perdus trouveraient le repos, Et dans la sombre terre un clair tombeau qui s ' ouvre. . . Mais ce n'est pas le calme, helas! que j'y decouvre Quand 1 'opaque d6lice ou dort cette clarte C&de a mon corps 1 ' horreur du f euillage ecarte, 65 Et que, repoussant 1 'ombre et l'gpaisseur panique , 67 Je vois, je tombe , et viens de ce corps tyrannique 66 Appartenir sans force aux Sternels attraits! 109 "Np" — LS, nue entre les bras qui naissent des forets, — Une tendre lueur d'heure ambigue exist e, — Et d'un reste du jour se forme un fiance 1 — Pur sur la place pale oil m'attire 1 ' eau triste, — Dglicieux demon, desirable et glacg!... 114

PAGE 114

108 -Voici dans 1 ' eau ma chair de lune et de rosee -0 forme obeissante a mes voeux opposee -Voici mes bras d' argent dont les gestes sont purs ! . . . -Mes lentes mains dans 1'or adorable se lassent -D'appeler ce captif que les feuilles enlacent -Et je crie aux echos les noms des dieux obscurs! 120 Mais que sa bouche est belle en ce muet blaspheme ! 121 semblable! . . . Et pourtant plus parfait que moi-meme 122 Ephemere immortel si clair devant mes yeux Pales membres de perle et ces cheveux soyeux, Faut-il qu'a peine aimes, 1 'ombre les obscurcisse, Et que la nuit d£ja nous devise, 6 Narcisse, Et glisse entre nous deux le fer qui coupe un fruit! Qu'as-tu? Ma plainte meme est f uneste? . . . Le bruit Du souffle que j'enseigne a tes levres, mon double, Sur la limpide lame a fait courir un trouble!... Tu trembles? Mais ces mots que j' expire a genoux Ne sont pourtant qu ' une ame hesitante entre nous, Entre ce front si pur et ma lourde mgmoire... Je suis si pr&s de toi que je pourrais te boire, visage!... Ma soif est un esclave nu... 135 Jusqu'a ce temps charmant je m'gtais inconnu, 136 Et je ne savais pas me cherir et me joindre! Mais te voir, cher esclave, obgir & la moindre Des ombres dans mon coeur se fuyant a regret Voir mon silence agir et briller mon secret, Voir, 6 merveille, voir! ma bouche nuancee Trahir . . .peindre sur l'onde une fleur de pensee, Et quels gvgnements gtinceler dans l'oeil! J'y trouve un tel trgsor d ' impuissance et d'orgueil , Que nulle vierge enfant echapp6e au satyre, Nulle! aux fuites habiles, aux chutes sans emoi , Nulle des nymphes, nulle amie... ne m'attire Comme tu fais sur l'onde ingpuisable Moi!... 148 This very first version of "Fragments du Narcisse" has seventy-one lines, almost one-half of the final version of 148. Of the seventy-one, approximately one-third are from "Narcisse parle" (twenty-three lines). Although several of these lines from the earlier poem will undergo

PAGE 115

109 modification later, only four of them from "Et moi! De tout mon coeur dans ces roseaux jete," to "Ou j'oubliai le rire et la rose ancienne," will be totally discarded for the later definitive version of the poem. They were undoubtedly omitted as Walzer indicates be49 cause of "leur vocabulaire par trop symbolisant . " The lines are taken in sequence, and almost intact, from the 1920 version of "Narcisse parle," beginning with the second stanza and ending with the last line of the sixth. In this first version of the "Fragments," however, they appear in two groups separated by fourteen lines. The first incorporation consists of twelve lines, the second eleven. Valery excluded only two lines from the five borrowed stanzas.: Mon image de fleurs humides couronnee ! Helas! L' image est vaine et les pleurs eternels! In their place he substituted one line: Les yeux memes et noirs de leur ame etonnee One good reason for the replacement of the lines is that the leitmotif of flower images so important to "Narcisse parle" does not appear in the first "Fragment." Also, in this version, the word "vaine" is not so dramatically emphasized through repetition as it was in "Narcisse parle." Walzer characterizes the omission and substitution as follows:

PAGE 116

110 Neanmoins le dernier vers ( "Mon image de fleurs humides couronnee") a ete transform^, car Valery a fait disparaitre des Fragments toutes les fleurs et les pierreries qui ornaient -et dataientson premier essai ; dans le present passage, les fleurs sont remplacee par des "yeux ...noirs" qui figurent peut-etre les mysteres du regard interieur, et qui sont plus a leur place, ici, que la gracieuse image de 1 ' Album . Ces quelques modifications suffisent a indiquer que 1 ' orientation generale du poeme^s'est profondement transf ormee. 50 As Walzer indicates, the general orientation of the poem is greatly changed; overall, however, modifications in the borrowed lines are relatively minor. Of the twenty-three lines used, the first two are merely reversed, making the development more logical; minor punctu51 ation changes occur; and the second group of lines, which were appropriated for the "Fragments," are modified in part, but only one line is dramatically altered. In "Narcisse parle" the lines read: A travers les bois bleus et les bras fraternels, Une tendre lueur d'heure ambigue existe, Et d ' un reste du jour me forme un fiance Nu , sur la place pale oil m'attire 1 ' eau triste... Delicieux demon, desirable et glace 1 ! For the first version of the "Fragment," changes occur in the first, third, and fourth lines of the original stanza. La, nue entre les bras qui naissent des forets, Une tendre lueur d'heure ambigue existe, Et d'un reste du jour se forme un fiance Pur sur la place pale ou m'attire 1 ' eau triste, D§licieux demon, desirable et glac§!

PAGE 117

Ill The changes in the first line, which was almost totally revamped, could very well have been necessitated by the demands of rhyme. A word was needed to rhyme with the word "attraits" of the new line which precedes the sequence in the new version. This type of alteration would be an example of Valery's working inward from the form to the content as he so often maintained was the CO case when he wrote poetry. Having now used "nue" in the first line, Valery opts to remove it from the third line and the result is an increase in alliteration, an extremely typical change for Valery to make, demonstrated already in chapter one. One final change takes place, "se" replaces "me" in the third line. Given the fairly long series of lines adopted so closely and directly from "Narcisse parle" for the first version of the "Fragments," it is obvious that the early poem continued to play a significant role in the unfolding drama of Valery's poetics at the time when he was writing the poems of Charmes . "Narcisse parle" is the core of the first version of the "Fragments." Some of the lines used go all the way back to the version which appeared in La Conque in 1890. For example: Et la lune perfide eleve son miroir Je languis, 6 saphir, par ma triste beaute, Voici dans 1 ' eau ma chair de lune et de rosee Voice mes bras d ' argent dont les gestes sont purs.. Mes lentes mains dans 1 ' or adorable se lassent D'appeler ce captif que les feuilles enlacent .

PAGE 118

112 Two lines go back even further to the earliest sonnet forms: "Que je deplore ton eclat fatal et pur'' and "Ou puiserent mes yeux dans un mortel azur." The re-use of lines provides valuable insight into Valery's method of composition. He seems to feel that certain of his lines are perfect from the beginning. In some cases these could of course be the famous "vers donnes," of which he speaks so often. On the other hand, some lines Valery reworks again and again, making necessary technical improvements as he hones his poetic tools more and more precisely over the years. Still other lines seem justes in their first state, or at an early stage fitting perfectly with related lines in terms of harmony, vocabulary, imagery, etc., yet Valery changes them. This type of modification could very well reflect his belief in the value of variation on a theme or be the discovery of a different solution to a poetic problem which he had posed for himself. This does not, however, invalidate the poetry of the earlier form. An example of the latter type of change may have occurred with the line, "J'entends l'herbe d'argent grandir dans 1 'ombre sainte." This line which went through a series of metamorphoses reached a kind of perfection in the 1920 version of "Narcisse parle." It was technically flawless, and had attained the precise metallic, Symbolist quality necessary for a poem like "Narcisse parle." It seemed

PAGE 119

113 to fit equally well in the first version of the "Fragments" beautifully describing the silvery effect of the moonlight, but Valery revised it for the third version to: J'entends 1 ' herbe des nuits croitre dans 1 'ombre sainte . This "solution," retained for the definitive version, does not negate the poetic achievement of the earlier form. The final form, however, which substitutes "nuits" for "or," is less ornamental fitting the more somber tone of the "Fragments." In addition, the infinitive "croitre" is the same verb used by Chateaubriand in the passage seen by Hytier as the source of Val£ry' s line. The series of revisions and rejections, and the significant retention of certain lines from "Narcisse parle" for the "Fragments" reveals the crux of Valgry's method of composition. As Vialzer suggests: Tant d ' hesitation , tant de changements, tant de redistributions des groupes de vers donnent une juste id6e de cette composition par "iles" qui fut d6j£i pratiqu£e k propos de la Jeune Parque , et qui fut d'ailleurs la methode de composition de Valery pour tous ses grands podmes. La dernifere difficult^ a laquelle se heurte 1 'artisan, c'est toujours la fagon d'imbriquer les unes dans les autres les diffe-rentes pieces de la marqueterie po£tique. Tant de variations justifient aussi peut-etre ce titre modeste: "fragments." ^ Walzer's comments are made with respect to all five versions of the first fragment, but the first one, as

PAGE 120

114 it has been discussed here in relation to "Narcisse parle," reveals at least in microcosm the same elements of Valery's method of composition, regrouping, rejecting, etc. When Walzer describes the other early versions of the first fragment, he mentions, for example, that the version published by la Pleiade in 1921 was exactly like the first version except for the addition of six lines which became lines twenty-three to twenty-eight in the final version. This, of course, gives the poem a new beginning. Similarly, the opening lines of the first version from "Heureux vos corps fondus, Eaux planes et profondes!" to "Des cimes, l'airdeja cesse le pur pillage," replacing the first stanza of "Narcisse parle," constituted a new beginning which resulted in a dramatic change in the poem from the outset. In fact, a new poem was created which, although it used the old poem as its core, was strikingly transformed due to the removal of poetic elements which dated it so obviously as a poem in the Symbolist style. In order to clarify further the process and significance of the development leading to the final version of the first fragment, the definitive form from Charmes will be quoted now in full, with the lines from "Narcisse parle" indicated on the left by dashes.

PAGE 121

115 Fragments du Narcisse Cur aliquid vidi? I Que tu brilles enfin, terme pur de ma course! Ce soir, comme d'un cerf, la fuite vers la source Ne cesse qu'il ne tombe au milieu des roseaux, Ma soif me vient abattre au bord meme des eaux, Mais, pour desalterer cette amour curieuse, 5 Je ne troublerai pas 1 ' onde mysterieuse: Nymphes! si vous m'aimez, il faut toujours dormir ! La moindre ame dans l'air vous fait toutes fremir; Meme, dans sa faiblesse, aux ombres echappee, Si la feuille eperdue effleure la napee. 10 Elle suffit a" rompre un univers dormant... Votre sommeil importe a" mon enchantement , II craint jusqu'au frisson d'une plume qui plonge! Gardez-moi longuement ce visage pour songe Qu'une absence divine est seule 9. concevoir! 15 Sommeil des nymphes, ciel, ne cessez de me voir! Revez, revez de moi!...Sans vous, belles fontaines, Ma beaute, ma douleur, me seraient incertaines. Je chercherais en vain ce que j ' ai de plus cher , Sa tendresse confuse etonnerait ma chair, 20 Et mes tristes regards, ignorants de mes charmes. A d'autres qu moi-meme adresseraient leurs larmes... Vous attendiez, peut-etre, un visage sans pleurs, Vous calmes, vous toujours de feuilles et de fleurs i Et de 1 ' incorruptible altitude hant£es, 2o nymphes !.. .Mais docile aux pentes enchantees Qui me firent vers vous d ' invincibles chemins, Souffrez ce beau reflet des d§sordres humains! Heureux vos corps fondus, Eaux planes et profondes ! Je suis seul!...Si les Dieux, les echos et les ondes 30 Et si tant de soupirs permettent qu'on le soit! Seul!...mais encor celui qui s'approche de soi Quand il s'approche aux bords que benit ce f euillage. . .

PAGE 122

116 Des cimes, l'air deja cesse le pur pillage; "Np" --La voix des sources change, et me parle du soir; 35 --Un grand calme m'gcoute, ou j ' ecoute l'espoir. — J'entends 1 ' herbe des nuits croitre dans 1' ombre sainte , --Et la lune perfide el£ve son miroir --Jusque dans les secrets de la fontaine eteinte... Jusque dans les secrets que je crains de savoir, 40 Jusque dans le repli de 1 ' amour de soi-meme, Rien ne peut echapper au silence du soir... La nuit vient sur ma chair lui souffler que je 1 ' aime . Sa voix fraiche a mes voeux tremble de consentir; A peine, dans la brise, elle semble mentir, 45 Tant le fremissement de son temple tacite Conspire au spacieux silence d ' un tel site. douceur de survivre a la force du jour, Quand elle se retire enfin rose d'amour, Encore un peu brulante, et lasse, mais comblee, 50 Et de tant de tresors tendrement accablee Par de tels souvenirs qu'ils empourprent sa mort , Et qu'ils la font heureuse agenouiller dans l'or, Puis s'etendre, se f ondre , et perdre sa vendange , Et s'§teindre en un songe en qui le soir se 55 change. Quelle perte en soi-meme offre un si calme lieu ! L'ame, jusqu'a perir, s'y penche pour un Dieu Qu'elle demande a l'onde, onde d£serte, et digne Sur son lustre, du lisse effacement d'un cygne... A cette onde jamais ne burent les troupeaux! 60 D'autres, ici perdus, trouveraient le repos, Et dans la sombre terre, un clair tombeau qui s ' ouvre . . . Mais ce n ' est pas le calme, helas! que j'y decouvre ! Quand 1 ' opaque delice ou dort cette clarte, Cdde a mon corps 1 ' horreur du feuillage §carte, 65 Alors, vainqueur de 1' ombre, 6 mon corps tyrannique, Repoussant aux forets leur gpaisseur panique, Tu regrettes bientot leur eternelle nuit! Pour 1 ' inquiet Narcisse, il n'est ici qu ' ennui! Tout m'appelle et m'enchaine a la chair lumineuse 70 Que m' oppose des eaux la paix vertigineuse !

PAGE 123

117 "Np" — Que de deplore ton eclat fatal et pur, --Si mollement de moi, fontaine environnee, — Ou puiserent mes yeux dans un mortel azur, Les yeux meraes et noirs de leur ame etonnee ! 75 Profondeur, profondeur, songes qui me voyez, Comme ils verraient une autre vie, Dites, ne suis-je pas celui que vous croyex, Votre corps vous fait-il envie? Cessez, sombres esprits, cet ouvrage anxieux 80 Qui se fait dans 1 ' ame qui veille; Ne cherchez pas en vous, n'allez suprendre aux cieux Le malheur d'etre une merveille: Trouvez dans la fontaine un corps delicieux... Prenant a vos regards cette parfaite proie, 85 Du monstre de s' aimer faites-vous un captif; Dans les errants filets des vos longs cils de soie Son gracieux gclat vous retienne pensif; Mais ne vous flattez pas de le changer d' empire. Ce cristal est son vrai s£jour; 90 Les efforts memes de 1 ' amour ! Ne le sauraient de l'onde extraire qu'il n'expire. .. PIRE. Pire ? . . . Quelqu'un redit Pire...O moqueur ! Echo lointaine est prompte a" rendre son oracle De son rire enchante, le roc brise mon coeur , 95 Et le silence, par miracle, Cesse ! . . . parle, renait, sur la face des eaux... Pire?. . . Pire destin ! . . . Vous le dites, roseaux, Qui reprites des vents ma plainte vagabonde ! Antres, qui me rendez mon ame plus profonde, 100 Vous renflez de votre ombre une voix qui se meurt . . . Vous me le murmurez, ramures! . . .0 rumeur DSchirante, et docile aux souffles sans figure, Votre or 16ger s'agite, et joue avec 1'augure... Tout se mele de moi, brutes divinites! 105 Mes secrets dans les airs sonnent £bruit£s, Le roc rit; 1 ' arbre pleure; et par sa voix charmante , Je ne puis jusqu'aux cieux que je ne me lamente D'appartenir sans force a* d'eternels attraits!

PAGE 124

118 "Np" — Helas! entre les bras qui naissent des forets, 110 — Une tendre lueur d'heure ambigue existe... — La, d ' un reste du jour, se forme un fiance, — Nu , sur la place pale ou m* attire 1 ' eau triste, --Delicieux demon desirable et glace! --Te voici, mon doux corps de lune et de rosee, 115 — forme obeissante a roes yeux opposee ! — Qu'ils sont beaux, de mes bras les dons vastes et vains! — Mes lentes mains, dans l'or adorable se lassent --D'appeller ce captif que les feuilles enlacent; — Mon coeur jette aux £chos 1' eclat des noms divins!... 120 Mais que ta bouche est belle en ce muet blaspheme ! semblable ! . . . Et pourtant plus parfait que moi-meme , Ephemere immortel, si clair devant mes yeux, Pales membres de perle, et ces cheveux soyeux, Faut-il qu ' a. peine aimes, l'ombre les obscurcisse, 125 Et que la nuit deja, nous divise, 6 Narcisse, Et glisse entre nous deux le fer qui coupe un fruit! Qu'as-tu? Ma plainte meme est funeste?... Le bruit Du souffle que j'enseigne a tes l£vres, mon double, Sur la limpide lame a fait courir un trouble!... 130 Tu trembles !... Mais ces mots que j' expire a genoux Ne sont pourtant qu'une ame hesitante entre nous, Entre ce front si pur et ma lourde memoire... Je suis si prds de toi que je pourrais te boire, visage!... Ma soif est un esclave nu... 135 Jusqu'a ce temps charmant je m'£tais inconnu, Et je ne savais pas me cherir et me joindre! Mais te voir, cher esclave, ob£ir a la moindre Des ombres dans mon coeur se f uyant a regret , Voir sur mon front 1'orage et les feux d ' un secret, 140 Voir, 6 merveille, voir! ma bouche nuancee Trahir . . .peindre sur l'onde une fleur de pensee, Et quels Sv^nements £tinceler dans l'oeil! J'y trouve un tel trSsor d ' impuissance et d ' orgueil , Que nulle vierge enfant £chappSe au satyre, 145 Nulle! aux fuites habiles, aux chutes sans emoi, Nulle des nymphes, nulle amie, ne m'attire Comme tu fais sur l'onde, inSpuisable Moi!... (0, I, 122-126).

PAGE 125

119 Because the first fragment in its final form is more than twice as long as it was originally, the role of "Narcisse parle" is considerably diminished. Only nineteen lines remain and several of these have been altered. Even in its reduced state, however, Valery's continued reuse of "Narcisse parle" is of considerable interest since it allows for significant and revealing points of comparison which illustrate Valery's evolving poetic theory. The first significant change, not already discussed, is an excellent example of one of Valery's chief concerns at the time of Charmes , a very deliberate attention to poetic devices. Although four lines of "Narcisse parle," used in early versions of the first "Fragment , " were dropped for the final version, they were replaced by the poetic amplification of another line from "Narcisse parle." "Jusque dans les secrets de la fontaine eteinte" was originally followed by the four line sequence from "Narcisse parle" beginning "Et moi! De tout mon coeur dans ces roseaux jete." In the final version the lines read as follows : Jusque dans les secrets de la fontaine eteinte... Jusque dans les secrets que je crains de savoir, Jusque dans le repli de 1 ' amour de soi-meme, By using anaphora, Valery effectively intensifies the focus on self. By a slight variation he modifies, ever so subtly, the third line of the anaphoric sequence. The

PAGE 126

120 use of "repli" to replace "secrets" is unexpected but fitting. It means the same thing, 55 therefore, it is more the same than if the word "secrets" had merely been repeated once again as anticipated. In addition, the idea of a fold evoked by "repli" is an apt image for the turning inward of self-love, which is itself a fearful secret hidden in the depths of self. The four line sequence beginning "Que je deplore ton dclat fatal et pur" (11. 72-75), undergoes no modification; however, it is displaced and isolated from the other lines of "Narcisse parle" with which it had originally been grouped. The new disposition of the lines demonstrates once again ValeVy's penchant for revision through regrouping. Reference to the changes in the lines from "H£las! entre les bras qui naissent des forets," to "D£licieux d£mon desirable et glac£!" (1. 110-114) has already been made. (See footnote 53.) One final group of lines borrowed from "Narcisse parle" appeared in the first version of the "Fragment" in the following form. Voici dans 1 ' eau ma chair de lune et de rosee forme obeissante a mes voeux opposee Voici mes bras d'argent dont les gestes sont purs!.. Mes lentes mains dans 1 ' or adorable se lassent D'appeler ce captif que les feuilles enlacent Et je crie aux echos les noms des dieux obscurs! In the final version, the lines became:

PAGE 127

121 Te voici, mon doux corps de lune et de rosee, forme obeissante a mes yeux opposee ! Qu'ils sont beaux, de mes bras les dons vastes et vaines! Mes lentes mains, dans l'or adorable se lassent D'appeler ce captif que les feuilles enlacent; Mon coeur jette aux echos 1' eclat des noms divins!... (11. 115-20). The change in the second line from "voeux" to "yeux" is a reversion to an earlier form. The most significant modifications occur in the third line and in the final line. The syntax of the third line, radically altered, is unusual and, consequently, more poetic, but its meaning is not measurably obscured. "Bras" is still emphasized, perhaps even more so, coming now at the caesura; "beaux" is also stressed, both by its position and because it is part of an exclamatory phrase. "Dons" replaces "dont" in terms of sound and "gestes" in terms of meaning. It is infinitely more expressive. The loss of "argent" is advantageous, since it avoids a possible inconsistency with respect to "or" in the following line. The demands of rhyme may have caused some of the changes in these two lines, especially in the last line. The line could no longer end with "obscurs" since it was necessary to have a word rhyming with "vains." In the last line, the harsh "c" sounds of the synecdoche "coeur" and the words "echos" and "eclat" may suggest the angry frustration of Narcissus at this point, but this "cry" from the heart hurled at the gods is more important as a "muet blaspheme" as the next line

PAGE 128

122 indicates: "Mais que ta bouche est belle en ce muet blaspheme!" Consequently, the line in its revised form is more fitting than "Et je crie aux echos les noms des dieux obscurs! The word "eclat" found in the revised line, poetically linked to other parts of the poem by repetition, ° may imply sound or light or both. Its ambiguity is particularly useful here. The internal (in the heart) "muet blaspheme," having no real auditory reflection is inaudible, but it echoes visually, in a sense, since the expression of the mouth ("ta bouche... en ce muet blaspheme") reflects it on the water in the still lingering light. Before concluding this analysis of the role of "Narcisse parle" vis-a-vis the development of the "Fragments du Narcisse," two additional questions need to be considered which bear upon other important aspects of Valery's theory of poetry: Valery's possible debt to Ovid, and the problem of influence. Questionable Sources In the first chapter, I demonstrated that the question of influence was crucial to "Narcisse parle." The full story of the early Narcissus poem could not have been told without establishing the debt Valery owed to others. In particular, it was possible to illustrate that four literary figures demonstrably affected not only "Narcisse parle" but Valery's ideas on poetry as well.

