Poetry. Translated & with an afterword by Gian Lombardo. Maurice de Guérin's "The Centaur" and "The Bacchante" represent two of the earliest examples of the prose poem. Both pieces are heavily centered in classical Greek mythology, and are deeply entrenched in the natural world. Each piece has its narrator relate in luscious, sustained and highly charged prose their life stories. And both narratives are inextricably wedded to the mountains, hills, valleys and sea. Written in the mid-1830s by de Guérin, these pieces serve as a contrast against Louis Bertrand's quick narrative sketches that many readers most often associate with the prose poem. De Guérin's pieces present an alternative approach wherein the suppleness and cadences of poetic potential of prose are realized in another, higher sense.
Born at the Chateau le Cayla in the countryside near Toulouse in 1810, Maurice de Guérin's writing was heavily influenced by nature. He was the younger brother of Eugénie, a writer noted for her journals and letters, who was a major influence and confidante. Maurice was raised a strict Catholic, and educated at a seminary in Toulouse. He studied at the College Stanislaus de Paris, where he met the novelist Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly. When he graduated in 1831 he lived in Brittany in a radical Christian society founded by de Lamennais. Two years later the society disbanded and de Guérin broke with Catholicism and moved to Paris. He fell ill and in 1839 died of tuberculosis at Le Cayla. Unpublished during his lifetime, George Sand published his prose poem "The Centaur"—the work he is most known for— and one of his poems in the Revue des Deux Mondes.Author City: ANDILLAC FRA