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The Muse Inspiring the Poet, portrait of Apollinaire by Henri Rousseau (1844-1910), 1909. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Guillaume Apollinaire
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Occupation Poet, Writer, Art critic

Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki, known as Guillaume Apollinaire (26 August 1880 - 9 November 1918) was a French poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and art critic.

Life Edit

Overview Edit

Among the foremost poets of the early 20th century, he is credited with coining the word Surrealism and writing an early work described as surrealist, the play The Breasts of Tiresias (1917, used as the basis for a 1947 opera). 2 years after being wounded in World War I, he died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 at age 38.

LifeEdit

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Youth and education Edit

Born Wilhelm Apolinary Kostrowicki in Rome, and raised speaking French, among other languages, he was a Russian subject.[1] His mother, born Angelika Kostrowicka, was a Polish noblewoman born near Navahrudak (now in Belarus). His maternal grandfather was a general in the Russian Imperial Army, killed in the Crimean War. Apollinaire's father is unknown but may have been Francesco Flugi d'Aspermont, a Swiss Italian aristocrat who disappeared early from Apollinaire's life.

Apollinaire was partly educated in Monaco.(Citation needed)

In his youth Apollinaire lived for a short while in Belgium, mastering the Walloon dialect sufficiently to write poetry through that medium, some of which has survived.

He emigrated to France in his late teens and adopted the name Guillaume Apollinaire.

Career Edit

Apollinaire eventually moved to Paris[2] and became one of the most popular members of the artistic community of Montparnasse in Paris. His friends and collaborators in that period included Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Max Jacob, André Salmon, Marie Laurencin, André Breton, André Derain, Faik Konica, Blaise Cendrars, Pierre Reverdy, Alexandra Exter, Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie, Ossip Zadkine, Marc Chagall, and Marcel Duchamp. In 1911, he joined the Puteaux Group, a branch of the cubist movement.

On 7 September 1911, police arrested and jailed him on suspicion of aiding and abetting the theft of the Mona Lisa and a number of Egyptian statuettes from the Louvre,[1] but released him a week later. These thefts were committed by a Russian friend to whom Apollinaire gave shelter, and Apollinaire voluntarily surrendered a number of stolen statuettes left behind by him. Apollinaire implicated his friend Pablo Picasso, who was also brought in for questioning in the theft of Mona Lisa, but he was also exonerated.[3] He once called for the Louvre to be burnt down. Apollinaire was active as a journalist and art critic for Matin, Intransigean, and Paris Journal.

He fought in World War I and, in 1916, received a serious shrapnel wound to the temple, which he would never fully recover from[2]. He wrote Les Mamelles de Tirésias while recovering from this wound. During this period he coined the word surrealism in the program notes for Jean Cocteau and Erik Satie's ballet Parade, first performed on 18 May 1917. He also published an artistic manifesto, L'Esprit nouveau et les poètes. Apollinaire's status as a literary critic is most famous and influential in his recognition of the Marquis de Sade, whose works were for a long time obscure, yet arising in popularity as an influence upon the Dada and Surrealist art movements going on in Montparnasse at the beginning of the twentieth century as, "The freest spirit that ever existed."

The war-weakened Apollinaire died in Paris of influenza during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918[2]. He was interred in the Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

WritingEdit

In 1900 he would write his first pornographic novel, Mirely, ou le petit trou pas cher, which was eventually lost.[2] Apollinaire's first collection of poetry was L'enchanteur pourrissant (1909), but Alcools (1913) established his reputation. The poems, influenced in part by the Symbolists, juxtapose the old and the new, combining traditional poetic forms with modern imagery. In 1913, Apollinaire published the essay Les Peintres cubistes on the cubist painters, a movement which he helped to define. He also coined the term orphism to describe a tendency towards absolute abstraction in the paintings of Robert Delaunay and others.

File:Guillaume Apollinaire Calligramme.JPG
File:La muse inspirant le poète.jpg
File:Tombe de Guillaume Apollinaire.JPG

In 1907, Apollinaire wrote the well-known erotic novel, The Eleven Thousand Rods (Les Onze Mille Verges).[4][5] Officially banned in France until 1970, various printings of it circulated widely for many years. Apollinaire never publicly acknowledged authorship of the novel. Another erotic novel attributed to him was The Exploits of a Young Don Juan (Les exploits d'un jeune Don Juan), in which the 15-year-old hero fathers 3 children with various members of his entourage, including his aunt.[6][7] The book was made into a movie in 1987.

