Maurice de Guérin

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Maurice de Guérin

Georges Maurice de Guérin du Cayla (4 August 1810 – 19 July 1839) was a French poet.

Descended from a noble and rich family, he was born at the chateau of Le Cayla in Andillac, Tarn. He was educated for the church at a religious seminary at Toulouse, and then at the Collège Stanislas, Paris, after which he entered the society at La Chesnaye in Brittany, founded by Lamennais. It was with continuing doubts that, under the influence of Lamennais, he joined the new religious order in the autumn of 1832; and when, in September of the next year, Lamennais, who had come under the displeasure of Rome, severed his connection with the society, Maurice de Guérin soon followed his example.

Early in the following year he went to Paris, where he was for a short time a teacher at the Collège Stanislas. In November 1838 he married a Creole lady of some fortune; but a few months afterwards he died of consumption. In the Revue des deux mondes for 15 May 1840, a memorial of Maurice de Guérin by George Sand was published, to which she added two fragments of his writings—one a composition in prose entitled "The Centaur", and the other a short poem. His Reliquiae (2 vols., 1861), including the "Centaur", his journal, a number of his letters and several poems, was edited by G.S. Trébutien, and accompanied with a biographical and critical notice by Sainte-Beuve; a new edition, with the title Journal, lettres et poèmes, followed in 1862; and an English translation of it was published at New York in 1867. His sister Eugénie was a great influence on him and published some of his works after his death.

Though he was essentially a poet, his prose is more striking and original than his poetry. Its peculiar and unique charm arises from his strong and absorbing passion for nature, a passion whose intensity reached almost to adoration and worship, but in which the pagan was more prominent than the moral element. According to Sainte-Beuve, "no French poet or painter has rendered so well the feeling for nature--the feeling not so much for details as for the ensemble and the divine universality, the feeling for the origin of things and the sovereign principle of life."


Further reading[edit]

  • Royde-Smith, Naomi. The Idol and the Shrine: Being the Story of Maurice de Guérin (1949)

External links[edit]