(March 4, 1876 - November 24, 1947) France
Léon-Paul Fargue was born in Paris, France on rue Coquilliére. As a poet he was noted for his poetry of atmosphere and detail. His work spanned numerous literary movements. Before he reached 19 years of age, Fargue had already published in L'Art littéraire in 1894 and his important poem Tancrède appeared in the magazine Pan in 1895.
From 1893 to 1895, he enjoyed a brief but intense relationship with his reputed literary collaborator, Alfred-Henry Jarry, the precursor of surrealism and credited with having invented the Theater of the Absurd, a fellow student at Henri IV. Though Jarry jested often about his homosexuality, this is his only known relationship, and it provided the material for his semiautobiographical play, Haldernablou (1894).
As an opponent of the surrealists, he became a member of the Symbolist poetry circle connected with Le Mercure de France . Rilke, Joyce and others declared that Fargue was at the very forefront of modern poetry. He was also a poet of Paris, and later in his career he published two books about the city, D'après Paris (1931) and Le piéton de Paris (1939). His earliest work is divided between Paris prowlings and intimate scenes of childhood and nature.
He was a great social lion in the literary scene of Paris in the 1920s and 30s. Walter Benjamin (who called Fargue "the greatest living poet in France") met him on a visit to the city in January 1930, and recounts an evening enlivened by charisma, wit, and incomparable storytelling. Fargue related to Benjamin the story of a dinner he held for Proust, his old friend, and James Joyce - the only time the two met.
He published a book of recollections about his friend, the composer Ravel. He was a member of the Apaches and remained a lifelong friend of Ravel. One of his poems, "Rêves", was set to music by Ravel in 1927.
He died 1947 in Paris and is buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse.
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