PAGE 129

123 The roles played by Gide and Huysmans, and especially Mallarme and Poe , were an integral part of the story of "Narcisse parle" and offered valuable insight into Vale"ry's early poetic theory. In his early years, Vale'ry, like most fledgling poets, was impressionable and imitative. The story which unfolds with respect to the poetry of the "Fragments" is almost totally different. By this time, Val£ry has reached poetic maturity. He has, for example, rid himself of many of the superficial trappings of Symbolism (this has already been borne out by comparison with "Narcisse parle"). There are, however, several important figures who are repeatedly mentioned when "Fragments du Narcisse" is analyzed. Certain names come up again and again, names like Hugo and Racine, for instance. The focus of such comparisons usually is and probably can only be of a general nature rather than as specific and particular as it was with "Narcisse parle." The mature poet of Charmes admires what is best in Hugo and finally has come to appreciate Racine's supreme poetic skill, but it is probably neither a question of imitation nor, for that matter, of direct influence. By this time, Val£ry has evolved his own practice and theory. Nevertheless, since the names of the great French Romantic poets, Hugo, Vigny, Lamartine, and Musset as well as such giants of poetry as Lucretius, Ronsard, and Racine and less frequently, but perhaps more reasonably, Leonardo da Vinci,

PAGE 130

124 are mentioned in connection with Vale"ry's "Fragments du Narcisse," it is useful to look, at least briefly, at the reasons for drawing such parallels. What, if anything, do these comparisons reveal about Valdry's poetry at this stage, even if it is primarily by way of contrast? Almost invariably French Romantic poets are cited when "Fragments du Narcisse" is analyzed. In particular, the second fragment is often compared with Hugo's "Tristesse d ' Olympic " Lawler, for instance, sees the overall thematic similarities in the description of the extreme sadness of past love remembered: Le nostalgique ne trouve que douleur en tout ce qui une fois sembla si beau: la faiblesse a remplace" le sentiment de pouvoir et de domination, les tr^sors sont devenus des tombeaux. Ce thdme est bien sur l'un des plus populaires de la po^sie romantique-Lamartine dans "L' Isolement" et Hugo dans "Tr: son expression la p. •istesse d'Olympio" lui donnent •ession la plus connue.... ' Lawler suggests that Val£ry's art surpasses that of the Romantic poets: "... mais les vers de Val6ry nous apparaissent 5 la fois plus simples et plus concentres; la musicalit£, la tendresse, l'amertume sont merveilleusement rendues sans emphase." Generally conceding the superiority of Valery's work, a number of other writers have observed the similarities between Valery's "Fragments" and famous French Romantic poems. Focusing on the fountain of the second

PAGE 131

125 fragment, Roland Derche observes: "Mais 'froidement presente,/ Douce aux purs animaux, aux humains complaisante,' la fontaine est bien celle d'Ovide, evoquee avec des accents qui vont rappeler tout a. la fois de fagon assez imprevue la 'Tristesse d'Olympio' de Victor Hugo et le 'Souvenir' de Musset . " In a similar vein, but alluding to Lamartine rather than Musset, Pierre Michel comments : Sur 1'enivrement de la passion et sur sa fragilite, theme si souvent repris par les poetes romantiques, Valery a compose deux developpements symetriques sobres et amers; le plaisir d' aimer vite dissipe par le Temps, les retours dans les lieux temoins des extases passees, les regrets, les desirs de caresses, les instincts de meurtre sont evoques tour a tour dans un mouvernent qui ne le cede pas au Lac de Lamartine ou a la Tristesse d'Olympio , avec moins de souffle mais plus d'intensite: le podte n'a pas les consolations de la foi dans l'eternite. In a manuscript analysis of the second fragment, Eva Maria Gerstel notes an important difference in approach between Vale"ry and the Romantic poets, one which must not be overlooked. "Nature is neither sympathetic as in Musset or Hugo, nor indifferent as in Vigny, but a mirror reflecting truth and destroying illusion. " bi Consequently, the treatment is satisfyingly different, although the subject itself is trite. Fowlie, also underscoring the likeness of the "Fragments" to Hugo's poem, mentions Valery' s reason for working with such a stale

PAGE 132

126 theme: "The lovers' desires and natures are fused in this passage that quite literally reproduces a major theme in Hugo's 'Tristesse d'Olympio.' Valery acknowledged that he wrote this passage of the second fragment as a challenge to himself: to write in accordance with a rigorous art lines that seem easy." The role of exercise in Val§ry's poetic canon has already been established in this study. Quoting Valery in his edition of Charmes, Robert Monestier reiterates this important idea: Fragment II. Vers 1-82. La fontaine a £te temoin de bien des drames et de bien des ivresses d' amour suivies de deception et d'amertume. Ce theme est frequent chez les romantiques et d'une banalite qui surprend chez Valery: mais il a voulu, d'apres une lettre a Guy Lavaud , "reprendre ce theme facile, pour s'exercer dans 1 ' art tres difficile du vers facile d ' aspect . "^3 The result of this type of endeavor is that the subject, in this case, the lover returning to a scene in nature witness to his earlier love affair, is of minor consequence. It is the poetry itself which takes precedence, as Valery intended. The consensus among critics seems to be that Valery 's treatment of the theme surpasses even the great achievements of the Romantic poets. The cold realism and utter lack of sentiment in Valery' s approach, however, make it apparent that his general outlook on love and his overall poetic aims were vastly different from those of

PAGE 133

127 the Romantic poets. Numerous other dissimilarities could easily be detailed. Consequently, such comparisons as those quoted above and their subsequent value judgments tend to be vague and meaningless. Perpetrating the same tedious refrain over and over again, i.e. Valgry's "Fragments" is like Hugo's "Tristesse," usually made with little or no amplification or meaningful explanation, contributes little if anything to our fuller appreciation of Valery. Also difficult to assess precisely is the alleged Racinian quality which appears in Valery 's poetry from the time of La Jeune Parque . This is seen, for instance, in the classical rigor and control visible in Valery ' s verse and in his very serious attention to form. At the beginning of his analysis of the second fragment, Alain refers to a Racinian trait in Valery 's work. In a comparison which also refers to Hugo's poem, Tristesse d ' Olympio , he observes: Ici, en un bel Episode, 1 ' amour et les amants. C'est le thdme de la Tristesse d' Olympio , mais cela passe de loin tout ce que j ' ai lu, sur 1 ' ivresse et sur le regret. Cette po6sie-ci se „. cache, fidele au mouvement racinien. Vale'ry's interest in Racine, at first very slight and even deprecatory, has by the time of the "Fragments" grown to a very genuine admiration. As MacKay points out in The Universal Self , two different incidents had helped to focus Valery ' s attention on Racine:

PAGE 134

128 The first was a report, in an article by Adolphe Brisson in Le Temps , of a brochure by Prince George of Prussia, which gave a careful analysis of the range and musical effect of the voice of Rachel in the plays of Racine. Here every detail of the great actress's diction was considered, even to the length of pauses, and the rhythm of her breathing. Valt?ry had found this article quite by chance, when, discouraged by the difficulties of his work, he had gone for a walk, and stopping at a cafe* had picked up a copy of Le Temps . . . . This had awakened Vale'ry's interest in the musical qualities of Racine's verse. 65 A second circumstance which introduced Vale"ry to study Racine occurred about the time when Val£ry was writing La Jeune Parque . MacKay notes that Val£ry refers to this particular incident in a letter to Andre Fontainas. A strange thing, the influence of the children's lessons: making them recite the dream of Athalie taught me the most unsuspected thingswhich at once solved all the difficulties to which I was a prey. ° It certainly is not surprising that Vale'ry became seriously interested in classical verse given the attention he paid to all of the technical means and conventions of the art in order to make poetry more poetic. Due to his emphasis on music, rhythm, and the careful placement and interrelation of words, it is perfectly natural that he should admire Racine's great talent. Evelyn Suhami explains it this way:

PAGE 135

129 Le podte est done tr£s sensible a; 1 ' harmonie de la langue : e'est par la musique qu'il accede a" la podsie. Ceci explique 1 ' immense admiration de Val£ry pour Racine, parfait musicien du vers; il demeure ^merveille" devant cette mdlodie subtilement modul^e, et discrdtement pure; il apprend a" 1 ' £couter mieux. . . . " ' Walzer considers that Val<§ry has captured this Racinian music in the second fragment. Ce second "fragment" malgre" ce titre, est un morceau parfaitement construit , magnif iquement achev£, qui fait entendre, dans le ddroulement r£gulier de ses alexandrins a" rime plate... une musique racinienne plus pure que jamais. 68 That Vale'ry was keenly aware of Racine's superior poetic achievement is apparent in the following story: II y a peu d'anne"es, j'ai compost le livret d'une cantate, et 1 ' ai du faire assez vite, en alexandrins. J'ai laisse' ce travail, un jour, pour me rendre H l'Acad£mie, et , la tete encore occupee du mouvement d'une p£riode, me suis trouve 1 distraitement arrets devant une vitrine du quai ou" etait expos£e une belle page de vers, en grand format et beaux caractdres. II se fit alors un singulier ^change entre moi-meme et ce morceau de noble architecture. J'eus 1' impression d'etre encore devant mon £bauche, et je me mis inconsciemment , pendant une longue fraction de minute, £ essayer, sur le texte affich£, des changements de termes... J'£tais comme un sculpteur qui mettrait ses mains sur un marbre , revant qu'il remaniat une terre encore humide et mo lie.

PAGE 136

130 Mais le texte ne se laissait pas ressaisir. Phedre me resistait. Je connus par experience directe et sensation immediate ce que c ' est que la perfection d ' un ouvrage. Ce ne fut pas un bon re\ T eil.69 This incident must have happened when Val6ry was working on the Cantate du Narcisse around 1937-38. Given Valery's strongly held conviction that a poem is never finished, and always open to modification and improvement, Valery is paying Racine the ultimate compliment. In his study of the "Fragments" Jacques DuchesneGuillemin very succinctly outlines Valery's poetic evolution to this point, understanding his aims and capturing the essence of his interest in Racine. Valery n'avait pas seulement reconnu, dans ce mythe, des possibility nouvelles d' expression ; il y a vu une matidre favorable a 1' exercise d' aptitudes po^tiques nouvelles, conformes a une Evolution de son gout vers une puret§ quasi-racinienne. II venait, sur le tard, de d£couvrir Racine, "a" 1 'occasion de quelques minuscules et immenses probldmes de 1 ' art des vers." Et nulle part sans doute il n'a frole de plus pr£s la simplicite de chant qu'il lui enviait : Revez, revez de moi!... Sans vous, belles fontaines, Ma beautd, ma douleur me seraient incertaines, Je chercherais en vain ce que j'ai de plus cher . . . Voici Val§ry parvenu peu & peu, a travers 1 ' apprent issage et 1 ' eblouissement mallarm<§ens , a travers le dur travail de la Jeune Parque a la grande purete' classique . i(J

PAGE 137

131 The frequent allusions to Racine-like qualities in Valery 's work seem to have merit and tend to be more revealing than the very general comparisons which have been made between Valery and the Romantic poets. Priscilla Shaw contends that most critics refer at some time or other to Racine in their discussion of Valery because of the remarkable similarity of tone, vocabulary and metrical phrasing discernible in many lines and pervasive in the Narcissus poems. * What she says is true, but it does not go far enough. The theoretical considerations made by Valery in frequent references to Racine's art are the real key to understanding the Racine/ Valery question. 72 A very specific and detailed analysis of lines of poetry written by Valery which seem to reflect Racinian characteristics studied in close conjunction with what Valery has written about Racine's work would be productive and should be attempted in order to evaluate accurately the scope and depth of Valery' s possible debt to Racine. 3 Attentive to the melodious purity of the second "fragment," Michael Decaudin mentions not only Racine, but also Lucretius: "Ici c'est de la fontaine qu'il apprendra la vanite de 1' amour. Le ton se fait plus apre, a la fois pessimiste et sensuel . Valery s' inspire librement d'un passage celdbre de Lucrece; mais c'est surtout a Racine qu'on pense devant la purete melodieuse

PAGE 138

132 de passage...."'** The name of Lucretius is brought up in connection with the "Fragments" nearly as often as that of Hugo and Racine. It was Alain who first likened Valery to Lucretius. He begins his annotation of "Fragments du Narcisse" as follows: "Paul Valery est notre Lucrece. II voit 75 les choses comme elles sont et ne les veut point autres." Later he adds: "On dit que Lucrece £tait un homme triste. Surement notre Lucrece est un homme triste." 7 " When he comes to the lines: "Moins amers les parfums des supremes fumees/ Qu ' abandonnent au vent les feuilles consumees ! . . . " he again alludes to Lucretius. "Ici encore je sens le parfum de Lucrece; et je desire que Valery traduise 77 Lucrece, en vers, et mot a mot. Lui seul le peut . " Following Alain's lead, others continue to compare Valery to Lucretius. Pierre Michel mentions it in two separate studies dealing with the "Fragments." In one of them, he merely reiterates Alain; 7 in the other, he contends that Valery 's passage on love in the second "fragment," reflects Valery 's own personal philosophy of life and love which he feels is like Lucretius' and Vigny ' s: Dans le second Fragment , Mallarme fait place a Lucrece et a Vigny; les tentations de la mort , les ardeurs et les disillusions de 1' amour inspirent a" Valery des vers apres et denses, dans lesquels son pessimisme et sa sensuality se reVelent sans masque; ce n ' est

PAGE 139

133 plus 1 ' ephebe antique qui parle, mais 1 ' homme moderne decju par la vie, sans ideal religieux, trop lucide pour se laisser abuser par la comedie humaine.'^ Valery no doubt admired Lucretius: the latter 's rejection of romantic love, his scepticism, the vitality of his descriptive powers, the rhythm and grace of his hexameters, his knowledge of and attention to poeticconventions, all of these would certainly appeal to Valery. However, De Rerum Natura is more than just a great literary achievement; it is, without a doubt, the supreme didactic poem of classical antiquity. While appreciating Lucretius' large poetic gifts, Valery, who eschewed systems and dogmatism in life as well as in poetry, would not have condoned the use of poetry as a medium for proselytizing for Epicureanism or any philosophy, for that matter. Consequently, the whole assumption of the Val6ry/Lucretius comparison, as it generally is made, poses a problem. Val6ry would neither acknowledge nor appreciate the title philosopher/poet so readily associated with Lucretius. Certainly such a designation does not fit Valery. As far as he was concerned, the introduction of philosophy into poetry, like the introduction of narration, or even description, caused poetry to be prose-like and, therefore, impure. Valery mentions De Rerum Natura in a discussion in which he warns against looking for the poet's real

PAGE 140

134 philosophy in his poems and suggests that it is impossible to successfully introduce philosophy into poetry: Tout veritable po§te est bien plus capable que 1 ' on ne le sait en g£ne"ral, de raisonnement juste et pense"e abstraite. Mais il ne faut pas chercher sa philosophie re*elle dans ce qu'il dit de plus ou moins philosophique. A mon avis, la plus authentique philosophie n ' est pas dans les objets de notre reflexion, tant que dans l'acte meme de la pens£e et dans sa manoeuvre.... u Recalling that poets have often used poetry to expound a philosophy, he adds: De tr£s grands pontes s'y sont parfois essay6s. Mais, quel que soit le talent qui se d£pense dans ces entreprises trds nobles, il ne peut faire que 1 'attention port£e & suivre les id£es ne soit pas en concurrence avec elle qui suit le chant. Le DE NATVRA RERVM est ici en conflit avec la nature des choses. L'£tat du lecteur de podmes n ' est pas l'6tat du lecteur de pures pensees. L'etat de 1 ' homme qui danse n ' est pas celui de 1 ' homme qui s'avance dans un pays difficile dont il fait le leve" topographique et la prospection g§ologique. 81 Thus Val£ry may find the philosopher/poet combination incongruous, even impossible, but to the extent that he saw Lucretius as a poet of knowledge, he would have appreciated being compared with him. In "Au Sujet d' Eureka," he touches on this idea:

PAGE 141

135 Notre poesie ignore, ou meme redoute, tout l'e"pique et le path£tique de 1' intellect. Que si quelquefois elle s'y est risquee, elle s'est faite morne et assommante. Lucrdce, ni Dante, ne sont Frangais. Nous n ' avons point chez nous de pontes de la connaissance. Peut-etre avons nous un sentiment si marque de la distinction des genres, c ' est-£t-dire de 1 ' independance des divers mouvements de 1' esprit, que nous ne souffrons point les ouvrages qui les combinent . Nous ne savons pas faire chanter ce qui peut se passer de chant [ . . . ] (0, I, 856). He indicated that he felt French poetry was, in fact, capable of such a feat. 82 i n La Jeune Parque and in the Narcissus poems, primarily "Fragments du Narcisse," he succeeds magnificently in putting the theory into practice. For Vale"ry, the life of the intellect constituted an incomparable lyric universe, a complete drama with a full range of human qualities. °^ Finally, the point has been made, understandably, that Valery's and Lucretius' ideas on love were the same, indicating in this way, that Lucretius influenced Valery. Roland Derche notes in passing: "Narcisse rappelle les amours dont la fontaine a ete le temoin; — avec des accents dignes de Lucrece, il montre ' du sombre amour' 'la tourments,' puis il signale 'Quels fruits forment toujours ces moments enchantes : ' mensonges, deceptions, regrets, m£lancolie des souvenirs. ... "° 4 On this subject Walzer makes the most direct comparison

PAGE 142

136 citing specific lines (1105-1111) and the famous "amari aliquid" (1133-34) from Book IV of the De Rerum Natura : Pour la peinture de l'etreinte des corps, peinture dure, directe, precise, debarrassee de toute indication sentimentale ou mythique, un seul poete est comparable a Valery: c'est Lucrece en son quatrieme livre. e Indeed there may be similarities between the two poets (Walzer also underscores "the same bitterness" and "the same scientific eye"). 86 Yet, if Valgry owes a specific debt to anyone on the subject of love, it is more likely Leonardo da Vinci. Valery comments specifically on Leonardo's drawings in "Note et Digression," the preface to "Introduction a la Methode de Leonard de Vinci" 87 and then adds in the "Marginalia:" "Ce regard assez froid sur la m£canique de 1 ' amour est unique, je crois, dans l'histoire intellectuelle. " 88 He adds what might very well be regarded as a commentary on the effect on the reader, as well as on the poet himself, of his approach to love in the second "fragment" (11. 23-82): L' amour analyst f roidement , une foule d'id£es §tranges viennent a 1' esprit. Quels detours, quelle complexity de moyens pour accomplir la fgcondation! Les emotions, les idgaux, la beauts intervenant comme conditions de 1' excitation de certain muscle. L'essentiel de la fonction devenant accessoire; et son accomplissement redouts, 6lud6 . . . Rien ne fait mieux observer a quel point la nature est indirecte . 89

PAGE 143

137 Gerstel makes one of the few references to this possible source: "It is well-known that Valery studied the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci which include graphic studies of the act of love."^ Showing how Valery recorded the external aspects of love making as a pure physiological phenomenon in his Cahiers (t. 7, p. 627 and t. 9, p. 321), Gerstel contends that lines 25-41 of the second "fragment" are a poetic transposition of his prose observations with the lyricism lessening the clinical aspect. 9-*While discussing the "Fragments," other parallels might be considered: Valery and LaFontaine , 92 for instance, or Valery and Rilke. Of course, influence on Valery is not at all in question with respect to Rilke, but comparison as in Shaw's book: Rilke, Valery and Yeats, the Domain of the Self , tends to shed considerable light on 93 Valery 's poetic method. In each case of comparison discussed so far, further study and closer analysis, especially with reference to specific lines, would undoubtedly yield even more helpful details about Valgry's theory of poetry and the role of the "Fragments" in his development. 94 One additional comparison which has been made, between Ronsard and Valery, leads directly into the study of the elements Valery borrowed from the Metamorphoses for use in the "Fragments . "

PAGE 144

138 Ovidian Elements Setting up his comparison of Ronsard's "La mort de Narcisse" and Val£ry's "Fragments," Jean Soulairol asks: "Val£ry a-t-il jamais connu 'La mort de Narcisse,' en forme d 1 616gie , que Ronsard a plac£e aprds son El£gie IX et qu'il a d6di£e a Jean Daurat , son prgcepteur?" 9 ^ 96 He decides that there are "des points de contact certains." While some of his very general observations seem valid enough, it is precisely when Soulairol describes these "points of certain contact" that his case is extremely weak, if not faulty. For example, he draws the following parallel. Quoting Ronsard's lines "Nulle Nymphe voisine ou boeuf ou pastoureau,/ Ny du haut d ' un buisson la chute d'un rameau,/ Ny sanglier embourbe" n'avoyent son eau troubled. . . , " he asks, "comment ne songerions-nous pas a" l'onde val^ryenne: '. . . onde d^serte, et digne./ Sur son lustre, du lisse effacement d'un cygne.../ A cette 97 onde jamais ne burent les troupeaux ! ' " Looking back at Ovid's lines we find: "Quern neque pastores neque pastae mont capellae/ Contigerant aliudve pecus, quern nulla volucris/ Nee fera turbarat nee lapsus ab arbore ramus" (11. 408-410). Obviously Ronsard's lines are closer to Ovid's in vocabulary, in structure, using essentially the same negative development. Valery's economy of expression gives the essence of the idea but his expression of it differs considerably from both Ronsard's

PAGE 145

13! and Ovid's. 98 In Ronsard ' s lines beginning "Quantes-f ois pour-n^ant , de sa l&vre approch^e" to " . . .si tu verses parmi/ L'onde un pleur seuleraent , tu perdras ton ami," Soulairol sees "toute la structure phe"nom£nale du Narcisse de Val£ry." 99 This observation is followed by his next direct comparison which he prefaces as follows: "Mais voici une chose plus precise, qui nous introduit & la deuxiSme partie du poSme vale*ryen: He" vistes-vous jamais, bien que soyez ag£es D'une infinite" d'ans, amours si enrag^es? Vous le s^avez, forests, car mainte et mainte fois Vous avez rec616 les amans sous vos bois."-'-00 With the preceding lines from Ronsard' s poem, he compares Vale"ry's lines beginning "Fontaine, ma fontaine, eau froidement prSsente,/ Douce aux purs animaux, aux humains complaisante, / Onde sur qui les ans passent comme les nues,/ Que de choses pourtant doivent t'etre connues . . . ." Ronsard' s Narcissus has addressed the forest just as Ovid's Narcisse did: "'Etquis, io silvae, crudelius' inquit ' amavit? 1 " (1. 442). Val6ry, on the other hand, has made a significant departure consistent with his own symbolism. In Vale"ry's poem, Narcissus addresses the fountain, as the symbol of memory, an aspect of mind. 0J While Val£ry may have been aware of Ronsard 's poem and undoubtedly knew the details of Ovid's account, he renders ideas common to both Ronsard and Ovid in his own way, transforming them artistically to suit his own aims.

