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Handwritten receipt from Paul Verlaine (1891)

Handwritten receipt from Paul Verlaine (1891)

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In 1891, French poet Paul Verlaine receives a payment from his publisher.

  • Handwritten receipt from Paul Verlaine to his publisher.
  • One page.
  • In French.
  • 17.8 cm x 11.2 cm.
  • May 13, 1891, Paris.
  • Perfect state.
  • Unique piece.

May 13, 1891

Reçu 20 francs sur l'édition de la comédie “Les uns et les autres”, sur les 100 francs de la dite édition.

P. Verlaine

In 1891, Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), ill, led a life of misery, the poet's last years. He wandered around Paris between temporary accommodation and Parisian hospitals. There he welcomed his friends as if he were at home. To a journalist from the newspaper Le Figaro who visited him, he said (translated from French):

Poetry is a keyboard, the poet an artist. He can do everything by leaving the traditional routine, by breaking the old molds, taking new effects, inventing new chords, but if he hits randomly, or to the side, the rhythm disappears, the sound no longer exists, the imagination has surpassed the objective to be reached and we wallow in verses of seventeen, eighteen, twenty-four feet, with metaphors of undeniable boldness: there are the symbolists!

His tumultuous life and his passions make Verlaine an unusual character. With Rimbaud, Apollinaire, Baudelaire or Victor Hugo, he had a profound impact on 19th century French literature and remains an absolute reference. Of course, the chaotic love story he shared with Rimbaud contributed to the fame of the two "cursed" poets. Consequently, their autograph documents are highly sought after by collectors around the world and fetch astronomical values ​​at rare auctions.

In this small note in perfect condition, a payment receipt from his publisher, Verlaine mentions a work that became a play with twenty-one performances in Paris. Despite the period being turbulent - the poet suffered and drank a lot - the three handwritten lines and the signature are very legible and elegant. A detail that also caught my attention: the lines of colored pencils, blue and red. They were usually made by publishers' typographers to accompany published works, but I confess that I saw in this blue-white-red the colors of the French flag!

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