Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, Auguste, count de

   Born in Saint-Brieuc, Auguste, count de Villiers de L'Isle-Adam was descended from an old and illustrious Breton family. Having a disdain for contemporary mores, he lived a precarious bohemian life in Paris and was a friend of charles baudelaire, who introduced him to the works of Edgar Allen Poe. He was also influenced by Hegel, whose writings verified for Villiers his own sense of mystical idealism. His philosophical novel, Isis (1862), then his dramas, Elën (1865) and Morgane (1866; second version entitled Le Prétendant, 1875), were ignored by the public; he turned to a romantic work, published first in serialized form: L'Eve future (1886), Akëdyssérie (1886), L'Amour supreme (1886), and Tri-bunat Bonhomet (1887) and denounced the pretensions of science, while his sardonic Les Contes cruels (1883), for which he is best known, also rejected the prevailing naturalism and materialism of the age. This idea reoccurs in Villiers's work, Axël (posthumous, 1890), which made him a symbolist and admired by Stéphane Mallarmé. All of Villiers's writings reflect a romantic and symbolist interest in fantasy and express his own idiosyncratic philosophical views. Villiers died alone and in poverty, without having known the fame and glory for which he believed he was destined.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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