PAGE 146

140 Earlier in relation to "Narcisse parle," Valery : s fundamental lack of debt to Ovid's Metamorphoses was established. While it was possible to see in "Narcisse parle" certain relatively minor elements from Ovid's poem such as similarities in setting and vocabulary and the subtle use by Val6ry of the transformation myth, it was clear that Valery did not borrow extensively or significantly from the Metamorphoses in constructing "Narcisse parle. " The Narcissus of the "Fragments," like the hero of "Narcisse parle," is a lucid, non-Ovidian hero. Ovid's story describes Narcissus all the way from conception and birth to death including references to his funeral and his existence after death. Once again, however, Valery is not interested in the narrative scope of Ovid's tale but prefers instead to focus on a brief, critical moment in Narcissus* life. One important reason for Valery ' s telescoped interpretation of the myth, emphasizing the moment of encounter is that, on one level, Valery is presenting # a complex personal problem, one of intellectual rather than emotional consequence, and transposing it aesthetically by embodying it symbolically in ancient myth. In the "Fragments," Valery figuratively expresses his own personal quest to know the mind absolutely. His main concern in poetry, however, is the means and, consequently, the poem is not primarily, or even essentially, an abstract

PAGE 147

141 meditation on self, but is instead a serious exercise in the art of poetry. His intentions preclude the necessity of telling the whole story of Narcissus. Yet, he does borrow, selectively, some important details from Ovid with interesting consequences for the "Fragments." Curiously enough the first version of the "Fragments" owed even less to Ovid's account than "Narcisse parle" did. There is little to link the earliest version of Valery's poem with the Metamorphoses except for Narcissus himself and one specific line: "A cette onde jamais ne burent les troupeaux!" This line, already referred to in the Ronsard comparison, expresses in compressed fashion an idea developed by Ovid in several lines (11. 407-12). By the time of the final version of the "Fragments," however, the picture has changed considerably. First of all, Vale'ry has reintroduced and amplified the very short sequence on the nymphs found in "Narcisse parle" (11. 3-4): "Et vers vous, Nymphe, Nymphe, 6 Nymphe des fontaines,/ Je viens au pur silence offrir mes larmes vaines." In the "Fragments," the lines are expanded (11. 7-16 and 26-28), beginning "Nymphes! si vous m'aimez, il faut toujours dormir." The references to nymphs bring to mind Narcissus' background as told by Ovid (11. 341-346) who recalls that the nymph Liriope was the mother of Narcissus. More importantly, Valery introduces Echo and, also, substantially increases other allusions taken from Ovid's

PAGE 148

142 poem, some minor, others relatively important, at least poetically. As an epigraph for the poem, Valery uses a line from Ovid. It is not from the Metamorphoses , but is found instead in Ovid's Tristia , Book II. The ironic question posed in the terse phrase "Cur aliquid vidi?" announces the lucid and tragic tone of the poem. It is precisely the right question, fitting for both Valery and Narcissus to ask, given the frustrating impossibility of their reaching their goal. Though the question comes from the Tristia it evokes the Metamosphoses since it is so reminiscent of Tiresias' dire prophecy concerning Narcissus: "si se non noverit . " When Ovid wrote the Tristia , he was in forced exile. Valery, like Narcissus, existed in a kind of willed exile cut off from real life by a specific, all encompassing pursuit: to know the mind. While it is certainly true that Valery participated quite fully in the so-called "real world," 102 on the intellectual level his devotion to his quest was as intense and determined as Narcissus' was. ValSry's situation, too, was lonely and fraught with frustration. No absolute satisfaction was possible as he well knew. Valery 's Cahiers , which he felt were his only real work, written each day when he was alone in the early dawn hours, are a testament to his seriousness and persistence. They demonstrate his

PAGE 149

143 total absorption with looking endlessly into the mirror of the intellectual self to discover everything possible related to the mind, its capacity and the way it functions. Therefore, it is quite easy to relate Val^ry's personal quest to the poem and to conclude that on the symbolic level, the poem, beginning even with the epigraph, suggests that the soul "seeing something" (as Narcissus sees his image reflected in the fountain), and confronted with the choice of profound self-examination or simply living and loving, chooses absolute self-absorption which is life-annulling and fatal. Consequently, Val6ry is able to demonstrate artistically that the search for full consciousness and absolute knowledge was just as impossible to attain as Narcissus' quest to be one with himself was futile. It is important to remember, however, that as far as the poem as poem is concerned, general statements such as the preceding, concerning the symbolic potential of the poem, are of secondary importance to Valery who, working as he believed Racine did, would rather change Narcissus than write a bad line of poetry. While it does not negate the symbolic possibilities discussed above, Valery' s use of certain details from Ovid tends to underscore, once again, the fact that it is the wish to increase the poetic potential and value of the poem which is essential to Valery. After the epigraph, Valery 's next Ovidian allusion,

PAGE 150

144 an indirect one, comes very early in the poem at line two: "Ce soir comme d'un cerf, la fuite vers la source." In Ovid's tale, Narcissus approaches the water's edge after chasing deer in a hunt. ValSry's use of the deer simile is much more purely poetic since, unlike Ovid's reference to the hunt, it does not function as part of the narrative development. It is an example of Val6ry's expanded use of figurative language. Paradoxically, it has the added effect of evoking that part of Ovid's story which describes what caused Narcissus to approach the fountain in the first place. As Ovid relates it, Narcissus, thirsty from the chase, is attracted to the water. While he seeks to slake his thirst, another thirst springs up, and he becomes smitten with the image in the water (11. 413-417). Valery takes up the thirst motif, but his Narcissus, ever-lucid, knows immediately that his thirst is not a physical one to be appeased by a mere drink of water: "Ma soif me vient abattre au bord meme des eaux./ Mais pour desalt6rer cette amour curieuse,/ Je ne troublerai pas l'onde mystgrieuse" (11. 4-6). In a sense, for this first part of the poem, Valery follows Ovid closely, but he does not copy; he transforms the material to suit his own concept of a Narcissus totally aware of his condition. Perhaps Valery 's most important concession to Ovid's account is the introduction of Echo. Valery' s

PAGE 151

145 wish to increase the musical effects of the poem may wellhave determined his introduction of the Echo motif with its inherent ability to evoke the idea of reflection in auditory form. Evelyne Suhami, discussing Valery's attempts to introduce musical effects into poetry, mentions what she terms his discrete use of "transpositions architecturomusicales" which she sees in his use of capitalization and italics in La Jeune Parque . 103 Concerning the "Fragments" she adds: Valery combinera cette technique avec un effet d'echo dans les "Fragments du Narcisse:" la nymphe railleuse repond a 1 ' eph£be attentif qui gcoute sa voix de repercuter, de plus en plus 'piano.'" 104 Quoting Valery's line: PIRE Pire? Quelqu'un redit pire.. o moqueur ! she comments: "Le vers est construit comme une phrase musicale: theme fort et accentue, reexposg interrogativement avec une alteration, repris une fois encore etoff^ de quelques notes, jusqu'a la legere resolution finale." 105 Valery reworked the disposition of this line several times. 106 Hytier's edition of the OEuvres lists a number of variants. All three times the word "Pire" is in italics in the 1922 edition of Charmes . In the February 1926, edition of Charmes and in Vers et Prose

PAGE 152

146 of January 1926, only the first "Pire" is in italics. Concerning Narcisse (ed. Stols, Anvers, avril 1926), Hytier states: "V. 93: Pire , au debut du vers, est en minuscules. Les trois Pire de ce vers et celui du d£but du vers 9 sont imprimis en rouge (mais non celui de Pire destin)." 107 In the December 1926 edition of Charmes , the first "Pire" is once again in italics. In the definitive version, the line appears as follows : PIRE. Pire?. . . Quelqu'un redit Pire . . . moqueur ! Rhyming with "expire..." from the preceding line, this line, in its final form, tends to extend visually the echo motif. At line ninety-eight, the word "pire" is echoed again. Pire?. . . Pire destin!... Vous le dites, roseaux, But the reverberation image, almost exaggerated, finds it most perfect representation in the highly alliterative combination of murmuring echoes of line 102, a calculated alliance of sound and sense, typical of Valery: Vous me le murmurez, ramures!... rumeur The Echo section begins with the first "Pire" line at ninety-three. Echo is specifically alluded to in line ninety-four: "Echo lointaine est prompte a rendre son oracle." Valery continues to develop the Echo sequence by such lines as "De son rire enchante, le roc

PAGE 153

147 brise mon coeur," (1. 95) and the alliterative "le roc rit" of line 107. Valery's use of pathetic fallacy here, no doubt intentional, subtly introduces a transformation myth used by Ovid, the metamorphosis of Echo into stone. Ovid describes the spurned Echo (11. 392-402) as living alone in caves. 0S Her cares waste away her wretched form. She becomes gaunt and as the moisture fades from her form into the air, only her voice and her bones remain. Finally, only her voice is perceptible for her bones have turned to stone: "Vox manet ; ossa ferunt lapidis traxisse figuram" (1. 399). Echo is a feminine figure in Ovid's myth. The word echo in French, however, is masculine. Valery makes it feminine (see line 94), desiring perhaps a feminized form of reflection. This usage tends to bring to mind the androgynous references in the early versions of "Narcisse parle." Including the transformation myth, whereby Echo is turned to stone, may also be a subtle allusion to the tombstone of Nar109 cissa, the site of Valery's first Narcissus poem. Probably little else in the "Fragments" can be specifically related to Ovid's Metamorphoses . There is, of course, the farewell scene of the third "fragment" found also in "Narcisse parle." Other than the general similarity of tender, anguished "Adieux," nothing of consequence in terms of detail is borrowed from Ovid. The second fragment is noteworthy in that it uses the Narcissus theme to make a commentary on love, as many poets

PAGE 154

148 did in the Middle Ages. Although Valery's lines on love carry an implicit warning since they are so realistic and without illusion; nevertheless, they are unlike the use of the theme in the Middle Ages because Valery's approach is so completely undidactic . 10 Valery's use of Ovid is calculated in that the elements he borrows are for him a means towards pre-determined poetic effects. Valery's approach de-emphasizes as much as possible Ovid's narrative, epic qualities. Val6ry speaking of Adonis, in particular, and of figures from legend, in general, might well have had his own Narcissus in mind when he wrote: II ne faut pas s 1 emerveiller de la grande simplicity de ces heros: les principaux personnages d'un poeme, ce sont toujours la douceur et la vigueur des vers (0, I, 485). Up to this point a number of major points concerning Valery's theory of poetry, as reflected in the "Fragments," have been revealed by means of careful attention to background details; by specific comparison with "Narcisse parle;" in the analysis of similarities and differences shared by Val§ry with other poets; and by discussion of the Ovidian elements found within the poem. One major conclusion which may be drawn about Valery's poetics at this point, is a definite movement away from external, easily observable Symbolist traits and movement towards a readily discernible classical purity and rigor.

PAGE 155

149 Further Poetic Considerations Before summarizing the other conclusions arrived at in the course of the chapter, it is necessary to take a final look at the "Fragments" in order to underline some additional features of Valery's theory which have not yet been sufficiently amplified. Since the emphasis will continue to be on theoretical considerations, particularly technical ones, this phase will use representative examples from the poem (in particular, sixteen lines from the first fragment), and will not involve a line by line study of the whole poem. Two aspects of the poem need to be mentioned briefly first: 1) the first line of the poem, and 2) the question of pure poetry. Since the first line of the "fragments" has generated so much comment, it is difficult to conclude any study of the poem without taking it into account. Probably more has been written about it than about any other single line of the poem. Its ambiguity and its double significance have been noted. "Que tu brilles enfin, terme pur de ma course!" is set off from the rest of the poem. The water, the "terme pur" is Narcissus' goal, both immediate and final. "Pur," meaning absolute in Valery's lexicon, intimates the fatal outcome. "Brilles," too, is a key word. It introduces the light which is essential to Narcissus' reflection . *-*-* j^ i s his thirst which brings Narcissus to the edge of the

PAGE 156

150 water. He wishes to quench his "amour curieuse" (1. 5). The first syllable of "curieuse" rhymes with "pur" linking the two lines. "Curieuse" implies a desire to know and hints that this desire is unusual, foreshadowing Narcissus' awareness of his uniqueness emphasized later by : "A cette onde jamais ne burent les troupeaux!" (1. 60). To Fowlie the first line "suspended and separated from the rest of the poem . . . announces both a violent action: 'ma course,' and a perfected or absolute ending ('terme pur') of the action . "H 3 The eight lines of poetry which Valery considered to be his most perfect are a part of the "Fragments." This is another indication of how naturally discussion of all aspects of Valery 's poetic theory follows from examination of the Narcissus poems. I have already mentioned these famous lines which begin "0 douceur de survivre a la force du jour," but must add a brief note here because of the importance of the concept of pure poetry to Valery 's poetic theory. By the term pure poetry (which, in a very simplistic way, could be termed that poetry which is devoid of a prose meaning), Valery explained that he meant absolute poetry, an unattainable ideal to which, nevertheless, the true poet constantly aspires. He discussed the concept throughout his work but mainly in "Calepin d ' un poete" (0, I, 1447-56), and in "Poesie pure" (0, I, 1456-64). Hytier, who feels that the notion is quite clear and simple in Valery 's work but obscured by

PAGE 157

151 others, explains the term in La Politique de Paul Valgry (see especially pages 112-123). He recognizes that the greatest difficulty in poetry is, precisely, to construct a whole work with nothing but poetic elements and that "po^sie pure" is exactly that and nothing else. He traces Valery's use of the expression and amplifies how Valery tried to approach his ideal through a system of rejections of narrative, description, and historical evocations. Pure poetry was, for Val6ry, an attempt to purge poetry of foreign elements, prose elements. While the concept of pure poetry is important to Valery's theory of poetry, as Daniel Hughes points out in Coleridge and Valery: An Essay in Modern Poetics , it is not to be taken as a formula which describes the whole significance and shape of Valery's poetics.-'--'-' 1 * That the term is associated with his name is primarily the result of historical accident and Abbe Bremond ' s misinterpretation of what Valery meant. Abb6 Bremond 's pronouncements on the subject confused what was already a complex notion found in Poe , Baudelaire and Mallarme as well as in Valery's work. A detailed account of the history of pure poetry, including an informative chapter on Valery, is found in Pure Poetry, Studies in French Poetic Theory and Practice , 1746 to 1945 by D.J. Mossop .-^Mossop also discusses Mallarme ! s ideas on the subject. Valery's theory reflects in part, the influence of Mallarme. Comprehensive

PAGE 158

152 discussion is not necessary or pertinent here, but Mossop's distinction of pure poetry in Mallarme as metaphysical purity and in Valery as technical purity is a helpful one. Mossop believes that the "Fragments" is very close to pure poetry since it conveys a serenely intense emotion with the help of the barest minimum of content (a fancied avowal of love to one's image reflected in a pool!), and through the agency of words which retain the initiative throughout . H6 Although Valery tended to exclude even description, Mossop, taking him at his word, analyzes the eight lines which Valery specifically designated as his most pure, and makes a fairly strong case for their purity. He notes that in describing these lines as "vide d'idees," Valery has given a somewhat rough and ready definition of his theory of pure poetry. The lines lack facts clearly related to the experience of life, facts which could explain for the reader an emotion communicated mysteriously and as if by virtue of words which have the opacity or emptiness of the sounds of music itself. Their lack of ready sense gives them something of the quality of musical sounds. He recognizes that the occasion of the emotion is Narcissus attempted communion with his image in the pool, but that all reference to this desired union has been banished from the lines. The source of the emotion has been shifted to the decor, in this case the sunset. Consequently, he feels that the emotion has been purified by being

PAGE 159

153 generalized, detached from the particular situation of a particular character. However, he realizes that raptures about a sunset carry their own danger, that of evoking emotion of a conventional, sentimental kind. Yet he contends that Val^ry avoids the danger by increasing still further the indirectness of his treatment of the theme and the consequent degree of obscurity surrounding it . Val£ry brings in another level of meaning, and this is the association of the sunset with a woman gradually losing the high coloration resulting from the act of love and falling asleep. According to Mo s sop, purity is achieved by the ambiguity and richness of meaning applied to the epithets, "brulante," "lasse," "combine" and "accabl^e" resulting from the combination of the three levels of 117 meaning to which they simultaneously apply. The lines are pure in that they avoid any narrative movement. In fact, the beauty of the description, so lovingly rendered, is ironic. Narcissus does not welcome the sunset. The sunset heralds the approaching night, inimical to him. The lines, since they lack discursive quality, may be said to be empty of ideas not only because they never specifically mention the sunset, but also because they do not directly refer to the woman. They may have had their origin in Val§ry's aphorism: "La fin du jour est femme" (0, I, 303). Pure poetry is the lofty criterion by which Val§ry judges the success of his own poetry. Only with

PAGE 160

154 respect to the "Fragments" does he consider that he has come close to his ideal: Les huit vers que vous citez la... sont tres precisement ceux qui m'ont coute le plus de travail et que je considere come les plus parfaits de tous ceux que j'ai ecrits, je veux dire les plus conformes a ce que j' avals voulu qu ' ils f ussent , assouplis a toutes les contraintes que je leur avais assignees. Notez qu'ils sont, par ailleurs, absolument vides d'idees et atteignent ainsi a ce degr§ de purete qui constitue justment ce que je nomme poesie pure.HS The sixteen lines immediately following the "0 douceur..." sequence have been chosen for more detailed analysis since they have received little consideration so far. These lines further document the technical virtuosity evidenced by Valery throughout the poem. The density of sound patterns, the attention to poetic conventions, and the calculated links to other parts of the poem should give some insight into the dimensions of the great poetic resources which Valery brought to bear on this poem which is one of his most vital poetic "exercises. " To facilitate further discussion, I cite the lines in question. Quelle perte en soi-meme offre un si calme lieu! 59 L'ame, jusqu'g. p6rir, s'y penche pour un Dieu Qu'elle demande & l'onde, onde d£serte, et digne Sur son lustre, du lisse effacemnt d ' un cygne... A cette onde jamais ne burent les troupeaux D'autres, ici perdus , trouveraient le repos , Et dans la sombre terre, un clair tombeau qui s 'ouvre. . . 65

