Paul Valéry

(3545 words)
  • Brian Stimpson (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

Through all the changing fashions of criticism, Paul Valéry increasingly emerges as the outstanding figure in French thought and writing during the first half of the twentieth century, his work so rich, his questions so challenging, his attempts to explore the nature of the human mind in all its inner and outer manifestations so probing, that it has taken many years to appreciate the true depth and searching modernity of his enterprise. In an age of growing specialisation, when subjects and genres were already becoming increasingly enclosed in hermetic boundaries, Valéry dared to look for the underlying principles at work across a whole range of human activity: in science, in philosophy, in literature, in politics, in …

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Stimpson, Brian. "Paul Valéry". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 June 2008
[, accessed 05 July 2015.]