Monique Allain-Castrillo
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The last of the great French symbolist poets, Paul Valéry had an apparently bourgeois life in a convulsive world struck by three wars: 1870-71 when he was born, 1914-18 the period in which he writes his best verses, and 1939-45, the year of his death, topped with a State funeral decreed by General de Gaulle, which was the first poetic "national rite" since Victor Hugo. He was always convinced that his life could have been "other", but fortunately for us, it was a life of "pure poetry". A "Dionysian man" in words of Moreno Villa, and "a geometric space of all contradictions" in his own words, his "obstinate" intellectual "rigor" (mostly coming from Ignacian and Juancruzanian roots) moved him to become passionate with the "mysticism" of science in his time. From Poincaré to Einstein, getting inspiration from electromagnetism and thermodynamics as models of mental function. Member of the French Academy and official poet of the Third French Republic, he chaired the organism that would later become the UNESCO, the Geneva League of Nations.
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