PAGE 161

155 Mais ce n'est pas le calme, helas! que j ' y decouvre! Quand 1 'opaque delice ou dort cette clarte Cede a mon corps l'horreur du feuillage ecarte, Alors, vainqueur de 1' ombre, 6 mon corps tyrannique, Repoussant aux forets leur dpaisseur panique, 70 Tu regrettes bientot leur eternelle nuit ! Pour 1 ' inquiet Narcisse, il n'est ici qu ' ennui! Tout m'appelle et m'enchaine a la chair lumineuse Que m'oppose des eaux la paix vertigineuse ! (0, I, 123-24). Among the traditional rhetorical devices utilized by Val§ry in this section are alliteration, oxymoron, epithets, antithesis, and pathetic fallacy. In addition, Val£ry works through a complicated pattern of harmonic resonances. These echo patterns serve as important links in this section but are also part of an overall "echainement" bringing unity to the first "fragment" and, in many ways, tying it to the other two fragments as well. The first word "Quelle" (1. 59) is echoed visually as well as aurally in qu'elle (1. 61) and reechoed in terms of end sound in "eternelle" (1. 71) and "m'appelle" (1. 73). "Perte," the second word rhymes with "dgserte" in line sixty-one. This type of internal rhyme goes on and on, word after word, almost interminably. One of the loveliest examples comes at exactly the same syllable (the sixth) in three separate lines (11. 62, 67, and 71) "lisse," "delice" and "Narcisse." "Perte" not only rhymes with "deserte," it must be associated with "perdus" (1. 64) which in turn is linked by contrast to the word immediately adjacent to it "trouveraient" (1. 64). 119 Many of the antitheses

PAGE 162

156 set up in this section are also found in other sections of the poem and are a part of the ever-present dichotomy of body and soul. This division is intensified and made more poignant by the repeated mention of numerous other opposites such as day and night, sound and silence, light and dark, etc. Effects similar to the clair/obscur development noted earlier in reference to "Narcisse parle" are found here in the "sombre/clair and "opaque"/"clart6" of lines like "Et dans la sombre terre, un clair tombeau qui s'ouvre..." and "Quand l'opaque d^lice oil dort^^O ce tte clarte\" The harmony is further enhanced by the sound repetition in "sombre" and "tombeau." "Sombre" is also reechoed several lines later in the "ombre" of line sixtynine. Another dramatic antithesis informs this whole section. The first line speaks of "un si calme lieu." Although the word "calme" is repeated (1. 66), the mood is anything but calm for the "inquiet Narcisse" (1. 71) who says: "Mais ce n ' est pas le calme, h6las! que j'y d£couvre ! " and this mood is reinforced by "horreur" "panique" (1. 70) 121 and "gternelle nuit" (1. 71). The word "calme" is repeated a number of times in the poem so 1 9"? that it becomes almost ironic, but perhaps no word is repeated more frequently than "onde," three times in 123 this section, ten times in all. In this section "onde" is described in the epithet "onde dSserte, et digne." "Digne" has an extended reference for in addition to

PAGE 163

157 describing "onde," it also leads directly into the next line "digne . . . du lisse effacement d'un cygne." The latter phrase has its own interesting history. It is another example of Valery's penchant for changing an expression to mean just the opposite, providing two possible solutions for a poetic development. At one point the line read: "du lisse avdnement d'un cygne." 124 "Effacement" is more fitting since it reinforces "p£rir" (1. 125 60) and foreshadows the ultimate disappearance of Narcissus' image. The stress on antithesis also marks the end of this sequence in Valery's use of the oxymoron, "paix vertigineuse, " admirably suited to the troubled tone projected by Narcissus which contrasts with his calm surroundings and evokes, too, what is to be found in the wavering, watery reflection the peace of death. Finally, I would like to mention one further conventional poetic device which Val6ry uses to bring additional unity to the first "fragment." A network of interwoven metaphors and images serves to make the poem more poetic, while, at the same time, stressing the seriousness of Narcissus' dilemma. "Enchaine" in the line "Tout m'appelle et m' enchaine a la chair lumineuse" is part of this carefully woven tissue of images which might be called a slave/master metaphor which is directly related to the body and soul opposition, for the beauty of the body holds tyranny over the soul. The union of

PAGE 164

158 the two is death, but the soul is irresistibly drawn, as though chained, to the "Dieu/ Qu'elle demande a l'onde..." Words like "vainqueur" and "tyrannique" (1. 69) are a part of this interrelated imagery which is most perfectly expressed in the metaphor: "Ma soif est un esclave nu" (1. 135), 126 but also projected by words like "proie" (1. 85), "captif" (11. 86 and 119), and "ob£issante" (1. 116). The motif may also be seen in a minor key in the use of many words related to escape and the impossibility of escape such as "enlacent," "extraire," "echappe6," "f uite , " etc . Similar studies of virtually any line sequence in the second or third fragment would yield corresponding results: the same attention to harmony, networks of intricate and effective imagery, thoughtful use of conventional poetic devices, etc. A different type of technical analysis is also revealing. Eva Gerstel examines the creative process in two early manuscripts of the 127 "Fragments." Consequently, her work is pertinent to this study. She correctly sees Valery's manuscripts as a mirror of the poet's mind. She examines two early unpublished versions of the second "fragment," which are found in Harvard's Houghton Library. These manuscripts, undated, comprise lines twenty-five to eighty-two. Both of them present the episode of the vanity of human love already discussed earlier in this chapter. Placing the

PAGE 165

159 lines side by side with the definitive version, she carefully follows the changes Valery made. Her conclusions, though oversimplified as she admits, nevertheless, do shed light on Valery 's method and theory and reinforce a number of statements already made earlier in this study in connection with other parts of the poem. She contends that there are two large categories of changes: syntactical and sound patterns. Pertaining to syntax, two points in particular are relevant. She notes that the word order is modified to increase clarity and con100 crete language is substituted for abstract language. £, ° As far as sound patterns are concerned, she notices an increase in alliteration, particularly the consonants: m, f, 1, p, d, t, k, s. Overall, she concludes that Valery's method in the composition of the "Fragments" consisted of: 1. Striving for harmonic structure through alliteration, variation of vowel timbres, and linking of groups of lines; 2. Choosing visual rather than intellectual images; and 3. Working from the rhyme inward, leaving the rhyme to set the tone and to give meaning to the lines. 129 Jean Chaillet, in his article: "Paul Valery: Le Finale de Narcisse," provides still another type of technical study of the "Fragments." 130 In an analysis of grammar and style concentrating on lines twenty-nine to fifty of the third fragment, Chaillet examines, first, five specific words or expressions: "separes," "baiser,"

PAGE 166

160 "ce peu que," "elle se fait immense," and "va . . . joindre . " The two most interesting from the poetic standpoint are "separes" and "baiser." Chaillet tries to explain grammatically the final "s" on "separes" found in the line: "0 mon corps, mon cher corps, temple qui me separes." After reviewing some of the possible grammatical reasons which ordinarily would explain such an "s," he incorrectly concludes that "temple" is not in the second person. He goes on to suggest: II faut pour expliquer le 's,' ou bien supposer un besoin de regularity tres classique avec la rime pr6c6dente ("...l&vres avares"), ou bien y d^celer une intention d ' irrSgularite pour accentuer l'appel lancS par le premier vers du deVeloppement . L'une et 1' autre explication est possible chez Val£ry.l31 Given Val£ry's insistence on putting the demands of poetry first, the explanation having to do with the requirements of rhyme is probably the most logical. The next word which Chaillet explains is "baiser" from the line: "Votre bouche... Et bientot, je briserais, baiser." His explanation of the word is somewhat circuitous and not totally satisfactory. He begins: Le mot, poetiquement , est place ici entre virgules; c'est comme "temple," une apposition. La phrase normale correspondante demanderait bien plutot un complement de circonstance , a mi-chemin entre le lieu et la maniere : "je briserais dans un baiser . "132

PAGE 167

161 This would be an ellipsis common to the poetry of both Mallarme and Valery. If Valery is being elliptical, perhaps he merely meant "je briserais [pour] baiser," announcing, in effect, the ending where he exhorts himself to bend and kiss the image: "Penche-toi . . . Baise-toi . Tremble de tout ton etre!"/ L' insaisissable amour que tu me vins promettre/ Passe, et dans un frisson, brise Naricsse, et fuit...." Chaillet is, of course, correct in noting that "baiser," set off as it is, is strongly accented. Concerning "baiser," he concludes: Paul Valery use de la langue en poete, il dgpasse les frontieres de la syntaxe: son apposition fait image et , toute "placee a cote" qu'elle soit , elle prend une charge significante plus grande que les elements attendus obligatoirement, pour constituer une unite de pens£e: parenthdse sans doute, mais parenthese essentielle. The next two sections of Chaillet' s article, which discuss the verb tenses and the qualifiers used by Valery, add little that is relevant to the present study, but part four entitled "La ponctuation et sa valeur d' expression" is important. Valery is seldom arbitrary about punctuation. He often changes the punctuation, but usually does so purposely. Chaillet is especially interested in Valery 's use of suspension points. La vingtaine de lignes sur lesquelles se d^veloppe ce finale de Narcisse se signale d'abord par la presence de S series de points de suspensions. Ces points ne sont jamais vides de signification.

PAGE 168

162 Parfois, ils montrent 1 ' hesitation, 1' arret d'un elan qui apparait dangereusement sacrilege: c'est le cas du vers [Votre bouche ... Et bientot, je briserais, baiser,] et du vers [Entre moi-meme et l'onde, et raon ame , et les dieux! ...] semble-t-il; ils renforcent d'abord le rejet de "votre bouche" qui marque deja une reticence. Ils amplifient ensuite la resonance de la fin du vers. x ^4 In the final section in which he discusses rhythm, Chaillet reminds us of the significance of Valery's choice of alexandrines for this poem. "Paul Valery est un classique. II s'est voulu et s'est proclame classique. Le vers qu'il utilise, 1 ' alexandrin , majestueux et noble, convient a la tragique aventure du heros mythologique Narcisse.... Sans jamais enfreindre les regies anciennes, Paul Valery lui fait rendre les effets qui conviennent a sa pensee." 135 In fact, one of Chaillet 's main contentions is that Valery's classicism is nowhere more apparent than in the "Fragments." Before leaving the third fragment, I would like to stress, once again, that although it is the most fragmentary in appearance, it is, nevertheless, given its limited size, as rich in concentrated poetic imagery and as accomplished in technical virtuosity as the rest of the poem. If one were to isolate any group of lines from this section, this would be easily demonstrated. Even a brief glance is rewarding. There is a similar richness of figurative language in lines like: "L'arbre

PAGE 169

163 aveugle vers l'arbre 6tend ses membres sombres" which relates back to "l'arbre pleure" of the first fragment. There is the same regard for alliteration: "Pure, et toute pareille au plus pur de 1 'esprit" and "Votre bouche ... Et bientot , je briserais, baiser" to give just two examples from many. The play of opposites, so evident in the other fragments, continues here, and there is the same stress on internal rhyme and repetition of words, even similar phrases or groups of words are found like "L'ame, 1 ' ame aux yeux noirs touche aux tenebres memes" (1. 42) which is reminiscent of the line in the first fragment: "Les yeux memes et noirs de leur ame £tonn6e!" (1. 75). 136 The preceding discussion may be viewed as an introduction to Valery's theory of "enchainement , " an important aspect of his theory of poetry. Valery's predilection for links is discussed by Hytier in La Poetique de Valgry (Chapter 6: "La Composition"). These links are in terms of words with words, metaphor with metaphor, line with line, movement with rhythm. It is their complexity which gives continuity and form to the poem. Summary Detailed analysis of the "Fragments du Narcisse" has led to discussion of Valery's theory of pure poetry, his theory of "enchainement" (which he also referred to as "la loi de liaison"), his evolution away from the

PAGE 170

164 Symbolism of the 1890' s, his classicism, and his enthusiastic and serious utilization of the rules of the game of poetry. Each of the five subdivisions in this chapter has at least one point in common, they all contain examples of Valery's determination to use to the fullest the poetic tools of his trade in order to arrive at a purer poetic product. While the introduction and study of background showed that the "Fragments" was a complex poem taken seriously by most readers, it also introduced the idea that for Valery, poetry was a challenging, never finished, exercise to be played by established rules and conventions for maximum results. Comparison with "Narcisse parle" revealed Valery's method of revision, retention, and regrouping. The revisions demonstrate the increased attention to refining the epithets and the alliteration and to adding numerous other devices like anaphora, oxymoron, simile, and antithesis. While it helped to clarify Valery's overall lack of direct, traceable debt to other writers with the possible exception of Racine, the section on comparison and contrast with other poets also emphasized once again the fact that it is not the subject of the poem which is important to Valery, but the poetic treatment which counts most. Also with respect to the question of influence it should

PAGE 171

165 be noted that the theories of Poe have lost ground. In particular, Poe's short poem theory has been abandoned. Two out of three of the "Fragments" are over one hundred lines. Valery's use of Ovid was selective and creative so that despite the increased use of some of the traditional aspects of Ovid's tale, Valery's poem remains strikingly original. Although he does not create a new myth, he revitalizes the old one through the beauty of his verse and the originality of his approach, which rejects the usual narrative and didactic uses of the myth and concentrates on the production of what is poetic for its own sake. "Fragments du Narcisse" is a much more serious poem than "Narcisse parle." It depicts a complex internal drama. The aim is not merely beauty as with "Narcisse parle" but truth, the truth about the self and its potential to reach the absolute of total consciousness. As far as Val£ry is concerned, however, this level of the poem is of secondary importance. The true import of the "Fragments du Narcisse" is in its poetry. Always determined to participate as consciously as possible in any act undertaken, Valery is a dedicated spectator at the drama of the way poetry unfolds. Always intrigued before the mirror of the mind, Valery is equally fascinated by reflection on artistic creation. Utilizing to the fullest the conventions and constraints of poetry, the poem is

PAGE 172

166 developed as a conscious, calculated intellectual exercise, a means of engaging as much of the mind's power as possible Just as "Narcisse parle" was closest to the ideal of his youthful poetry, the "Fragments du Narcisse" with its eight lines of pure poetry is seen by Val£ry as closest to the ideal of his mature period. The Cantate du Narcisse , which will be analyzed next, presents a very different aspect of Valgry's poetic career. While it has received neither the acclaim nor the attention accorded the other two poems, it is, nonetheless, a revealing work, typical of the final period in Valery's poetic history which seeks to combine drama, music, and poetry.

PAGE 173

NOTES "-All three parts of the poem in its final form appear in 0, I, 122-130. 2 Albert Thibaudet , Paul V al gry (Paris: Grasset , 1923), pp. 127-28. 3 Thibaudet, p. 96. Additional, somewhat earlier, information about Val6ry*s interest in the subject of rhetorical devices for poetry is afforded by Jean Hytier in La Ppgtique de Valgry . p. 10 "Une lettre a" Pierre Louys, peu apr£s La Jeune Parque , qui abonde pourtant en tropes, montre ValSry encore fort peu au fait des definitions des figures et demandant 'le livre 8. consulter sur l'ancienne th£orie de la rh^torique . ' " ^In the 1922 edition of Charmes , "Fragment du Narcisse" appeared as twelfth out of twenty-two poems preceding "Ode secrSte" and following "L ' Intgrieur . " 6 Revue Universelle , tome V. , no. 3, (1921), 27779 contains a fragment entitled Narcisse ( Fragments ) , consisting of line 1 to 28, 40 to 63, 69 to 71 and 76 to 84 with few variants, see 0, I, 1665-66. La Nouvelle Revue Franqaise , 93 (1921), 760-762, contains essentially the same version. 7 La Plgiade (1921), 226-29, in many ways similar to the version published in the Re vue de Paris . For additional details see 0, I, 1666." 8 See Le Divan , 79 (1922), 199 for first sixteen lines. In NRF, 117 (1923), 853-56 under the title Etudes pour Narcisse , except for a few punctuation variants, this version is definitive consisting of 116 lines. Lines 22 to 48 were published separately in L'Anthologie des poetes du Divan in 1923, p. 135 and all 116 lines appeared under the title Etudes pour Narcisse in l' Anthologie de la Nouvelle Po£sie franqaise (Editions du Sagittaire: Simon Kra, 1924). Further publication details and variants in 0, I, 1668-1670. 9 In NRF 104 (1922), 513-15 under the title Fragments du Narcisse . For variants, which are only minor, see 0, I, 1671. 167

PAGE 174

16; L0 The Stols edition was a limited edition printed at Maestricht by A. A.M. Stols in April 1926. ^An incidental but interesting part of the publication history of the "Fragments du Narcisse" is that a Japanese translation was published as early as 1924 in Recueil de poemes francais modernes , choix et traduction en japonais par Shintaro Suzuki (Tokio: Shunyod, 1924), pp. 323-36. 12 See La Pogsie de Valgry , especially pp. 271-273. 13 Also appears in Paul Valery vivant , p. 290. 14 Wallace Fowlie, "Valery ' s Dream of Narcissus" in Climate of Violence, The French Literary Tradition from Baudelaire to the Present (New York: Macmillan Co . , 1967) 71-J 15 Fowlie, p. 77 16 Mentioned also as early as 1912 in a letter to Albert Thibaudet, " Par consequence , j'ai cesse de faire des vers. Cet art devenu impossible a moi de 1892, je le tenais deja pour un exercise , ou application de recherches plus importantes. Pourquoi ne pas developper en soi , cela seul qui dans la gendse du poeme m' interesse?" from Lettres a quelques-uns , p. 97. (Second emphasis mine.) 17"p r0 p 0S me concernant , " p. 49. 18 Val6ry's report of a conversation he had with the German poet, Rainer-Maria Rilke published in the Suisse conternporaine in September 1945 and also quoted in part in Vues (Paris: La Table Ronde, 1948), p. 196. Related to the concept of the process of poetic creation as an exercise is Valery 's use of the familiar love theme in the second fragment. As Fowlie points out, Valery was keenly aware of how banal and overworked the theme had been, especially in Romantic poetry, but he looked upon it as an exercise and a challenge. 19 0, I, 1485, from "Fragments des memoirs d'un podme" first published in the Revue de Paris , December 15, 1937. 20 Fowlie, p. 73. 21 From "Calepin d'un poete" first published in Poesie. Essai sur la Pogtique et la Po§te , Collection Bertrand Gue'gan, in August 1928.

PAGE 175

169 22 Valery himself comments on the relative unimportance of subject when he says: "Pour qui s'interesse de tres pres au travail meme du vers, il importe peut-etre assez peu de varier les sujets. Je concevrais fort bien qu'un poete amoureux de son art se contentat de refaire, sa vie durant , tou jours le meme po£me, en dormant tous les trois, quatre ou cinq ans, une variation nouvelle d'un thdme une fois choisi." Frederic Lefevre, Entretiens avec Paul Valgry (Paris: Le Livre, 1926), p. 68. Obviously Val6ry's use and reuse of the Narcissus myth in one form or another is the theory put into practice. 23 Fowlie, p. 74. 24yalery felt that the poem, the poet, and the poet's life were three separate and unrelated entities. Once the poem was "finished" it was the reader's property. The workings of the artist's mind might be reflected in his poem, but his personal life had no place there. 25 26 Fowlie, p. 73. Fowlie, p. 74. 27 Fowlie, p. 78. 28 Fowlie, p. 76-77. 29 This is another part of Val^ry's report of his conversation with Rilke already referred to in note 18. 30 James R. Lawler, Lecture de Valgry, Une Etude de Charmes (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1963). ^^Lawler, p. 95. 32t 33 'Lawler, p. 108-09. Lawler' s analysis was published first 34 Lawler, p. 114. 35 Fowlie, p. 85-86. 3 ^For example, Cahiers 8, p. 449, "Narcisse comme un fou courait a sa fontaine/ Au risque de perir tant il pensait S. soi," and p. 450, "Narcisse. Chez lui 1 'esprit, le coeur , la chair sont lies plus que chez tout autre. Et ceci se voit par les expressions qu'il emploie, qu'il invente, qu'il combine." See Lawler, p. 96-98.

