Sully Prudhomme  1839 - 1907
Sully Prudhomme was pseudonym of RENÉ-FRANÇOIS-ARMAND PRUDHOMME (b. March 16, 1839, Paris, France--d. Sept. 7, 1907, Châtenay), French poet who was a leading member of the Parnassian movement, which sought to restore elegance, balance, and aesthetic standards to poetry, in reaction to the excesses of Romanticism. He was awarded the first Nobel Prize for Literature in 1901. Prudhomme studied science at school but was forced by an eye illness to renounce a scientific career. His first job was as a clerk in a factory office, which he left in 1860 to study law. In 1865 he began to publish fluent and melancholic verse inspired by an unhappy love affair. Stances et poemes (1865) contains his best known poem, Le vase brisé ("The Broken Vase"). Les Épreuves (1866; "Trials"), and Les Solitudes (1869; "Solitude") are also written in this first, sentimental style.
Prudhomme later renounced personal lyricism for the more objective approach of the Parnassians, writing poems attempting to represent philosophical concepts in verse. Two of the best known works in this vein are La Justice (1878; "Justice") and Le Bonheur (1888; "Happiness"), the latter an exploration of the Faustian search for love and knowledge. Prudhomme's later work is sometimes obscure and shows a naive approach to the problem of expressing philosophical themes in verse. He was elected to the French Academy in 1881.


Stances et poemes, 1865.
Les epreuves, 1866.
Les solitudes: poesies, A. Lemerre (Paris), 1869.
Les destins, 1872.
La France, 1874.
Les vaines tendresses, 1875.
Le zenith (poem), published in journal Revue des deux mondes, 1876.
La justice (poem), 1878.
Poesie, 1865-88, A. Lemerre, 1883-88.
Le prisme, poesies diverses, A. Lemerre (Paris), 1886.
Le bonheur (poem), 1888.
Epaves, A. Lemerre, 1908.


Oeuvres de Sully Prudhomme (poetry and prose), 8 volumes, A. Lemerre, 1883-1908.
Que sais-je? (philosophy), 1896.
Testament poetique (essays), 1901.
La vraie religion selon Pascal (essays), 1905.
Journal intime: lettres-pensee (diary), A. Lemerre, 1922.


For further reading:

Studies in Literature by E. Dowden (1892);
Entretiens avec Sully-Prudhomme by E. Champion (1900);
La Philosophie de M. Sully-Prudhomme by C. Hémon (1907);
Sully-Prudhomme by E. Zyromsky (1907); Parisian Portraits by F. Grierson (1913);
On Life and Letters by A. France (1922);
Punch and Judy and Other Essays by M. Baring (1924);
Sully Prudhomme, poète sentimental et poète philosophe by Edmond Estève (1925);
Sully Prudhomme et sa pensée by Pierre Flottes (1930);
Nobel Prize Winners, ed. by T. Wasson (1987) - 

Poets associated with the Parnassians: Leconte de Lisle, Théodore de Banville, François Coppée, Sully Prudhomme, and Paul Verlaine. - Suomeksi kirjailijalta on käännetty runoja mm. teokseen Ranskan kirjallisuuden kultainen kirja, toim. Anna-Maria Tallgren, 1934. Otto Manninen on suomentanut runon 'Särkynyt maljakko'.