24 November 2016

Cimetière du Montparnasse (continued) #10: Charles Cros

Charles Cros (1842–88) was born in Fabrezan, Aude (3), where there is a tiny museum dedicated to him. In Paris he mixed in literary circles, such as Le Cercle des Poètes Zutistes, Les Vilains Bonhommes, and Les Hydropathes, and gave readings of his poetry at Le Chat Noir. His lover was the poet Nina de Villard, who inspired his most famous literary work, Le Coffret de santal (1873 and amplified 1879). In this collection is his most famous work, 'Le Hareng saur' ('The Smoked Herring'), which is both a poem for children and an attack on serious people: there are a few inventive examples of this on Youtube. Cros (esse pronounced) was an influence on the surrealists.

And inventive is the operative word for Cros, who is also remembered for his experiments with the telegraph, the photograph and the phonograph (or paleograph).

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