PAGE 176

170 37 Lawler, p. 97. Quote of Val£ry from Lettres a Andre" Fontainas, Reponses (1928), p. 16. II. 547 38 Lawler, pp. 97-98. Quoted from Tel Quel , 0, 39 Lawler, p. 101 40 Lawler, p. 101-02, from "Rencontres avec Paul Val§ry," Le Figaro Littgraire , 19 juillet 1952. 41 Lawler, p. 102. 42 Lawler, p. 102. 43 Lawler, p. 102. 44 Lawler, p. 102. 45 Gerstel's study appears in Symposium , 23 (1969), 16-37. Less detailed but still useful are: Jean Chaillet, "Paul Val<§ry: Le finale de Narcisse" in Etudes de grammaire et de style , v. 2 (Paris: Bordas, 1969), pp. 288-301; and Roland Derche, Quatre Mythes pogtiques ( QEdipe-Narcisse-Psychg-Lorelei ) , (Paris: Societe d'Edition d'Enseignement Sup£rieur, 1961), pp. 98-106. 46 Walzer, p. 282. 47 Walzer, p. 283. 48 Walzer recording the line sequence errs here (p. 271). It should read 66-67 and 109-114 not 66-68 and 110-114. 49 Walzer, p. 271. 50 Walzer, p. 275. 51 For these minor variants see 0, I, 1664-65. 52 Valery felt that the true poet always put form above content. "S'il est un vrai podte, il sacrifiera presque toujours a la forme (qui, aprds tout, est la fin et l'acte meme, avec ses necessites organiques) cette pens§e qui ne peut se fondre en poeme si elle exige pour s'exprimer qu'on use de mots ou de tours Strangers au ton poetique" (0, I, p. 455). More specifically of himself, ". . .je subordonne (d'autant plus que je suis plus proche de mon meilleur etat ) le contenu a la forme toujours dispose a sacrifier cela a ceci" in"Propos me concernant ," p. 20. An on rhyme in particular: "il y a

PAGE 177

171 bien plus de chances pourqu'une rime procure une'idee' (litt£raire) que pour trouver la rime & partir de 1 ' ideV (0, II, 582). 53 For this same line in the final version, Valery, properly it seems to me, reverts to the earlier form, and the line now reads as it did in "Narcisse parle." Thereby, Valgry makes the following important corrections. "La" and "nu" are both placed in accented positions. "La," d'un reste du jour se forme un fiance,/ Nu sur la place pale oil m'attire l'eau triste" and, consequently, more appropriately strengthen and enhance the necessary concentration on "fiance" as they should rather than ambiguously and less felicitously modifying "lueur" as they did in early versions of the "Fragments." "La\ nue entre les bras qui naissent des forets,/ Une tendre lueur . . . ." 54 Walzer, p. 273. 55 "Fig. Partie dissimulee, secrdte." Dictionnaire alphabetique & analogique de la langue fraqaise , Paul Robert (Paris: Soci6te du nouveau Littrg, 1967), p. 1523. 56 For example, lines 72 and 88. "Que je deplore ton 6clat fatal et pur" and "Son gracieux eclat vous retienne pensif." 57 Lawler, p. 109. 58 Lawler, p. 109 59 Derche, p. 102. 60 Pierre Michel, Valgry, II. L'Ecrivain Classique (Paris: Les Editions Foucher, n.d.), p. 17. 61 Gerstel, p. 27. 62 Fowlie, p. 83. 63 Robert Monestier, Paul Valgry: "Charmes" (Paris Librairie Nizet , 1951), p. 64. 64 Alain (Emile Chartier), Charmes, poemes de Paul Valgry commented par Alain (Paris: Gallimard, 1952), p. 90 65 HacKay, p. 135. Valery discusses this event in "Le Prince et La Jeune Parque , " 0, I, pp. 1492-1496. 66 MacKay, p. 135. The letter referred to appears in Reponses: Lettres de 1917-1928 (Saint-Felicien-en Vivarais: Le Pigeonnier, 1928), p. 18 but text is unavailable.

PAGE 178

172 67Evelyne Suhami, Paul Valgry et la musique (Dakar: University de Dakar, 1966), pp. 100-01. 68 Walzer, p. 278. 69"Sur Phedre femme," Varigtg IV , 1944, 0, I, 508. ^Ojacques Duchesne-Guillernin , Etudes de "Charmes" de Paul Valgry (Bruxelles: L'Ecran du Monde, 1947), p. 71. 71priscilla Washburn Shaw. Rilke, Valgry and Yeats , the Domain of the Self (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1964), p. 152. 72in addition to "Sur Ph&dre femme," see for example Val6ry's essay "Le Prince et la Jeune Parque : (0, I, 149196), Vale'ry's acceptance speech at the Acad£mie Franqaise, especially 0, I, 738, and the note in the Cahiers of June 1927, "Comme j'ai fait la J. P." It seems clear that Val6ry saw in Racine his own dedication to purity in poetry. One example attesting to this fact is a comment reported by Gide in his Journal of 1928, Pl£iade ed., p. 891: "Parbleu! Dostoievsky aussi cdde a des raisons d'art (tout comme Val£ry pretend que faisait Racine, qui, disait-il, aurait change' le caractdre de Ph&dre plutot que de faire un mauvais vers). . ." 7 ^Not relevant to this approach: Henri Bremond, Racine et Valgry, Notes sur 1' initiation politique (Paris: Grasset, 1930)/ "'"' ' '^Decaudin, p. 54. 75 Alain, p. 74. 7 6Alain, p. 74. 77 Alain, p. 94. (See also p. 92 where Alain cites Lucretius, noting that Val£ry and Lucretius understand love in much the same way.) 78 Pierre Michel, "Paul ValSry et le theme de Narcisse," L'Ecole , 24 Nov. 1951, p. 158. "Avec 1' extreme pudeur d ' un homme sain, Alain rappelle que dans presques tous ses podmes, Valery associe une sensuality brulante a une pensge austere, ce qui lui fait r£p6ter sans cesse: 'Val£ry est notre Lucrece.'" 79 Valery, II. L'Ecrivain Classique , p. 16. 80From the essay "Po£sie et pensee abstraite," 0, I, 1335-36.

PAGE 179

173 81o, I, 1336. Valery alludes here to an important and frequent analogy he has made comparing poetry to dance and prose to walking. 82"Mais notre poesie, depuis cent ans, a montre de si riches ressources, et une puissance si rare de renouvellement , que 1'avenir lui donnera peut-etre assez vite quelques-unes de ces oeuvres de grand style et d'une noble s§v§rit§, qui dominent le sensible et 1 ' intelligible" (0, I, 856). 83"Et il lui arrive alors de pretendre qu'il n'y a pas de mati&re po^tique au monde qui soit plus riche que celle-ci; que la vie de 1 ' intelligence constitue un univers lyrique incomparable, un drama complet , ou ne manquent ni l'aventure, ni les passions, ni la douleur (qui s'y trouve d'une essence toute particuliere) , ni le comique, ni rien d'humain" (0, I, 796). 84 Derche, p. 102. 85 Walzer, p. 281. 86 Walzer, p. 281. 87"
PAGE 180

174 93 See also, Geoffrey H. Hartman, T he Unmediated Vision, an Interpretation of Wordsworth, Hopkins. Rilke , and Valery (New York: Harcour c, Brace & Co., 1966). "^Later, in a monograph, the writer hopes to resolve the still unsettled Valery/Racine problem. 95jean Soulairol, Paul Valery (Paris: Editions du Vieux Colombier, 1952), p. 147. 96 Soulairol, p. 148. 97 Soulairol, p. 148. S^But Valery eventually uses a somewhat similar anaphoric negative sequence at the very end of the first "fragment:" "Que nulle vierge enfant echappee au satyre,/ Nulle aux fuites habiles, aux chutes sans emoi,/ Nulle des nymphes, nulle amie, ne m' attire. ... " "Soulairol, p. 148. iOOSoulairol, p. 148. --din Valery' s poems, especially in the poems about poetic creation in Charmes , it is possible to demonstrate that water, a major symbol for Valery, possibly his most important, represents consistently aspects of the mind, particularly the conscious mind. For details, see Dorothy H. Schnare, Water Symbolism in Valery 's "Charmes" (University of Florida: M.A. thesis, 1972). 102E as; Qy demonstrated since it is, of course, well known that Valery was married, raised a family, gave numerous public lectures throughout Europe, was elected to the French Academy, allowed his poems and lectures to be published, was considered official poet of France, etc. Yet, the monumental Cahiers set him apart despite the outward, worldly picture. 103suhami, p. 98. 104 Suhami, p. 99. iOSsuhami, p. 99. lO^It does not appear at all in the first versions of the "Fragments." 107 0, I, 1667.

PAGE 181

175 J-^°This probably accounts for Valdry's line: "Antres, qui me rendez mon ame plus profonde," (1. 100), part of the echo scene (11. 93-109). 109-phg wr iter is grateful to Dr. Raymond Gay-Crosier for these ideas about Echo. 110-phe Narcissus figure in the Middle Ages was used, for example, as a warning example to those who would not submit to the power of love, as a reminder of the vainness of pride and ambition, as a moral to illustrate the danger of worldly pleasures through the loss of life after death. For a summary of the use of the Narcissus theme in the Middle Ages, see Vinge, especially p. 76, 90, and 114. Hi-See especially Fowlie, p. 79 and Lawler, p. 103. Lawler begins: "Le soliloque s'ouvre sur une exclamation dont le caract^re est ambigu: est-ce 1 'expression du contentement du protagoniste maintenant qu'il a en vue 1 ' about issement de ses efforts: ou bien plutot son d£sir de voir ce but chatoyer enfin devant lui?'' H 2 According to L6on Cledat, Dictionnaire Etymologique de la langue francaise (Paris: Hachette, 1913), p. 63, "brilles" is etymologically related to "b£ryl £meraude transparente. " This may have suggested the use of "6meraudes" in the third fragment when Narcissus prays for continued light "Dites qu'une lueur de rose ou d ' 6meraudes. " 113 Fowlie, p. 79. H^rjaniel John Hughes, Coleridge and Valgry: An Essay in Modern Poetics (Dissertation: Brown University, 1958), p. 134. HSrj.j. Mossop, Pure Poetry, Studies in French Poetic Theory and Practice 1746 to 1945 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971). 116 Mossop, p. 221. 117 Mossop, p. 222-23. L18 0uoted in Jean de Latour, Examen de Valgry , p. 159, and in 0, I, 1672. ll^Same type of development in the second "fragment" 1. 56 "lis vont des biens perdus trouver tous les tombeaux. ..."

PAGE 182

176 1 on w This line because of the use of ''dort" re-evokes the "univers dormant" (1. 11). 121np an iq Ue .t un d ou btedly also has the meaning "qui vient du dieu Pan," Cledat , 470, given Valery's tendency to use archaic meanings. 122;F 0unc i earlier in lines 24 and 36. 123as indicated by Monique Parent, Coherence et resonance dans le style de "Charmes" de Paul Valery (Paris: Klincksieck, 1970), p. 22. 124 The Pleiade edition of 1921. 125"pg r i r " is part of the alliteration of the line "L'ame jusqu'a" p£rir, s'y penche pour un Dieu." 126p> e p ea ted three lines later "cher esclave." 127Gerstel, pp. 16-37. 128xhis is consistent with Valery's intention to make the "Fragments" the counterpart of La Jeune Parque , simple in its form and giving practically no difficulty with comprehension (0, I, 1672). 129 Gerstel, pp. 35-36. iSOchaillet, pp. 288-301. 131chaillet,

PAGE 183

CHAPTER III CANT ATE DU NARCISSE Valery's Cantate du Narcisse brings us to a different art form: theater. Yet poetry and Valery's theory of poetry remain in the foreground since the Cantate is the most poetic of Valery's compositions for the theater. As Ailene Arensbach indicates in The Theater of Paul Valery : "this work more than any other work of Valery's for the stage can rightfully be called a poetic drama. To demonstrate what the Cantate du Narcisse reveals about Valery's theory of poetry, the same pattern of analysis used for the earlier chapters will be followed A general introduction with background details will come first. This, of necessity, will include a brief look at the role of theater in Valery's work. Discussion of Valery's theater leads logically into the question of influence. Gluck and Racine come to mind immediately. References have also been made to Corneille and Wagner. Further speculation on the problem of influence and possible sources makes it possible to show that Valery, in this work, has reverted to conventional Symbolism, often quite subtly, by adopting elements and techniques found 177

PAGE 184

178 in Symbolist theater. Next, an examination of the unique use which Val£ry continues to make of Ovid's Metamorphoses points out how he was able to increase both the poetic and the dramatic qualities of the Cantate making it, in many ways, his most original Narcissus poem. This chapter, unlike the others, does not include a survey of critical commentary on the work in question. References will be incorporated into the discussion of the other aspects outlined above. Studies of this work are sparse in any case, on occasion unduly negative, and often stereotyped. Most commentary involves at the most a page or two. Arensbach's exegesis of the work is an exception consisting of more than ten carefully considered pages of examination and explanation (pp. 91-101). Finally, an analysis of several aspects of the libretto itself will be made. This section will also include comparison with the earlier works on Narcissus in order to see what additional conclusions can be drawn about Val^ry's poetics in the final chapter of his "autobiographie poetique." For a little over ten years, from about 1914 to 1926, Valery's poetry was his most important creative activity. Beginning in 1914 with his work on La Jeune Parque and ending with the 1926 edition of Charmes which contained, for the first time, all three of the "Fragments," Valgry was at the peak of his poetic career. Around 1929, or perhaps a little before, and for approximately the next fifteen years, until his death in 1945,

PAGE 185

179 Val6ry's major creative work was in the area of theater. Poetry was not abandoned. Deluxe editions of his poems appeared frequently and the new poems, now often prose poems, were published sporadically. However, works created for the stage dominated this final period of his life. Although Valery had written a number of dialogues 3 which could be staged and were presented with some success, Amphion , written in 1929, was his first production definitely intended to be performed on the stage. This was followed by S em i r am i s , published in 1934, and the Cantate du Narcisse , published in 1939. The final and probably the most ambitious theatrical attempt was the never finished Mon Faust (§bauches) . There is certainly poetry in all of these works: Amphion and S^miramis are written in free verse and Mon Faust , particularly the last part of Le Solitaire , "Interm&de," has some scintillating poetic dialogue. The Cantate , however, is Val6ry's only dramatic work written entirely in rhymed verse, much of it in polished alexandrines. Of Valery' s three works on Narcissus, the least amount of background information is available for the Cantate . Unlike the pages and pages of notes devoted to "Narcisse parle" and the "Fragments du Narcisse," the Pl£iade edition of Valery 's works contains only the following paragraph: Paru hors commerce, pour l'auteur et ses amis, en 1939, puis, sous le titre la Cantate du Narcisse,

PAGE 186

180 en tete du n° 323 de la Nouvelle Revue Franc aise , I er Janvier 1941, pp. 129 a 148. Repris, sous le titre Cantate du Narcisse , dans Melange (1941) et dans l'edition de 1942 des Poesies ; edition separee chez Gallimard en 1943. Voir 1' album la Cantate du Narcisse , 20 images photographiques de Laure Albin-Gruillot , Impr. Arta, 1942 (O, I, 1720). The lack of readily available information on this work is apparent in Evelyne Suhami ' s Paul Valery et la musique . She comments as follows: Le Narcisse quelque peu remanie pour le theatre, a trouve son monde musical. En effet, c ' est a la demande de M me Germaine Tailleferre, auteur de nombreuses musiques de scene, eleve de Ravel, que Valery ecrivit la Cantate du Narcisse en novembre 1938. L'oeuvre est donnee en Janvier 1944 au Conservatoire a Paris, et ^lafin de la meme annee au studio des Champs-Elysees. Aucun document ne nous permet de parler plus longuement de la musique et de 1 ' interpretation de cette Cantate . L'on peut simplement remarquer a nouveau que le poete a choisi un veritable leit-motif de sa Pens£e pour sa derniere oeuvre lyrique. 4 Agathe Rouart-Valery 's "Introduction Biographique" which opens the Pleiade edition of Valery 's works lists the two performances mentioned by Suhami, but refers, in addition, to a reading of the work in 1939: "23 fevrier: Lecture de la Cantate du Narcisse a la SocietS des auteurs, compositeurs et editeurs de musique dont Paul Valery est le president d'honneur" (0, I, 64). On the preceding page the following comment occurs for August 1938:

PAGE 187

181 "Pendant ses vacances a la Polyn£sie, ValSry §crit la Cantate du Narcisse , destined a etre mise en musique par Germaine Taillefer" (sic) (0, I, 63). By piecing together other fragments of information, a little more can be learned about the background, genesis, and production of this work. From an article written by Stanislas Fumet for Arts , it is clear that in 1949, there was a successful radio broadcast of the work directed by Roger Desormi&re with Genette Guillamat and 5 Jean Planel in the leading roles. Although Val6ry does not mention the Cantate at all in "Sur les ' Narcisses,'" he did add an informative Avis to the work itself: Ce petit ouvrage est tout distinct et tout different du Narcisse en deux 6tats que son auteur a publics jadis et nagudre. II fut £crit, d'avril a novembre 1938, sur la demande de M me Germaine Tailleferre pour servir de libretto a une cantate qui a 6te" composed par cette eminente musicienne. Toutefois, le present texte est, en quelque endroit , un peu plus dgveloppe 1 que le texte mis en musique (0, I, 403). The third paragraph did not appear until after the 1941 publication. This Avis will be referred to again later. Another Avis written by Val6ry reminds us that he included the Cantate, as the last work, in a diverse collection to which he gave the title: Melange . By this title,

PAGE 188

182 he meant, of course, a mixture or miscellany. He says in the "Avis au Lecteur:" II n'est pas de livre dont le titre soit plus vrai que celui-ci. Le dgsordre qui "regne" ( comme on dit) dans Melange s'etend a la chronologie. Telle chose a 6t6 e'crite il y a pres de cinquante ans. Telle autre est d ' avant-hier : entre le bref poeme "Sinistre" et la Cantate du Narcisse , presque un demi-si§cle s'est ^coule' (0, I, 285). He also meant something more by the title and the short poem which opens Melange helps to explain its significance: "Melange c ' est 1' esprit." Including the work in this collection indicates that the Cantate was not to be considered as lightweight musical entertainment, but that it is, instead, a significant part of the serious exercise of the mind afforded Valery by creative activity from which he learned still more about the workings of the mind and the creative act itself. For Valgry a work taken up again and again and recast was a learning experience, a serious exercise in self-reform: "[. . .] une oeuvre toujours ressaisie et refondue [prend] peu a peu 1' importance secrdte d'une entreprise de reforme de soi-meme" (0, I, 1496-97). Valery 's foreword to the Cantate suggests that he composed the work at the request of the musician, Germaine Tailleferre, but her amusing account of the genesis of the work, complete with a gypsy fortuneteller predicting the details of its inception, disputes Valery

PAGE 189

183 on this point. 6 Valery often maintained that his published works were ouvrages de commande . Yet the background to his dramatic compositions lends credence to Taillef erre ' s account which insists that he asked her. Valery, it seems, had problems obtaining musicians to collaborate with him on his projects for the theater. The story of how he tried for years to get Debussy to work with him on a ballet about Orpheus is well known. In a letter to Debussy, Valery even wrote a kind of prose poem outlining the pron ject and requesting his collaboration. Although this letter, in the form of a poem, was written in 1900, it was not until 1929 that Valery was able to induce Honegger instead to collaborate with him. Together, the two created Amphion . Germaine Taillef erre, like Honegger, was a member of a group of composers known as "les Six." 9 Her music tended to be classical, simple, and lyrical. Consequently, she was a logical choice to work with Valery. Her account of how their collaboration began indicates that she had been commissioned by the Director of Arts and Letters to compose a work "lyrique, genre cantate de preference" for a considerable fee. 10 When Valery heard this, he immediately offered his latest work on Narcissus, promising the first scene the very next day and mentioning that he was pressed for money: Votre collaborateur ce sera moi. J'ai toujours desire ecrire un

PAGE 190

184 nouveau Narcisse qui fut mis en musique sous la forme d'un cantate alia Gluck; et comme j ' ai grand besoin d'argent, nous partagerons ce cachet, qui me liberera momentanement de quelques graves soucis.H Insight into how the work was composed is an additional feature of Germaine Taillef erre ' s reminiscence Notre premiere seance de travail eut lieu le lendemain apres le dejeuner; elle se passa en promenades dans les oliveraies. II me conta Narcisse. Ensuite, a chacun de ses passages dans le Midi, il m'apportait une nouvelle scene. 12 Becoming more specific as to method and to what Valery expected her music to do, she adds: ...Comme Claudel, il savait exactement ce qu'il voulait et quand un passage ne lui plaisait pas, il n'y avait qu ' a le recommencer, ce que je fis pour la troisieme scene que j'ai reecrite trois fois. Apres la troisieme version, je n'y voyais plus clair. C'est alors qu'il m ' avoua que lui-meme 1 ' avait plusieurs fois r§6crite, qu'il 1 'avait ratee. Pour ma part, j'avais rate la cinquieme qui n'etait pas du tout dans 1' esprit qu'il voulait. Afin de me faciliter la tache, il se proposa de me la lire pour que je note au fur et a mesure le rythme de sa diction. Avec ce mode de travail, j'obtenais, une prosodie parfaite. Instantangment , j'ai ecrit avant lui la musique; mon annotation etait la reproduction exacte du rythme de sa lecture. II en §tait enchante; moi aussi j'gtais ravie d' avoir triomphe d'un obstacle et surtout de lui faire plaisir . 13 From this passage, it is clear, once again, that Valery, taking this work as seriously as his early poems about

PAGE 191

185 Narcissus, reworked and revised in characteristic fashion. Also, it is obvious that the music was to serve the poetry. To understand the importance of this concept as well as the significance of the cantata form, and to clarify Val^ry's overall dramatic aims, it is necessary to have some idea of his dramatic theories. Val^ry's interest in drama began early. In 1887, when he was only fifteen years old, he wrote two plays: Le Reve de Morgan and Les Esclaves . At an early stage, he planned but never actually wrote a tragedy on the Emperor Tiberius which was to be called Tibere ou la Raison couronn^e . His major poems, especially La Jeune Parque , are notable for their dramatic qualities, but Val£ry seems to have written less about drama than any other art. There are, it is true, a number of references to theater in the Cahiers , important comments in letters, but in addition to "Histoire d' Amphion , " a lecture read at a concert performance of Amphion in 1932, there are only three major essays on theater: "Le Theatre enchant^" (1932), "Mes Theatres" (1942) and "Notes sur un tragique et un trag£die" (1946). Valgry's reluctance to write formal essays on the subject of theater, may be due to the fact that he felt inadquate to discuss the genre: Devant le moindre spectacle, je me sens le plus incapable des hommes 3. concevoir comment cela est fait. Comment 1 ' on assemble, comment on mene, comment on fait

