VERLAINE, Paul (1844-1896)

Autograph letter signed « P Verlaine » to Jules Rais
[Paris] 39 rue Descartes, 2 January [18]96, 1 p. in-12° on laid paper

« I’m writing to you so little and so badly »

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VERLAINE, Paul (1844-1896)

Autograph letter signed « P Verlaine » to Jules Rais
[Paris] 39 rue Descartes, 2 January [18]96, 1 p. in-12° on laid paper
Some tiny spots

One of Verlaine’s last letters, with a hesitant handwriting, a week before his death


« Cher ami,
Oui, j’adhère à votre journal. Imprimez-moi parmi collaborateurs et m’écrivez détails/
Très, très souffrant. Au lit et au lait. C’est pourquoi je vous écris si peu et si mal.
A vous de cœur.

P Verlaine
39 rue Descartes »


This letter is a response to a request from Jules Rais who announces to Verlaine, in a letter of late December 1895, the imminent creation of the magazine L’Image and invites the poet to become one of its collaborators:
« J’en suis secrétaire de rédaction. Des graveurs sur bois l’illustreront afin de lutter contre les procédés industriels et de rendre au livre sa beauté de jadis. Goncourt, Zola […] ont promis leur collaboration. Roger Marx en est. On annonce Huysmans, Geffroy, Descaves, Mendès, Barrès, etc. Des fonds permettront de faire appel aux grands en même temps que l’on accueillera les jeunes. Votre adhésion serait des plus précieuses, votre nom une garantie de succès… »

This affectionate and admiring solicitation probably softened the poet’s last days. Here he finds the strength, despite a very hesitant writing, to respond favorably. This is the penultimate written testimony that has come to us from Verlaine (the last is a letter of January 4, addressed to Pierre Dauze), who dies six days later. The letters sent by the poet after January 4 will be from the hand of his mistress, Eugenie Krantz.


We include:
[VERLAINE] Léon Vanier (1847-1896)
Les Hommes d’Aujourd’hui
Original copy from the second edition, 4 pp. in-4°
Librairie Vanier, n°244 – Paris 19 quai St Michel
Slightly frayed lower marging, missing bit on lower left angle.

Famous and nice original copy on which Verlaine appears crouching and holding a fancy lyre

Engraved stencil wood depicting the 244 pamphlet of Les Hommes d’Aujourd’hui. Paris, Vanier, 1885. The biography that accompanies the cartoon is by Paul Verlaine himself.
This copy is that of the second edition, published in 1896 after the death of the poet.

Reference:
Correspondance de Paul Verlaine – Ad. Van Bever, Messein, t. III p. 300