9 October 2011

The Monuments to Writers in Le Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France: Literary Île-de-France #10

The Stefan Zweig monument was erected in 2003 as a tribute to the Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer (1881–1942) who first traveled to France in 1902. 

Zweig killed himself in Petrópolis, Brazil.

The statues of Montesquieu and Étienne Pasquier aren't as clearly visible as the other statues. It may well be possible to see them close up, but it is by no means obvious, which is a pity.

Paul Verlaine's marble bust was sculpted by Auguste de Niederhausen Rodo, and the women emerging from the stone represent the three souls of Verlaine: the religious, the sensual, and the childlike. Oh, and that's a pigeon on his head. At least it's better than a traffic cone - see the Diderot post.

Jean-Antoine Injalbert's monument to the Belfort-born poet Gabriel Vicaire went up in the garden in 1902. He is perhaps best known for his collection Emaux Bressans (1884).

From a literary point of view, the composer Frédéric Chopin (1810—49) is of course most noted for his relationship with George Sand. Chopin's original cast iron bust was a victim of the World War II effort, In 1999, the Polish government — on the 150 anniversary of the composer's death, made a gift of this bust, which is a bronze replica of the original marble bust made by the sculptor Boleeshaw Syrewicz in 1872, which has been in the National Warsaw Museum since 1927.

This is a bronze and marble monument to José Maria de Heredia, a Parnassian poet of Cuban origin who took on French nationality in 1893. His single collection of poetry is Les Trophées, which consists of 118 sonnets. The monument was erected in 1925.

Sainte-Beuve's marble bust on a Lorraine stone plinth was erected in 1899, and is somewhat more flattering than the statue on his grave in the cemetery in Montparnasse.

The poet Louis Ratisbonne was a librarian at the Palais du Luxembourg, and the statue was erected in the gardens in 1911. It remembers his children's poems and fables, Comédie Enfantine (1860).

The Comptesse de Ségur (1799-1874) was a children's writer and of the 18 writers' monuments in the Jardin du Luxembourg, hers is only one two. She was of Russian descent.

Charles Baudelaire, whose monument was moved to a more frequented position in the park in 1966 to accord more with the greatness of the poet and the importance of the sculptor, Pierre Fixe-Masseux.

The quotation is the final verse from his poem 'Les Phares':

'Car c'est vraiment, Seigneur, le meilleur témoignage
Que nous puissions donner de notre dignité
Que cet ardent sanglot qui roule d'âge en âge
Et vient mourir au bord de votre éternité!'


I was so impressed by Laurent Marqueste's representation of Ferdinand Fabre, a novelist noted for his blend of French and Occitan, that I spent several minutes admiring it and taking photos of it. I didn't realize that a man had been watching my activities and was just bursting to tell me his piece of ironic Gallic observation: 'Monsieur, il a le droit de vous rendre hommage'. Lovely. Ah, the French.

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) was born in Rouen and died in Canteleu, a hamlet in Croisset. Jean-Baptiste Clesinger was responsible for this work, which was erected in 1922.

Stendhal (1783-1842) was born Henri Bayle in Grenoble, perhaps changing his name after Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the founder of modern archaeology, perhaps after his beloved Shetland(s), of which 'Stendhal' is an anagram.

'This bronze medallion representing Stendal, together with a simple plinth, was sculpted by Rodin from a drawing by the sculptor David d'Angers.'

George Sand (1804-76) is a pseudonym of d'Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin, and François-Léon Sicard sculpted this, which was erected in 1904.
'Inauguré en 1898, le monument à Leconte de Lisle, chef de file de l'Ecole parnassienne, représente une muse ailée enlaçant de ses bras le buste du poéte qui fut également bibliothéaire au Sénat.'

'Inaugurated in 1898, the monument dedicated to Leconte de Lisle, leader of the Parnassian school, represents a winged muse wrapping her arms around the bust of the poet, who was also a librarian of the Sénat.'

Théodore de Banville (1823-91) is another major Parnassian poet who was close to Hugo and Gaultier originally, and Rimbaud lodged with him between 1871 and 1872. The marble and bronze bust is by Jules Roulleau.
Henry Murger (1822-61) spent his youth among the 'Buveurs d'Eau' (Water Drinkers), a group of bohemian artists in the Latin Quarter, of whom Nadar was one. He gained fame for his 'Scènes de la vie bohème', in which he included representations of his friends.

Vassilis Alexakis: L'Enfant grec (2012)

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