PAGE 192

186 entrer, sortir, se raouvoir des personnages, comment 1'on forme les noeuds que l'on denouera, je 1' ignore. Je puis bien £crire pour plusieurs voix, m'y etant essaye; mais l'action, les situations, les combinaisons et les resolutions rne semblent exiger des dons miraculeux qui ne me laissent pas de me faire envie.15 Valery shows, however, a clear grasp of what is involved in constructing what he calls "la machine dramatique," as Arensbach suggests. His three essays deal primarily with theater as architecture, theater as spectacle, and examine the role of the spectator. Arensbach' s study, which is an informed and informative examination of Vaiery's theater, describes and explains, carefully and thoughtfully, the details of Vaiery's three main essays on theater. For the study of the Cant ate and Vaiery's poetics, only certain points from these essays are pertinent. Realizing the risks involved in versifying for the theater Valery felt that recreating theater would reestablish poetry as a dramatic vehicle. He personally imagines two kinds of theater which he describes in "Mes Theatres." One he calls "Guignol;" the other, "Temple." Arensbach succinctly describes them, stating first that by "Guignol" Valery meant ordinary theater: All the elements of this theater will be as theatrical as possible, "tout s'y sent en carton, en platre deguise, en or fictif." There will be a complete physical separation between the s alle and the stage. Ordinary wood, fragile

PAGE 193

187 and painted, will be the major building material. The "Temple," on the other hand, will be constructed of a noble material and salle and stage will form an architectural unity. Each type of theatre will present a different type of spectacle. On the stage of the "Guignol" "la vie eclaterait et exercerait le pouvoir de gagner, le spectateur par contagion de 1' extreme vivacite des actes, des surprises du dialogue, de l'etincellement des r§pliques." In the "Temple," the spectacle would be as rigidly fixed as possible, much like the liturgy of the Mass.-'-' Valery's dialogues are closest to his concept of "Guignol." In the category of "Temple," Valery places his "melodrames , " Amphion and Semi ramis . "Mon Faust" is a mixture of the two. Despite Francis Scarfe's misinterpretation of the 18 fourth scene as "low level burlesque," the Cantate can only rightly be seen as "Temple." Valery does not seem to have written anything specific about his dramatic intentions with respect to the Cantate , nor about the effect which it was meant to have when staged. In fact, he has written almost nothing about how it should be staged. There are few stage directions and only the briefest description of the setting;: "La scene represente une clairiere. Au milieu, la fontaine" (0, I, 403). I shall discuss later possible reasons for these lacunae. Bearing in mind Valery's concept of theater as "Temple," it is reasonable to conceive of the Cantate , given its form and composition, as a liturgical drama in

PAGE 194

188 the manner of Amphion even though it lacks obvious elements like the temple in Amphion and the altar in Semiramis . First, there is the cantata form, often used for religious purposes. Here it is secular because of the content of the drama, but it has religious or at least quasi-religious overtones. The return of Narcissus to the fountain each evening is a ritual. The first Nymph says: "II revient chaque soir se plaindre et se cherir" (Scene I, p. 405). Narcissus himself, addressing the Sun and comparing himself to it says: "Admire dans Narcisse un eternel retour/ Vers 1'onde oil son image offerte a son amour/ Propose a sa beauts toute sa connaissance" (Scene II, p. 406). The adoration of Narcissus by the Nymphs has a quasi-religious flavor as does his selfadoration. The scene of violence (Scene IV), in which Narcissus is attacked by the Nymphs, scratched, whipped, and disfigured, can be visualized, and undoubtedly should be staged, as a stylized, choreographed dance. At the very end of the scene where the Nymphs are about to strike Narcissus again, Val§ry writes: "Tumulte et danse des coups autour du Narcisse" (p. 414). This scene, furthermore, is similar to a religious sacrifice. The intention of the scene becomes clear and achieves great poignancy when Narcissus bemoans the lack of a proper altar for the sacrifice: "Si sa beaute la voue a. quelque sacrifice,/ Que I ' on dressat du moins 1 ' incomparable autel/ Sur quoi ce corps parfait s 'of frit au coup mortel..." (Sc. VI, p. 416)

PAGE 195

189 Scenes IV and VI present a Narcissus, who is a heroic figure, much like Prometheus in his defiance of the gods and in his disobediance of their order. His recalcitrance is presented as an act of purification, almost a rite, in which he strengthens and consecrates his intention to remain pure at any cost: Justice... Je sens dans leur voix implacable L'affront que fait aux dieux le desir le plus pur.. Ma Fontaine lucide, ils n'ont qu'un fleuve obscur Pour temoin ten§breux de leur toute-puissance. . . Mais mon ame est plus grande en d§sobeissance , Plus admirable est mon essence... (Sc. VI, p. 417). A little later he adds: "Au noir serment r§pond le clair aveu:/ Ce n'est qu'& soi qu'il murmure: Je t'aime/ Sans jamais craindre un regard mensonger" (p. 419). Val6ry felt that Amphion , which he called a "m§lodrame," approached "une ceremonie de caractere religieux" (0, II, 1282). Arensbach sees as the most liturgical aspect of Amphion and Semiramis , the ending where the stage is left bare, the "moment" at the end of the play before the curtain drops. She writes: "the first and most apparent reason for this is that the part of the set to which our attention is directed after the main character leaves the stage is religious in nature: the Temple in Amphion , the Altar in Sefniramis . ''-*•" She admits, however, that it is not this fact that determines the religious character of these works. She contends that it is because the main character is no longer present, and, consequently, Valerv could have written a melodrame which would not have

PAGE 196

190 had a rel igious symbol at the center of the stage but which would have, nevertheless, been a liturgical work. 20 She continues: I suggest this as the formula: draw the spectator's attention to a character and a problem he faces, let the character solve that problem then let him leave the stage, but do not let the curtain fall at that moment. Wait . The spectator remains before the empty stage, his interest on one level, the purely physical visual level, is necessarily directed to what is on the stage. But the spectator is still, if the dramatist has evinced any skill at all, thinking about the character. His eye perceives the stage but his mind is fixed on an absence. This moment is a brief one and the curtain does fall eventually . 21 She feels that this brief moment before the lights go on and people begin milling about and looking for their coats is Valery's way of trying to protect the audience from the eventual dissipation of the emotional or spiritual force of the production by constructing into the drama a 22 time for them to absorb the total theatrical experience. Arensbach does not suggest that the Cantate is an example of Valery's concept of Temple melodrame, but it does have the requirements. An empty stage at the end of the drama is an intrinsic part of the Narcissus myth. In the Cantate , Narcissus disappears before the final scene. In fact, at the end of scene VI, Valery writes: "II disparait" (p. 420). In the early version of the Cantate , published in La Nouvelle Revue Francaise, the

PAGE 197

191 last scene is only a recapitulation of sounds and poetic fragments which were used earlier in the poem: SCENE VII ET DERNIERE. CHOEUR Nymphes, Nymphes si vives, etc. . . (Reprise des principaux motifs de la cantate, en guise de finale. ) The scene is merely an echo which does not necessarily require the Chorus to be on stage, but it keeps the spectator's mind on Narcissus. In the definitive version where the intention is more purely poetic, the following passage is added in addition to the echoes of earlier motifs sung by the Chorus and words uttered by the First Nymph who has been metamorphosed into the echo of Narcissus : Nuit tiede et profonde, Un astre qui s'y mire est seul a trahir l'Onde, Quel parfum trop subtil m'egare vers les bois? II fait battre mon coeur ; il fait trembler ma vois. . . Delice, delice . . . Except for the mirror fountain, which for both Narcissus and Valery takes on almost religious signification, this ending ultimately leaves the stage bare, too, as the Nymph is drawn towards the woods. Only the perfume which haunts and disturbs her remains. It is like the scent

PAGE 198

192 of incense left after a religious service. This interpretation of the ending will be made clearer in the final section where the poetry of the libretto is analyzed . The empty stage is analogous to the blank page so often alluded to by Mallarme" and the Symbolist poets. Although the futility of Narcissus' quest is underlined, it is not so much sterility and "impuissance" which is being symbolized by the empty stage, but absence which is being evoked, and the attempt to express the ineffable and make it felt in the spectator, Valery's intention to produce in the spectator "une emotion quasi-religieuse" is achieved. The audience has witnessed a ritual comparable to a religious service. The story of Narcissus with its inherent poetry, its well-known story, and its semi-divine hero provides Valery with a suitable vehicle to put his theory of theater as "Temple" into practice. The ritualistic and stylized elements of the drama which Valery enhances or invents remove the already unrealistic myth even further from narrative prose making it comparable to pure poetry. In the broad sense, the subject of Valery's theater is quite a different matter from his poetics. Huguette Laurent i in Paul Valery et le theatre has studied Valery's dramatic theories with little reference to his

PAGE 199

193 24 poetry. However, Valery seems to approach the problems of theater in much the same way he does poetry. He sees drama as an exercise, a testing ground for his evolving concept of what theater should be and do. Just as he posed difficult problems for himself when writing poetry, he sought to solve serious dramatic problems with his stage productions. Francis Scarfe suggests that the main interest of Amphion , Semi rami s and the Cantate du Narcisse is that we see Valery "approaching and trying to solve one or two important dramatic problems [. . . ]." Scarfe reminds us that Valery was dissatisfied with opera because it failed to integrate sufficiently the diverse elements from which it was composed. As a solution he proposed his theory of liturgical drama. His attitude concerning tragedy and the spectator can be compared with his attitude toward the reader of poetry and the emotion of poetry. He defines tragedy by the effect it has on the spectator. The emotion of poetry is to be produced in the reader; it is not in the poet as such. As I have already suggested, there is an important parallel between his liturgical aims for drama and his concept of pure poetry. Valery so indicates when he says : Dans une action dramatique ordinaire, les mouvements, les gestes, les "temps", ne sont assujettis qu ' a la representation la plus "vraie" et la plus excitante de la "vie."

PAGE 200

194 La convention n'y parait express^ment que dans les oeuvres en vers et dans les operas, d§s que les acteurs ouvrent la bouche. On observe alors que leurs paroles sont d ' un autre systSme que leurs actes. Cependant que ces personnes agissent comme on pent agir, elles s'expriment comme on ne s'exprime pas. II y a une £trangete" et une sorte d ' imp urete" [• • .]. Mais suppose" que 1 'on veuille que le spectacle soit plus pur , c'est £t dire homogdne, ou £galement distant de la vie en tous ses moyens de production, on est conduit k imposer des conditions et des restrictions conventionelles aux actes des personnages, et , par consequent, au milieu dans lesquel il s se meuvent , aux dur^es et aux compositions successives de leurs presences. II en peut r£sulter des oeuvres a valeur significative complexe ; et c'est pourquoi j'ai employe" le mot liturgique (0, II, 1575). Just as poetry should avoid that which is utilitarian like ordinary speech since it would be too readily reduced to prose, theater should avoid what is realistic and what reminds us of everyday life. Otherwise the poetry and the action will clash. Impurity will result. The solution for drama is not to remove the poetry, but to harmonize the action with the poetry excluding any direct imitation of life on the stage when such imitation threatens to obscure the deeper meaning of the work. " Discussion of the role of poetry in drama, especially in musical drama or opera is important with respect to Valery's interest in Gluck. Critics inevitably mention Gluck when discussing Val6ry's theater, but they do so

PAGE 201

195 primarily in terms of his interest in recitative. Recitative was important to him in the composition of La Jeune Pa rqu e , and he discusses it in detail in essays and com07 ments on the poem. Laurenti comments on the importance of recitative to Valery in both poetry and musical drama: Plus particuliere au theatre lyrique est la notion, chere a Valery po&te, de "recitatif." On sait 1 'usage qu'il en a fait dans la Jeune Parque , congue d'abord, a-t-il dit, sur le modele offert par Gluck. L' imitation de la liturgie et une meilleure connaissance de Wagner ne pouvaient que 1 ' inciter a donner encore plus d' importance a ce mode de composition. D'autant que le "recitatif," s'il se pr^sente comme un monologue, est bien la "suite" formelle susceptible de traduire la "suite" des etats par lesquels passe, dans des "temps" donnes, le systeme "sensitivo-moteurpsychique" d'un individu. D ' oh 1' importance qu'il y a a marquer 1 ' assimilation avec la musique: d'une part, en "chantant" les vers, d' autre part, en marquant les changements de "ton," ce qui introduit dans la composition po^tique et dramatique cette notion de "modulation a laquelle Valery tient tant. 28 In addition to utilizing recitative in the manner of Gluck for the Cantate , Valery' s admiration for Gluck also centered on his theory of music in the service of poetry. This was, in fact, the most revolutionary part of Gluck' s approach to opera, outlined in the preface to Alceste where he states that he has striven to restrict music to its true office of serving poetry by means of expression and by following the situations of the story without interrupting the action or stifling it with useless

PAGE 202

196 ornament or superfluity. From the way Germaine Tailleferre described composing sessions with Vale*ry, it is clear that Vale'ry, too, determined that the music of the Cant ate should be subservient to the poetry, following precisely the diction of the verse. He wrote in the Cahiers : "30 oct . 1938 chez Germaine Tailleferre ...audition du Narcisse au piano Elle a bien essayd de conserver le vers. Les compositeurs modernes ont peur de faire chanter. Peur de la phrase . Cependant c ' est bien la base de la musique occidentale (quand ce n'est pas le danse)'' (XXI. 687). In many ways, Val§ry's theater, and especially the Cantate , is a combination of his Symbolist heritage and his classicism. Although Val6ry was always more interested in the poetry of Racine's drama rather than in the dra.ma itself, there are other Racinian elements which he adopts for the Cantate in addition to aiming for pure, polished Racine-like alexandrines. Despite the fact that the play is in scenes, not in acts, many of the rules of classical drama are followed strictly. Most important is Valery's rigid adherence to the unities of time, place, and action The most striking exception to classical dramaturgy is the central scene of violence, scene IV. Arensbach outlines how Valery follows classical rules with regard to the linking of scenes and shows how the cantata is Racinian in its plot structure, character portrayal, and

PAGE 203

197 use of classical verse. 29 The familiar theme of "aimer sans etre aime" is also utilized. If Valery's classicism was evident in the "Fragments," it is also readily observable in the Cantate . More interesting is Valery's reversion to Symbolism. The characteristics of Symbolist theater, which Anna Balakian describes in The Symbolist Movement , comprise an important aspect of Valery's cantata. Some of the elements which Valery introduces may be seen as implicit stage directions which would, if they were followed, enhance the liturgical effects of the drama as well as place it in the vein of Symbolist theater. The rapprochement of symbolism and liturgy brings to mind Mallarme's theater-Mass, 30 Wagner's total theatre, and Lugne-Poe's recognition of the need for a new dramatic concept according to which the theater is like a sanctuary and a place of meditation. Valgry's aims seem to parallel these concepts, and there is some overlapping, but it should be pointed out that his vision is not subjective nor does it approach mysticism. Valery uses the stage's power to evoke, to suggest, for example, the intense inner emotions of Narcissus and the first Nymph. As Balakian points out, there is little action in a Symbolist play, the atmosphere is one of intense inner vibrations. 32 Except for the one scene of violence, there is little material action in

PAGE 204

198 Valery 's drama. The plaintive, poetic monologues and the dialogues between Narcissus and the first Nymph reveal what is going on in their minds and their hearts. There is more tension than conflict. Narcissus is ever absorbed in self. The Nymph becomes more and more introspective. Using repetition much the way Maeterlinck does, so that it is like one musical instrument answering another, Valery, in the first scene, has the Nymphs, one after another, repeat words and phrases. In the next scene, Narcissus takes up the same vocabulary. The final scene re-echoes the motifs again. The haunting preoccupation with death, characteristic of Symbolist drama, is evident in the attitude of the Nymphs who are constantly bemoaning their immortality: "Vainement, vainement immortelles et belles." Narcissus is supremely conscious of what his fate will be as he defies the gods. Reminding us of the perfumes injected into the air of Lugne-Poe ' s Symbolist theater, Balakian asks: "What better locus for synesthesia than the stage?"33 Although Valery did not say so explicitly, the perfume mentioned in the last speech of the cantata should be a stage effect. It would be in keeping with the liturgical elements of the drama (suggesting; the incense of the Mass), and the Symbolist elements as well. The vapors surrounding the Nymph as she comes out of the fountain: "Ici, la

PAGE 205

199 premiere nymphe sort de la Fontaine, qui se degage des vapeurs qu'elle exhalait" (Sc. Ill, p. 408), are similar to the fogs and mists employed by Symbolist dramatists. In addition to the perfume and the vapors, there is the matter of lighting. There are so few stage directions because they are unnecessary. Consider the lighting in this play. Although it has fundamental symbolic significance, it moves in a very obvious and logical way from sunlight to darkness. The play opens with both the Nymphs and Narcissus talking about the sun and emphasizing its presence. The poetry of the drama all the way through enhances the drama of light versus dark. Finally, the drama can only end in utter darkness: "0 Nuit tiede et profonde." Clever production might find a way to evoke: "Un astre qui s'y mire est seul a trahir 1'Onde." Like Symbolist drama Valery's play does not aim for entertainment in the usual sense. It does not have an ideological message and it does not produce an emotional catharsis. It is meant to evoke a contemplative mood in the audience which is enhanced by the empty stage and haunting perfume of the ending. Although the subject of Valery's Cantate du Narcisse as an expression of Symbolist theater is only sketched here, further study focusing on this aspect and including his other dramatic works could increase their understanding and the poet's dramatic intentions.

PAGE 206

200 In the preceding discussion the Nymph was described as emerging from the fountain in a vapor cloud. Thus, she springs Aphrodite-like from the water. The expression used is "surgit de 1 ' ecume" (Sc. Ill, p. 408). The allusion is clear. The Nymph is a symbol of Love and Beauty in the drama. This Nymph, Premiere Nymph as she is called in the Cantate , is ultimately metamorphosed into Echo, and she has a number of definite similarities to Ovid's Echo. In addition to loving Narcissus and being sternly rebuffed by him as Echo was in Ovid's tale, she also later takes pity on him as Echo did near the end of the Metamorphoses . In Valery's drama, however, the heroine is multidimensional. Over and above her role as Echo, she is an ordinary nymph capable of instant transformation. In the first scene as Narcissus is approaching, she is a Dryad: "Moi, je deviens ce hetre!..." (p. 406). Moreover, she is presented as woman, the temptress, trying to lure Narcissus from his pure dream of self-love. She becomes the typical woman scorned and bent on revenge. She is Nemesis-like: rebuffed by Narcissus, she feels that her anger is righteous and calls her fellow Nymphs to avenge her. 34 On the other hand, she is also an Oracle delivering the ultimatum of the gods, a "noir serment . " She grows in self-knowledge and understanding: "Tu me touches le coeur . . . Tes plaintes sont trop vraies...'