Shortly after his death, Calligrammes, a collection of his concrete poetry (poetry in which typography and layout adds to the overall effect), and more orthodox (though still modernist) poems informed by Apollinaire's experiences in the First World War -- and in which he often used the technique of automatic writing -- was published.

PublicationsEdit

Poetry:Edit

  • Le bestiaire ou le cortège d’Orphée, 1911
  • Alcools, 1913
  • Vitam impendere amori', 1917
  • Calligrammes, poèmes de la paix et de la guerre 1913-1916, 1918 (published shortly after Apollinaire's death)
  • Il y a..., 1925
  • Julie ou la rose, 1927
  • Ombre de mon amour, poems addressed to Louise de Coligny-Châtillon, 1947
  • Poèmes secrets à Madeleine, pirated edition, 1949
  • Le Guetteur mélancolique, previously unpublished works, 1952
  • Poèmes à Lou, 1955
  • Soldes, previously unpublished works, 1985
  • Et moi aussi je suis peintre, album of drawings for Calligrammes, from a private collection, published 2006

Prose:Edit

  • Mirely ou le Petit Trou pas cher, 1900
  • "Que faire?",
  • Les Onze Mille Verges ou les amours d'un hospodar, 1907
  • L'enchanteur pourrissant, 1909
  • L'Hérèsiarque et Cie (short story collection), 1910
  • Les exploits d’un jeune Don Juan, 1911
  • La Rome des Borgia, 1914
  • La Fin de Babylone - L'Histoire romanesque 1/3, 1914
  • Les Trois Don Juan - L'Histoire romanesque 2/3, 1915
  • Le poète assassiné, 1916
  • La femme assise, 1920
  • Les Épingles (short story collection), 1928

Plays:Edit

  • Les Mamelles de Tirésias, play, 1917
  • La Bréhatine, screenplay (collaboration with André Billy), 1917
  • Couleurs du temps, 1918
  • Casanova, published 1952

Articles:

  • Le Théâtre Italien, illustrated encyclopedia, 1910
  • Pages d'histoire, chronique des grands siècles de France, chronicles, 1912
  • Méditations esthétiques. Les peintres cubistes, 1913
  • La Peinture moderne, 1913
  • L'Antitradition futuriste, manifeste synthèse, 1913
  • Case d'Armons, 1915
  • L'esprit nouveau et les poètes, 1918
  • Le Flâneur des Deux Rives, chronicles, 1918

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Apollinaire, Marcel Adéma, 1954
  • Apollinaire, Poet among the Painters, Francis Steegmuller, 1963, 1971, 1973
  • Apollinaire, M. Davies, 1964
  • Guillaume Apollinaire, S. Bates, 1967
  • Guillaume Apollinaire, P. Adéma, 1968
  • The Banquet Years, Roger Shattuck, 1968
  • Apollinaire, R. Couffignal, 1975
  • Guillaume Apollinaire, L.C. Breuning, 1980
  • Reading Apollinaire, T. Mathews, 1987
  • Guillaume Apollinaire, J. Grimm, 1993

NotesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Газетные "старости"(Архив)". Starosti.ru. 1907-01-09. http://starosti.ru/address_article.php?address=11gio. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 John Baxter (10 February 2009). Carnal Knowledge: Baxter's Concise Encyclopedia of Modern Sex. HarperCollins. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-06-087434-6. http://books.google.com/books?id=7qEG7CBOH_gC. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  3. Time Magazine, STEALING THE MONA LISA, 1911. Consulted on August 15, 2007.
  4. Patrick J. Kearney, A History of Erotic Literature, 1982, pp.163-4
  5. Karín Lesnik-Oberstein, The last taboo: women and body hair, Manchester University Press, 2006, ISBN 0719075009, p.94
  6. Neil Cornwell, The absurd in literature, Manchester University Press, 2006, ISBN 071907410X, pp.86-87
  7. Roger Shattuck, The banquet years: the arts in France, 1885-1918: Alfred Jarry, Henri Rousseau, Erik Satie, Guillaume Apollinaire, Doubleday, 1961, p.268

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