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Moral Tales


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About the Author

Jules Laforge (1860-1887) was a French poet born in Uruguay. He moved to France in 1866 to attend school. Beginning in 1881, he spent five years as French reader to the empress Augusta of Germany. He retired in 1886, returned to Paris and married, but soon after came down with tuberculosis and passed away in 1887. William Jay Smith, American poet and two-time finalist for the National Book Award, was the nineteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1968 to 1970.


"Mallarme defined the author of these `Moral Tales' as the Voltaire of Symbolism - a demystifier of the cultural bric-a-brac of the bourgeoisie, a dandyish demolition expert specializing in disenchantment. According to Ezra Pound (who translated one of these stories in 1918), Laforgue had delivered the coup de grace to the facile exoticism (and eroticism) of the 19th-century historical novel; in clearing out the residual rubbish of romanticism, he had prepared the way for modernist prose. " -- New York Times Book Review

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