PAGE 207

201 (Sc. VI, p. 416). "Tu fais sans le savoir, d'une Nymphe , une Femme" (p. 416). "Pour la premiere fois, je me pris 5.. . . penser ! / C'est un Strange mal . . . Le coeur cherche a se mordre. . ." (p. 417). Clearly, the presence of this Nymph increases tension in the drama. In addition, Valery has been able to demonstrate through her role his poetic virtuosity, for she has many of the most beautiful lines. Characteristically, Valery begins in medias res and, once again, does not tell the whole story of Narcissus' life as Ovid did, but Echo is not the only Ovidian element which Valery utilizes. The metamorphosis of Narcissus into a flower is a significant development in Valery' s drama. In Ovid's account, Narcissus, after the recognition scene, realizes that he is dying and welcomes his approaching death. In the final scene we learn that he has been transformed into a flower. Val£ry's Narcissus also knows that he will soon die, but, in addition, he is aware of his specific fate in advance. First, the oath indicates that he will be "repris par la nature" (Sc. VI, p. 417). Then the Nymph speaks to him of " . . . le destin d'une fleur" (p. 419), and finally he mentions it himself (p. 420). Just as Narcissus loses his beauty in Ovid's tale, Valery 's hero does too. In Valery 's account, however, it is at the hands of the Nymphs while in the

PAGE 208

202 Metamorphoses Narcissus' beauty fades as he pines away. Of the other Ovidian elements which Valery adopts, one, in particular, was emphasized in the Middle Ages. This is the theme of crime and punishment, the idea that to defy the command of Amor is to invite revenge. "Ton crime est d' ignorer tous les coeurs alentour," the Nymph tells Narcissus (Sc. V, p. 416). Narcissus' proud and cold rejection of the Nymph's love and all love except self-love brings down the wrath of the gods: "SI NARCISSE NE PEUT, SI NARCISSE NE VEUT/ AIMER D ' AMOUR QUELQUE AUTRE QUE SOI-MEME/ RIEN D'HUMAIN N'EST EN LUI . SA BEAUTE LE CONDAMNE ..." (p. 417). Amor is not specifically mentioned in Valery' s version, nor is Narcissus presented as an exemplus, but the emphasis on crime and 35 punishment is similar. The motif of error or illusion plays a major part in Ovid's story, where unlike his lucid, modern counterpart, Narcissus does not recognize himself in the mirror of the pool until considerable time has elapsed. In Valery 's cantata, there is a brief moment which takes up the theme of illusion. Narcissus is momentarily fooled by the appearance of the Nymph as she comes out of the water: "serait-ce? . . . Est-ce done toi, Toi, Narcisse, qui sors [. . .] Viens. . . TOI... Viens te ch£rir aux bras de ton pareil..." (Sc. 3, p. 408). Valery returns briefly to a thematic element from

PAGE 209

203 Ovid which he used in his earlier Narcissus poems the thirst motif: "0 mon Desir, murmure &. mon desir,/ Quelle grand soif ma levre qui t'effleure/ Se sent de moi que je puis saisir!..." (Sc. II, p. 407). "Vous!... Mais je n'ai pour soif qu'une amour sans melange" (Sc. Ill, p. 410). In a variation on the theme, the Nymph too has an unslakeable thirst: "Car le son de sa voix si tendre/ Donne soif de mourir..." (Sc. I, p. 405). Finally, there is the obliteration theme. In Ovid's tale, Narcissus' tears disturb the reflection in the pool and the image disappears for a moment. Valery's lucid Narcissus is aware of this distressing possibility: Mais, Rose de 1'Onde, Si je baise, 6 Bouche La Nappe de 1'Onde Mon souffle effarouche La face du monde . . . Le moindre soupir Que j'exhalerais Me viendrait ravir Ce que j'adorais [. . . ](Sc. II, p. 407) Together with his references to Ovid's Metamorphoses Valery adds a number of other mythical allusions. I have already mentioned Aphrodite and the fact that Narcissus is like Prometheus. Other allusions include a brief reference to the Muses and the Naiads. The oath is a Stygian oath. The attack on Narcissus by the Nymphs in scene four is surely meant to evoke the Erinyes, known for their avenging acts. 37

PAGE 210

204 These mythological allusions are an indication of Val6ry's increased classicism. They also serve a practical purpose. They make the production more stylized and remove it further from the everyday world which was Val£ry's intention. His continued ability to revitalize Ovidian elements reconfirms his poetic power and establishes his dramatic abilities. Analysis of this aspect alone refutes those who see nothing new in the Cantate . Furthermore, even a brief look at the libretto shows that Val£ry, in this final period of his life, still has the great poetic gifts which have made his poetry world famous. While there are a number of facile epithets and rhymes, some slight lapses in rigor, ° and fewer of the dazzling technical coups found in the "Fragments," nevertheless, what remains is simple and charming poetic verses sung by the Nymphs and a large number of carefully controlled and polished alexandrines in the arias and recitatives of Narcissus and the first Nymph, more than enough to confirm that there has been no serious decline. The first important poetic development of the libretto occurs immediately. It is the epigraph which links the new work with the "Fragments." Despite the fact that Val£ry has emphasized that the Cantate is "tout different du Narcisse en deux etats que son auteur a publics jadis et naguere," he obviously did not mean to dissassociate completely the final Narcissus poem from

PAGE 211

205 the earlier ones. He chose to bind them most dramatically by using as an epigraph a passage which occurs near the end of the first "fragment" (11. 122-127): semblable! et pourtant plus parfait que moi-meme, Ephemere immortel si clair devant mes yeux , Pales membres de perle et ces cheveux soyeux, Faut-il qu ' 3. peine aim6s 1'ombre les obscurcisse, Et que la nuit d6j& nous divise, 6 Narcisse, Et glisse entre nous deux le fer qui coupe un fruit! The six-line sequence is one of the most distinctive in the earlier poem.^ 9 A number of the conventional poetic devices which we have come to expect in the "Fragments" appear again: alliteration "pourtant plus parfait," oxymoron "Ephemere immortel," the clair/obscur antithesis, and the dramatic metaphor of the last two lines where the night is like a knife dividing the body from its image. Over and above their poetic import, the lines have a major prophetic function announcing themes and developments in the drama to come. The "eph£m£re immortel" is surely meant to evoke the flower Narcissus will become. The lines also suggest that the basic theme of the earlier version is important to the new drama as well. Though the cantata is externally focused on the problem of Narcissus' unwillingness to be corrupted by human love, the drama of the quest for absolute consciousness is implied. As is often the case in Valery's poetry, the "o" symbolizes the water it suggests Eau aurally, and visually it resembles the circular shape of a pool of water. This

PAGE 212

206 roundness is re-echoed in the circular shape of a whole fruit, the two halves of which are separated by a knife. The correspondence "6" meaning Eau , Narcissus' double, taken a step farther becomes the symbol of a head, for the water is ultimately a representation of mind. The body wishes to become one with absolute mind, that is, to possess total knowledge of self. The metaphor of the night as knife, obscuring the image, hints, too, at the violence to come in scene IV and the idea that Narcissus must be sacrificed because of his defiance of the gods. There are poetic passages in the Cantate itself which connect it to the earlier poems, especially the "Fragments." The lines, however, are often totally rewritten with only a hint or suggestion of an earlier development, unlike the very close parallel lines connecting "Narcisse parle" and the "Fragments." A section of Narcissus' first long aria which can be compared to both poems follows: Tout mon sort n ' est qu ' ob£issance A la force de mon amour. Cher CORPS, je m'abandonne a" ta seule puissance; L'eau tranquille m'attire oil je me tends mes bras: A ce vertige pur je ne resiste pas. Que puis-je 6 ma Beauts, faire que tu ne veuilles? Je foule pour me joindre et mon ombre et les f euilles . Je ressens tout le prix de chacun de mes pas. Narcisse, 6 Moi-meme, 6 Meme qui m'accueilles Par tes yeux dans mes yeux , delices de nos yeux , Je froisse l'or bruyant des roseaux radieux Que presse le doux poids de ma chair pr£cieuse, Pour te voir de plus prds et me sourire mieux . . .

PAGE 213

•07 PARLE, Sour ire pur qu ' environnent les cieux; Oh! . . .Que tu formes bien, Bouche silencieuse, La figure des voeux qu'une levre pieuse Adresse au plus proche des dieux! (Sc. II, p. 407). This sequence is similar in vocabulary, tone, general content, and intensity to the earlier poems. The approach to the water's edge is similar, the unwavering adoration of the body appears again, the mention of leaves and reeds, the focus on the eyes and the mouth, the re-use of words like "obeissance , " "puissance," "d£lices," "or," "vertige," etc. All of these have appeared over and over again in the different versions of the earlier poems. The last three lines above, though different in meaning, may be a variation on the lines from the first "fragment:" "Mon coeur jette aux £chos l'<§clat does noms divins!/ Mais que ta bouche est belle en ce muet blaspheme" (11. 20-21). There is a close parallel between the lines from the Cantate : "Fontaine, ma fontaine, 6 transparent tombeau/ De maint oiseau bless^ qu'ensevelit ton sable" (Sc. VI, p. 417) and the sequence in the second fragment which begins: "Fontaine, ma fontaine, eau froidement presente [. . .] eau calme qui recueilles [. . .] L'oiseau mort , le fruit mur, lentement descendus." The sunset, orchestrated in a minor key, nevertheless, calls to mind the earlier famous passage beginning "0 douceur de survivre . . . ." The Nymph sings:

PAGE 214

208 L'or en cendres descend sur la forme des choses; Tout 1'orgueil du soleil n'est plus que peu de roses Qui perissent sur 1 ' horizon ... (Sc . VI, p. 418) Narcissus' declarations of self-love are similar, and there is a beautiful echo of a line from "Narcisse parle: "Narcisse... ce nom meme est un tendre parfum" becomes "Ce nom si doux Narcisse . . . Et comme parfume." In general considerable use of vocabulary from the earlier poems characterizes the Cantate . Like Racine and Mallarm6, Valery has a special, limited poetic vocabulary which he uses to full advantage. The problem of lighting and the chiaroscuro effect utilized by Valery have been discussed with respect to each poem. I have alluded to its presence in the Cantate in the discussion of stage lighting. The antithesis of dark/light is an important part of the poetry, but in some respects it is not as effective as it was earlier. The line "Au noir serment repond le clair aveu," for instance, seems too facile . Somewhat less forced is: "Ma Fontaine lucide, ils n'ont qu ' un fleuve obscur/Pour temoin t^ne'breux de leur toute-puissance. . . . " Much more subtle and accomplished are the Nymph's lines: Vous n'aimiez que de 1'onde et je suis certitude. Ma presence n'est point captive d'un miroir; Je suis mieux que lumiere et ne meurs point le soir Meme, au coeur de la nuit, je vous ferai connaitre Plus ardement qu ' au jour tout le feu de mon etre: L'exces de ma tendresse aux tenebres se tient. (Sc. Ill, p. 409)

PAGE 215

209 Greater simplicity than is usually found in Val£ry's work was necessary to assure the possibility of success for this musical drama. Lines difficult to interpret because of complicated syntax would, have slowed the work down unbearably. As it is, the balance is a delicate one which Valgry may have tipped unfavorably with some of the longer recitatives where it is important to hear each word but probably difficult without straining especially if the audience is unfamiliar with the libretto. Of course, the fact that Valery insisted on the music following the diction of the verse so closely would help considerably in promoting comprehension. Relief is afforded also by a number of short, beautiful arias and refrains and by some simple special effects which allow the audience to continue to contemplate a preceding serious passage. Earlier, in the discussion of the Cantate as a Symbolist drama, I pointed out how the Nymphs echo one another and how Narcissus later uses exactly the same vocabulary. In terms of poetic theory this repetition reflects Valery ' s continued concern with the necessity for "enchainement . " In practical terms it functions to keep the mood and key motifs before the audience when they might otherwise be oscured by a long monologue. Another kind of direct echo is used effectively. Two examples follow from Scene II:

PAGE 216

210 Les Nymphes Narcisse, Narcisse... L'Echo Cisse, Cisse. Les Nymphes D6f igure , Desespgrg ! . . . L'Echo Re\ . . Re\ . The first is particularly evocative. "Cisse" is a botanical term, and it means "vigne vierge," a possible subtle reference to Narcissus' imminent metamorphosis. It is very close in sound to "cesse." Narcissus asks "Que me veulent ces voix?" and the same echo is repeated again. The Nymphs, of course, want him to cease loving himself and to love them instead. The syllable "ReV which is also a musical note, means repetition. It personifies Echo. The most important of these special effects requires special analysis because it enhances both the symbolism of the work and its liturgical aspects. In the poem "Narcisse parle," there was the subtle suggestion of Narcissus' transformation into a flower, but the flower referred to in the poem was a lily. The poem began "0 Frdres, tristes lys ..." and other lines of the poem were tied to this opening. Isn't the same flower meant to

PAGE 217

211 be suggested aurally at the end of the C antate by the sound of the word "delice" which sounds the same as "des lys"? This idea can be supported in a number of ways. In the first place, it should be pointed out that the word "d§lice" is used earlier in the cantata. The Nymphs use it as they continue to bemoan the fact that they do not know the transports of love and to suggest their desire to be loved by Narcissus: "Amour, Amour sans fruit sans espoir de dglice (Sc. I, p. 406). Narcissus uses it, too, as he experiences the exquisite pleasure of beholding the eyes of the image he loves: "Par tes yeux , dans mes yeux, devices de nos yeux" (Sc. II, p. 407) The word "Delice" in the finale is still related to Narcissus, love and desire. At the end of scene six, a moment before he disappears, Narcissus sings: Mais je vois dans vos yeux Des larmes Que j'aime encore mieux... En vain, dans leur fauve demeure, Les sombres Maitres de l'Azur Ont voulu que Narcisse meure Si son orgueil se garde pur; En vain parlent-ils par la foudre, Menacent-ils de le dissoudre, De le r£duire a quelque fleur, Ce destin ne sera des pires Si quelquefois tu me respires; L'ombre odorante espere un pleur... (Sc. VI, p. 419-20). Knowing that as she breathes the perfume of the flower he will become, she will go on loving him and mourning him

PAGE 218

212 with her tears gives Narcissus a kind of immortality which he sees as a victory over the gods. The Nymph of the final scene is also transported and haunted by the perfume of the flower. The passage keeps our mind on the absent Narcissus in every possible way. The "d61ice' of the ending evokes the metamorphosed Narcissus: Quel parfum trop subtil m'ggare vers les bois? II fait battre mon coeur; il fait trembler ma voix. . . D61ice, d§lice. . . CHOEUR D61 ice Etc. (Sc. VII, p. 421) A further indication that "delice" is meant to evoke "lys" is related to the incense quality of the scent which I discussed earlier in reference to the liturgical implications. In 1890 Valery wrote a minor sonnet entitled "Fleur mystique." Recognizing that it is an exaggerated example of the point being made here concerning the incense quality, the liturgical effect, and the evocative power of the lily according to Valery, I quote it in full without further comment. Lys mystique! Elle avait la ferveur des Elus Et Vierge! Elle adorait les pieds calmes des Vierges; Dans 1 ' etincellement des ne'taux et des cierges, Sa voix douce tintait comme un doux Angelus.

PAGE 219

213 Une couleur de lune ondulait sous son voile. Et , dans sa chair, semblaient fuir les reflets nacres Du petit jour luisant sur les vases sacres Aux messes du matin, vers la derniere etoile. Ses yeux etaient plus clairs que des astres naissants? Indicible parfum de cires et d'encens, Son vetement sentait la vieille sacristie! Et c'est en la voyant que le regret me vint De n'etre pas le Christ de ce reve Divin Car son visage pale etait comme une Hostie! 4 The finale of the cantata may be as richly symbolic as anything Valery has written. In terms of the drama, visually, it is true that he has left the stage empty. The main character is gone. Thoughts of him remain. This is not true of the "Fragments." Elizabeth Sewell says: They say poetry is compact of images but here Valery goes one further, for his image of the end of life and thought is an absence of an image. In Valery' s mirror there is no spectre, no form of death, angelic or sepulchral. There is only a darkened stretch of water, the pool untenanted, the mirror dead and one holds one's breath a moment. " While there is an absence of image at the end of the "Fragments," this is not true for "Narcisse parle." It is only partially true for the Cantate. At the end of "Narcisse parle," there are tears and the suggestion of a flower. At the end of the Ca ntate du Narcisse , Narcissus is absent, and the flower is absent too but it

PAGE 220

214 is strongly suggested by the perfume and the word "Delice." Tears are hoped for "L' ombre odorante espe"re un pleur ..." What does remain is a single star: "Un astre qui s'y mire est seul a trahir l'Onde." A detailed study of images of flowers, stars, and tears should be made because Vale'ry's poetry is so rich in them. The flower of the Cantate may symbolize pure thought. The tears often symbolize poems as they seemed to at the end of "Narcisse parle." The reason for the star may be more complicated. Val^ry conceived of a third Narcissus poem. He describes the projected work in the following passage written in 1926. Mon intention f ut , il y a quelques ann^es, de publier un recueil de mes divers Narcisse, et d'en faire un livre aussi beau par la forme et par la substance que ce miserable adolescent croyait de l'etre. J'aurais 6crit pour cet ouvrage une oil diverses pages ou j'aurais explique' ma metaphysique de ce mythe; je veux dire quelque id£e abstraite que j ' en ai , qui ne paralt point dans ces vers et n'y peut paraitre et qui m'est venue en les faisant. Mais 1 ' achievement du troisi£me de ces podmes e'tait suppose 1 par ce dessein. Quoique j'ai ^bauch^ cette fin, oil l'on eut vu la nuit tomb£e sur la fontaine, 1 ' image adoree abolie, et , 3. sa place, tout le ciel gtoile reflate' par 1 ' eau tgngbreuse ; toutefois je n ' en viendrai jamais a bout, car le loisir, 1 ' humeur , les forces, la patience manquent et manqueront , c ' est pourquoi je n'ai pas interdit & quelques personnes de faire imprimer cet ensemble imparfait. ° (My emphasis) .

PAGE 221

215 Finally, in 1938 he wrote the Cantate du Narcisse . He maintained in the Avis, however, that this work was different from the others implying that it was not the projected third work, and no critic seems to think it is. Most of the last scene was added after the 1941 edition to enhance the poetry of the work. The single star which does not appear in the early versions may be a subtle admission by Valery that the Canta te is more important than he had indicated at first even though it is not the third poem he originally planned. A significant aspect of the importance of the Cantate lies in the fact that examination of it adds to our knowledge of Valgry's poetic theory. Primarily, it reinforces basic concepts which have been introduced in the first two chapters. For instance, Val£ry's approach to theater which involves solving problems and aims at producing certain calculated effects re-emphasizes his poetic method which is to take up poetry as a serious exercise in which he poses difficult problems for himself. The consequence is that he exercises the mind and increases poetic effects as he intends. Also, his effort to purify the drama by stylizing the action so that it would be in harmony with the poetry corresponds to his theory of pure poetry. Writing still another variation on the Narcissus theme accentuates his theory that the poet can spend his

PAGE 222

216 lifetime successfully rewriting the same poem because it is the poetry and the labor of poetry which are fundamental. In addition, his abiding attention to the beautiful details of poetry is clearly visible in the text of the Cantata where chiseled alexandrines blend with simple but artful lines of varied length, and alliteration, simile, antithesis, etc. are carefully employed. The important role of language in poetry and the poet's duty to work on it are underlined by his careful choice of vocabulary and the suggestive, evocative effects he is able to produce by means of word echoes. Furthermore, he continues to apply his theory of "enchainement . " Finally, his ability to recast motifs from Ovid's Metamorphoses reconfirms his poetic power and versatility. While it is essential not to praise the Cantate excessively, nor to make it seem more important than it is, it is necessary to realize that it is a viable theatrical expression of Val6ry's most important myth. Though poetically successful, it does not have the concentrated proliferation of poetic conventions evidenced in the "Fragments." For example, many of its comparisons are much simpler: "II est souple comme une palme," and "Tout mon corps prend le vol d'une fleche qui plonge." On the other hand, the alliteration is no less beautiful. Furthermore, there is a beauty and simplicity in many of the exchanges between the Nymph and Narcissus which are

PAGE 223

217 reminiscent of Racine: Le Narcisse Je suis seul . Je suis moi. Je suis vrai. Je vous hais. La Premiere Nymph Et si je m'essayais d'etre plus que vous-meme D'etre toi plus que toi, mieux que toi, moi qui t'aime (Sc. Ill, 410). There is great simplicity and poignancy in lines like: Voici pour vous le dernier jour du monde Oil rien de pur ne pare qu'un moment ... (Sc . VI, 420). The attack of the nymphs is an attack of sounds as well as a physical assault. The lines approach onomotopoeia : Chacune son lambeau! . . . Frappe, griff e, cogne!... Et tords et mords et crache Fouette, cingle, pince!... Entame, ecorche, arrache.. The poetry is the most important element of the work. The music and the drama are meant to serve the aims of poetry, and Val^ry approaches theater as he does poetry. The work is an exercise, but it is a reasonably successful exercise having dramatic possibilities often overlooked. Like Val^ry's major poems, La Jeune Parque , "Le Cimetiere marin" and the "Fragments du Narcisse," it is a variation on the theme of the tension evoked in the mind considering the desire for pure contemplation or the will to action. Narcissus is tempted by the Nymph, but he remains pure and uncorrupted, preferring the infinite

PAGE 224

218 possibilities of his own self since he is aware of the inevitable imperfection of action, expressed here as love for another. Valery has, in a sense, come full circle v/ith the Cantate and reverted to his early heritage: Symbolism, but it is a mature, often original Symbolism, tempered by his strong classical aims.

PAGE 225

NOTES -•-The Cantate du Narcisse appears in 0, I, 403-421. All references will be listed by scene and page. ^Ailene Corry Arensbach, The Theatre of Paul Val£ry (Dissertation: Emory University, 1971), p. 92. 3 "L'Id6e fixe," for example, first produced in January 1966, was staged with great success. 4 Suhami, p. 117. She does not have these difficulties v/ith Amp hi on or Sgrnirami s . ^Stanislas Fumet , "La 'Cantate du Narcisse' de Paul Val6ry," Arts , 212 (avril 1949), 2. "Frederic Robert. "Valdry et ses musiciens," Europe , v. 49, no. 507 (1971), 10] -110. Lettres a quelques-uns , pp. 62-63. Honegger was also music composer for S£miramis . ^This group of musicians consisted of Honegger, Milhaud, Poulenc, Durey, and Auric, in addition to Tailleferre. The name "Les Six" came from a critic's comparison with the more famous Russian Five. 10 Robert, p. 108 -^Robert, p. 109. 12 Robert, p. 109. 13 Robert, p. 109. l^This important essay on Val6ry's theater concepts is found in 0, I, 1277-1283. is „ "Notes sur un tragique et une tragedie" in Lucien Fabre, Dieu est innocent (Paris: Nagel , 1946), p. XII. 6 Arensbach, p. 62. -^Arensbach, p. 65. 18 Francis Scarf e, The Art of Paul Valgry (Kingswood Windmill Press, 1954), p. 295. 219

PAGE 226

220 l^Arensbach, p. 89, 20 Arensbach, p. 89-90. 2 ^-Arensbach , p. 90. 22 Arensbach, p. 90. 23 Lettres §. quelques-uns , p. 210. 24 Huguette Laurent i, Paul Valgry et le theatre (Paris: Gallimard, 1973). ~ "' 25 Scarfe, p. 290. 26 Paraphrased from "Histoire d'Amphion," 0, II, 1282. 27 See for example, the essay "Le prince et la Jeune Parque," 0, I, 1491-96. 28 Laurenti, p. 124. 29 Arensbach, p. 92. Reference is also made to the Corneille-like combination of alexandrines with other meters. 30 But Mallarme's idea of theater-Mass was ultimately linked to his theory of the "universal Book." 31 For a helpful introduction to Valgry's interest in Wagner, see Laurenti, especially chapter 2, pp. 47-66. 32 Anna Balakian, The Symbolist Movement, A Critical A ppraisal (New York: Random House, 1967), p. 124. 33, (alakian, p. 126. 34 0vid mentions Nemesis, the Rhamnusian goddess of righteous anger, line 406. 35 There are other motifs which are reminiscent of the approach of the Middle Ages to the Narcissus myth the Rose, for example. 36 Dufford also mentions the Promethean character of Narcissus, p. 71. 37 Arensbach sees as the model for this scene the "Dance of the Furies" in the second act of Gluck's Orphee et Eurvdice.

