21 June 2018

Germain Nouveau in Pourrières, Var (83)

5 rue Germain Nouveau, Pourrières, named after the poet who was born in the village in 1851 and who died here in 1920. He spent his childhood and adolescence in Marseilles and left for Paris in 1872. He met Mallarmé and Jean Richepin, frequented the zutistes, etc, and even, in 1874 – went to London (178 Stamford Street) with Rimbaud and helped with the manuscript of Les Illuminations. Aragon said he had a great influence on the surrealists, and considered him a great poet, equal to Rimbaud. In 1891, when teaching at the lycée Janson de Sailly, he was stricken by an attack of 'mystic madness' and was interned in the Hôpital Bicêtre for several months.  Much of his life, in fact, was spent as a kind of tramp, or pilgrim. He returned to Pourrières in 1911, where he died. Objecting to having his writings published in his lifetime, his work was essentially published posthumously.

This homage to Germain Nouveau was made by the sculptor Pierre Mathieu in 2008, and stands in the Place du château.

The village library is also named after Germain Nouveau.

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