Tristan Corbiere

Tristan Corbiere (1845–1875) born Édouard-Joachim Corbiere, was a
French poet remarkable in his day for his realistic pictures of seafaring life,
and for his innovative use of irony and slang and the rhythms of common
speech. He was born in Coat-Congar, Ploujean, near Morlaix in Brittany,
where he lived most of his life and where he died. During his schooling at
the Imperial Lycée of Saint-Brieuc, where he studied from 1858 until 1860,
he fell prey to a deep depression, and, over several freezing winters, contracted
the rheumatism which was to disfigure him severely. He blamed his
parents for having placed him there, far from his family’s care and affection.
Difficulties in adapting to the harsh discipline of the college gradually
developed his characteristics of anarchic disdain and sarcasm, which were
to give much of his verse its distinctive voice. His work was little known
until Paul Verlaine included him in his gallery of poètes maudits, “accursed
poets”; but Verlaine’s recommendation was enough to get his work noticed
and established him as one of the masters acknowledged by the Symbolists.
His only published verse in his lifetime appeared in Les amours jaunes,
1873. Corbière died of tuberculosis at the age of 29.

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