PAGE 227

221 38 A few "chevilles" for example. 39 Michel Decaudin in "Narcisse: une sorte d'autobiographie poetique" p. 55, states, incorrectly, that Valery chose as epigraph two lines of the first fragment . 40 Walter von Wartburg, Franzosishes etymologisches worterbuch (Tubingen: Mohr , 1949), v. 2, p. 715. 41 Correspondance Valery-Fourment , p. 215. The poem was first published in Bulletin de 1 ' Association des etudiants no. 34 (1891), 321. 42 Elizabeth Sewell , Paul Valery, The Mind in the Mirror (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1952), p. 25. 43 Cf. Mallarme, the "sonnet en-yx." 44 Recall Val6ry's lines in the "Fragments;" "Voir/ sur mon front l'orage et les feux d'un secret,/ Voir, 6 merveille, voir ma bouche nuancee/ Trahir... peindre sur l'onde une fleur de pensee." 45 Quoted in 0, I, 1672 from Etudes pour Narcisse , la Note sur 'Narcisse' a Monsieur Julien P. Monod, dated 17 May 1926.

PAGE 228

CONCLUSION The purpose of this study was to arrive at a synthesis of Valery's poetic theory by means of his three major Narcissus works. There is no one doctrine in which Valery expresses his poetics. Valery has written no single book on the subject. The problem of how to seize, present, and articulate the essentials of an unsystematized poetic theory which appears here and there in essays, letters, lectures, and aphorisms, as well as in the Cahiers and the poems themselves, is a difficult one to solve. Close examination of the Narcissus poems and their variants which cover about fifty years of Valery's poetic career were used as a means to this end. Study of the poems, correlated with a number of Valery's statements on the art of poetry, reveals a surprisingly self-consistent, homogeneous body of ideas and leads to a clearer understanding of the major tenets of Valery's poetic theory by uncovering and underscoring the major tendencies and practices of his art. Generally indifferent to his public, detached from any need to please anyone but himself, Valery was a poet who indulged in a constant dialogue with himself about poetry. His poetic theory was centered on considerations about the poet creating poetry, as he indicated: "Mes 222

PAGE 229

223 vers n'ont eu pour moi d' autre interet direct que de me suggerer bien des reflexions sur le poete . " His study of poetic creation was, on the whole, quite independent from historical and critical considerations. Valery searched his own mind for the truth of any issue rather than looking outward. Even in the early imitative period, his theory of poetry was self-reflective, hyper-conscious, and personal. His is a rational description of the poetic act with poetry treated almost as a laboratory experiment. He was a constant critic of naive conceptions of inspiration, and he emphatically insisted on the deliberate, calculated aspects of poetic composition . The Narcissus poems are a firm expression of his conviction that there is a multiplicity of angles from which the poet, through his imagery and by conscious effort, can approach the same theme, thereby learning more about the creative act and the workings of the mind. His system of rewriting and revising, clearly evidenced by examination of the Narcissus works, proves that poetry for him was a long labor in which the poet attempted to utilize his full conscious powers and all the tools of his poetic trade. Right from the outset when Valery used a fixed form, the sonnet, for the earliest versions of "Narcisse parle" it was obvious that artistic discipline was a major tenet of his poetic canon. The version of "Narcisse parle" written for

PAGE 230

224 La Conque is imitative. The poems and poetic, aims of Mallarme have been a model. The techniques and theories of Poe were put into practice. Mallarme inspired in Valery a thirst for pure, absolute poetry and, in the early period, a faith in the poet's superhuman power to celebrate, understand, and communicate the mysteries of the universe. As Judith Robinson points out, Mallarme made him aware that poetry at its finest can create a self-sufficient language of its own in which a very high degree of purity and precision is perfectly compatible with a mysterious and haunting magic. 2 In Poe, Valery saw that the power of the intellect could reduce poetry to a scientific maneuver of the sensibility and perception so that calculated poetic effects might be obtained. Specific details adhered to at first and made part of his poetic theory were rejected later such as the theory that the poem must not be more than one hundred lines long. He retained Poe ' s dictum to use alliteration and repetition for maximum effect and studied and experimented on the concept which makes the last line of the poem the most important of all. Having examined in detail the differences between the 1890 version of "Narcisse parle," the new version for the Album de vers anciens and the incorporation of similar motifs and vocabulary for both the "Fragments" and the Cantate , it is obvious that the poet labors and experiments, that he constantly seeks technical improvements by working on language, by aiming at more careful control of imagery,

PAGE 231

225 even hesitating over the choice of a preposition or a period. Each expression of the myth shows the same attention to the beautiful details of poetry. Two of Valery's most important poetic theories: pure poetry and the concept of "enchainement" were clarified by observation and analysis of them in the "Fragments." While "Narcisse parle" was an expression of Symbolist poetics, the "Fragments" demonstrated Valery's classical aims, and the Cant ate is an effective combination of the two tendencies. For Valery, artistic creation involved setting limits, never allowing himself unrestrained freedom. As a poet and a dramatist, he posed difficult technical problems for himself. He moved from form to content. Rhyme engenders an idea. The rhyme is not forced to adapt to a preconceived thought. It is the poet's conscious and artful use of all of the conventions and rhetorical devices of poetry which creates the poetic universe. Valery comes back to this often repeated idea in a lecture given in Brussels in 1942: La poesie va consister a s'ecarter du langage ordinaire et a faire profiter un discours en vers, par exemple, des ressources qui sont generalement negligees dans 1 'usage pratique de la langue. Nous voyons alors intervenir le rythme, les sonorites, les timbres de la langue, les alliterations, les consonances , ^etc . , etc., et puis, d' autre part, du cote signif icatif , vous trouverez alors toute cette broderie d' images, de metaphores, de comparaisons, qui feront que le discours ne ressemblera bientot plus a

PAGE 232

226 un discours ordinaire. Tout le monde saura, en constatant que la musique est introduite, qu'on se trouve dans un autre monde, le monde de la po£sie. J The poet speculates on sound and sense, researching the effects of language as he creates and revises his poem. He seeks a refined, disciplined poetic language but being sensitive to the language of poetry he realizes that "1' ambiguity est le domaine propre de la po£sie."' This does not result in obscurity for the sake of obscurity nor intentional vagueness. It is an awareness of the complexity and plurality of association which is latent in a perfected poetic language which is essential for pure poetry Val£ry realized that to discover and recreate the music of poetry required a long process of research into the sounds of syllables, the meanings of words and word phrases and their combinations. His interest in diction and the rhythm of verse resulting in the combination of poetry and music in the Cantate was a part of this serious research on language. While Valery was no longer at the height of his poetic career when he wrote the Cantate , there was no serious poetic decline. The same attitudes toward theory prevail. Poetry is still seen as a serious intellectual exercise. A poem is never finished. Multiple solutions are always possible and should be attempted. Valery was always concerned with the poem for the poem's sake. He was wary of its discursive possibilities.

PAGE 233

227 He avoided, as much as possible, the narrative, the didactic, and the philosophical since these elements allow the ready reduction of poetry to a prose statement, and this is inimical to the ideal of pure poetry. Through the Narcissus poems, Val£ry has found a way to reconcile the struggle between his intense lyrical strain and his preferred rational side. He revitalizes the Narcissus myth so that the conflict between being and knowing is given full artistic expression. The intellectualization of the myth makes it a superior vehicle for focusing on the beauty of the body, the acute awareness of the senses, and the intensity of the emotions while, on another level, he is able to convey the highly conscious, highly critical operations of the mind. The Narcissus myth is symbolically suited to express the artist's dialogue with himself. The cumulative impression which the Narcissus poems produce about Valery's poetic theory is one of unity and continuity. Valery's characteristic tone and his fundamental poetic preoccupations remained unaltered over the fifty year period. His practice and his theory were consistent. Consciousness was the fundamental element in Valery's idea of the poetic process. This was expressed figuratively and literally by his use of the Narcissus myth. Functioning as a poetic autobiography of his development, the Narcissus poems present Valery continuously seeking to perfect his craft through concentration

PAGE 234

228 and effort, refining his poetic techniques, working on language, aiming at precision, always revising and improving. He always maintained that poetry only interested him to the extent in which it urged the mind to transformations. He sought: La force de plier le verbe commun a des fins imprevues sans rompre les "formes consacrees," la capture et la reduction des choses difficiles a dire; et surtout, la conduite simultanee de la syntaxe, de 1'harmonie et des idees (qui est le probleme de la plus pure poesie), sont a mes yeux les objets supremes de notre art (0, I, 1500). His theory of poetry was personal, based on his own practices and speculations. It was a looking inward, totally in line with his broader intellectual preoccupations with the mind and its potential. The close examination of the Narcissus poems has demonstrated that Valery ' s poetic theory was not a dogmatic system, but a never ending search, that he preferred to explore rather than assert, to test rather than affirm.

PAGE 235

2'29 NOTES -*Lettres | quelques-un s . p . 159. 2 Judith Robinson, "The Place: of Literary and Artistic Creation in Valery's Thought," Modern Language Review, 56 (1961), 504. ^Paul Val^ry, Souvenirs poetiq ues (Paris: Guy le Prat, 1947), pp. 37-38. 4 Cahiers, VI, p. 343

PAGE 236

BIBLIOGRAPHY Editions and Works Cited Catalogue de Fonds speciaux de la Bibliotheque litteraire Jacques Doucet . Fonds Valery . Boston: O.K. Hall, 1972. Correspondance d ' Andr6 Gide et de Paul Valery, 1890-1942 . Preface et Notes par Robert Mallet. Paris: Gallimard, 1957. Correspondance de Paul Valery et de Gustave Fourment , 1888 1933 , ed. Octave Nadal. Paris: Gallimard, 1957. Valgry, Paul. Cahiers . 29 vols. Paris: Centre national de la recherche scient if ique , 1957-61. Lettres a quelques-uns. Paris: Gallimard, 1952. 'Notes sur un tragique et une tragedie" in Lucien Fabre. Dieu est Innocent . Paris: Nagel, 1946, vii-xvi. OEuvres. ed . Jean Hytier, 2 vols. Bibliotheque de la Pl§iade. Paris: Gallimard, 1956, 1960. . Souvenirs poetiques . Recueillis par un auditeur au cours d ' une conference prononcee a Bruxelles le 9 Janvier 1942. Paris: Guy le Prat, 1947. Works Consulted Aigrisse, Gilberte. Psychanalyse de Paul Valer y. Paris: Editions universitaires de France, 1964. "Une Manie?re de narcissisme" in Les Critiques de notre temps et Valery . Paris: Gamier, 1971, pp. 119-132. Alain. Charmes, podmes de Paul Valgry commented par Alain . Paris: Gallimard, 1952. Albouy, Pierre. "Les Mythes de la connaissance . " Mythes et mythologies dans la littgrature franca ises . Paris: A. Colin, 1969, pp. 173-201. 230

PAGE 237

23: Arensbach, Ailene Corry. The Theatre of Paul Valery . Dissertation: Emory University, 1971. Bachelard, Gaston. L'Eau et les reves . E ssai sur 1 ' imagination de la matiere . Paris: J. Corti, 1942. Balakian, Anna. The Symbolist Movement., a Critica l Appraisal . New York: Random House, 1967. Bellemin-Noel . Jean. "En Marge des premiers 'Narcisse' de Valery: l'enjeu et le hors-jeu du texte." Revue d'Histoire Litteraire de la France , no. 5-6 (1972), 975-991. Bastet, Ned. La Symbol ique des images dans l'oeuvre pogtique de Valery . Aix-en-Provence: La PensSe universitaire , 1962. Bergeron, Leandre. Le Son et le sens dans quelques poemes de "Charmes" de Paul Val£ry . Aix-en-Provence: Editions Ophrys, 1963. Berlioz, Hector. Gluck and his Operas . London: New Temple Press, 1914. BerneJoffroy, Andre. Presence de Valery, precede de "Propos me concernanf' par Paul Valery . Paris: Plon, 1944. Bremond, Henri. La Pogsie pure . Paris: Grasset , 1926. . Racine et Valery . Paris: Grasset, 1930. Cain, Lucienne Julien. Trois Essais sur Paul Valgr y. Paris: Gallimard, 1958. Chaillet, Jean. "Paul Valery: Le finale de Narcisse" in Etudes de grammaire et de style . v. 2. Paris: Bordas, 1969, pp. 288-301. Charpier, Jacques. E ssai sur Paul Valery . Paris: Pierre Seghers, 1956. Chiari, Joseph. Symbolisme from Poe to Mallarme, the Growth of a Myth . London: Rockliff, 1956. Cledat, Leon. Dictionn ai re etymologique de la langue f ranqaise . Paris: Hachette, 1913. Crow, Christine. Paul Valery, Consciousness & Nature . Cambridge: University Press, 1972.

PAGE 238

232 Decaudin, Michel. "Narcisse: une sorte d ' autobiographie poetique." L ' Information Litteraire . VIII (1956), 49-55. De r c he , Ro 1 an d . Quatre Mythes poetiques (OEdipe-NarcissePsyc he-Lorelei ) , Paris: Societe d' Edition d ' Enseignement Superieur, 1962. Duchesne-C-uillemin, Jacques. Etude de "Charmes" de Paul Valery. Bruxellesl Ecran du Monde, 1947 . Dufford, Lestor. The Myth of Narcissus in the Works of Paul Valery . Dissertation: Florida State University, 1970. Eliot, Thomas Sterns. From Poe to Valery . New York Harcourt, Brace & Co . , 1948. Fortassier, Pierre. "Le Thdme de Narcisse." Europe , 49 (1971), 49-60. Fowlie, Wallace. Climate of Violence, The French Literary Tradition from Baudelaire to the Present . New York MacMillan Co. , 1967. Furnet , Stanislas. "La 'Cantate du Narcisse' de Paul Valery." Arts , 212 (1949), 2. Genette, Gerard. "Narcisse baroque." La Nouvelle Rev ue Fra n caise , 9 (1961), 558-564. Gerstel, Eva-Maria. "The Creative Process in Two Early Manuscripts of Paul Valery' s 'Fragments du Narcisse.'" Symposium , 23 (1969), 16-37. Gide, Andre. Roman, recits et soties, oeuvres lyriques . Notice et Bibliographies par Yvonne Davet et Jean-Jacques Thierry. Bibliothdque de la Pleiade. Paris: Gallimard, 1958. Goldin, Frederic. The Mirror of Narcissus in the Courtly Love Lyric . New York: Cornell University Press, 1967. Goth, Maja. "The Myth of Narcissus in the Works of Rilke and of Valery." Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature , 9 (1966), 12-20. Grubbs, Henry A. Paul Valery . New York: Twayne Publishers, 1968.

PAGE 239

233 Guirard, Pierre. Lang-age et versification d'apres l'oe uvre de Paul Valery . Paris: C. Klincksieck, 1953. Hahn , Otto. "Le Naufrage de Narcisse." L' Express , 736 (1965), 44-46. Hamilton, Edith. Mytholog y. New York: Mentor Books, 1957. Hartman, Geoffrey H. The Unmediated Vision: An Interpretation of Wordsworth, Hopkins, Rilke, and Valery . New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1966. Henry, Albert. Langage et po£sie chez Paul Valery . Paris: Mercure de France, 1952. Highet, Gilbert. The Classical Tradition. Greek an d Roman Influence on Western Thought . New York: Oxford University Press, 1957. Howard, Patricia. Gluck and the Birth of Modern Opera . New York: St. Martin's Press, 1963. Hughes, Daniel. Coleridge and Valery: An Essay in Modern Poetic s. Dissertation: Brown University, 1958. Hytier, Jean. "Formules val^ryennes . " Romanic Review , 47 (1956), 179-197. ~" La Poetique de Valery . Paris: A. Colin, 1970. Ince, Walter Newcomb. The Poetic Theory of Paul Valery . Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1961. Laurenti, Huguette. Paul Valery et le theatre . Paris: Gallimard, 1973. Laurette. Pierre. Le Th&me de l'arbre chez Paul Valery . Paris: C. Klincksieck, 1967. Lawler, James R. Lecture de Valery: une etude de " Charme s. " Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1963. Lefdvre, Frederic, E ntretiens avec Paul Valgry . Paris: Le Livre, 1926. Lehmann , Andrew George. Th e Symbolist Aesthetic in France 1885-18 95. Oxford: Blackwell, 1950. Littre, Emile. Dict ionnaire de la langue frangaise. . . . 4 vols. Paris: Hachette, 1873.

PAGE 240

23MacKay, Agnes Ethel. T he Universal Self, A Study of Paul Valery . Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1961. Mallarme, Stephane. OEuvres completes . Texte etabli et annote par Henri Monclor et G. Jean Aubry. Biblioth£que de la Pleiade. Paris: Gallimard, 1945. Mathews, Jackson. The Poletics of Paul Valery. Romanic Review , 46 (1955), 203-17. Michaud, Guy. Le Theme du miroir dans le symbol isme frangais." Cahiers de 1 ' Association International des Etudes Franchise , 11 (1959), 199-216. . Message poetique du symbolisme. Paris: Nizet, 1951. Michel, Pierre. "Paul Valery et le theme de Narcisse." L'Ecole (1951), 158. . Valgry , I. L'Ecrivain symboliste et hermetique . Paris: Foucher , n.d. Val6ry, II. L'Ecrivain classique , Paris: Foucher, n.d, Mondor, Henri. L' Heureuse Rencontre de Valery et Mallarme Lausanne: La Guilde du Livre, 1947. Prgcocite' de Vale'ry. Paris: Gallimard, 1957. Monestier, Robert. Paul Val6ry: "Charmes. " Paris: Larousse, 1958. Mo s sop , D.J. Pure Poetry, Studies in French Poetic Theory and Practice 1746 to 1945 . Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971. Nadal , Octave. A Mesure haute . Paris: Mercure de France, 1964. Nicholas, Henry. Mallarme et le symbolisme . Paris: Larousse, 1965. Noulet, Emilie. Paul Valery, etudes . Bruxelles: La Renaissance du livre, 1950. Ovid. M etamorphoses . Edited by William S. Anderson. 2 vols. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972.

PAGE 241

235 Parent, Monique. Coherence e t resonance dans le style de "Charmes" de Paul Vale ry. Paris: C. Klincksieck , 1970. Paul Valgry vivant . Marseille: Cahiers du Sud, 1946. Pieltain, Paul. "Metamorphose d'un fragment du ' Narcisse' de Paul Val£ry. Cahiers d ' Analyse Textuelle , 4(1962), 29-37. Rank, Otto. The Double. A Psychoanalytic Study . Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1971. Raymond, Marcel. Paul Valdry et la tentation de 1' esprit . Neuchatel: La Baconnidre, 1964. Robert, Fr6d£ric. "Val6ry et ses musiciens." Europe , 49 (1971), 101-110. Robinson, Judith. L' A n alyse de 1 ' esprit dans les Cahiers de Valgry . Paris: J. Corti, 1963. . "The Place of Literary and Artistic Creation in Val£ry's Thought." Modern Language Review , 56 (1961), 497-514. Scarf e, Francis. The Art of Paul Valgry, a Study in Dramatic Monologue . London: Heinemann, 1954. Schnare, Dorothy. Water Symbolism in Valery 's "Charmes" M.A. Thesis: University of Florida", 1972. Sewell, Elizabeth. Paul Valgry, the Mind in the Mirror . New Haven: Yale University Pres, 1952. Seyffert, Oskar. Dictionary of Classical Antiquities . New York: Meridian Books, 1958. Shaw, Priscilla Washburn. Rilke, Valery and Yeats, the Domain of the Self . New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1964. Soulairol, Jean. Paul Valery . Paris: La Colombe, 1952. Suhami , Evelyne. Paul Valgry et ia musique . Dakar: Universite de Dakar, 1965. Thibaudet, Albert. Paul Valer y. Paris: Grasset , 1923. Upton, George. Th e Standard Cantatas . Chicago. McClurg and Co. , 1893.

PAGE 242

23 Vinge, Louise. T he Narcissus Theme in We stern European Li terature up t o th e Early 19th Century . Lund: Gleerups, 1967. Walzer, Pierre, La Poesie de Val£ry . Geneve: Slatkine reprints, 1966. Wart burg, Walter, von. Franzosiches etymologishes worterbuch . Tubingen: Mohr, 1949. Whiting, Charles G. Valery, jeune poete . New Haven: Yale University Press, 1960.

PAGE 243

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Dorothy Hopkins Schnare was born June 26, 1938, in Berlin, New Hampshire. She graduated from Berlin High School with highest honors in 1956 and from the University of New Hampshire cum laude in 1960, with a B.A. in French. For two years, 1964-66, she taught English and was school librarian at St. James Major High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. She also attended Louisiana State University in New Orleans. In 1969, she entered graduate school at the University of Florida with a teaching assistantship in French, Since receiving her M.A. in March, 1972, she has continued her studies toward the Ph.D. supported, in part, by an NDEA fellowship. She is a member of the American Association of Teachers of French, the Modern Language Association and the South Atlantic Modern Language Association. She is married to Dr. Paul S. Schnare of the Department of Mathematics of Colby College. She is the mother of three sons, Sigmund, Col and Kurt (deceased). 237

PAGE 244

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. /f .W& -^ C Raymond Gay-Crosier, Chairman Professor of Romance Languages I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. AuwKj W..tc Albert B. Smith Associate Professor of Romance Languages I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Herman E. Spivey / Professor of English This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Romance Languages in the College of Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate Council, and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. August, 1974 Dean, Graduate School

PAGE 245

s • , I UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 3 1262 08666 227 6