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Paul Valery
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    (October 30, 1871-July 20, 1945)
    Born in Sete, France
    Birth name was Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valery
    Poet and essayist
    Poetry collections include 'The Young Fate' (1917), 'Album of Ancient Verses' (1920) and 'Charms and Poems' (1922)
    Non-fiction works include 'The Crisis of the Mind' (1919) and 'Reflections on the World Today' (1931)
    'Notebooks' published posthumously in 29 volumes (1957-61)
    He underwent an existential crisis during a heavy storm, then stopped writing for nearly twenty years (1898-1917).
    He disowned many of his early poems.
    He said he would rather write a mediocre poem while fully conscious of his choices than be carried away by external inspiration.
    He had a cynical outlook on life.
    He was hailed by T.S. Eliot as the finest poet of his generation.
    He represented France on cultural issues at the League of Nations.
    He was stripped of several positions and honors during World War II for his refusal to cooperate with the Vichy regime.
    His aphorisms include 'Everything simple is false. Everything which is complex is unusable,' 'Politeness is organized indifference' and 'God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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