Place Renée Vivien

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Place Renée Vivien

I've run into Renée Vivien exactly twice in my life. Once during a reading of Colette's The Pure and the Impure in literature class, and once a few weeks ago when we stopped to admire Place Renée Vivien in the Marais. In the context of her life, the artwork felt feminine, yet fragmented and tortured. What's not to love about Renée Vivien? A celebrated poet. A lavish bohemian life. An affair with American writer, Natalie Clifford Barney. Unrequited love with a lesbian object of affection. Dramatic suicide attempts involving violets. Alcoholism. Drugs. Fetishes. Sadomasochism. You know, all that garden-variety life stuff. Her story is at once intriguing and tragic, and I may dust off my copy of The Pure and the Impure if I can find it. Though it is a bit unfair to judge Renée through her contemporary's eyes, I enjoyed Colette's work. Has anyone read any of Renée's poetry?

27 comments

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by nichole

Hannah –

Here are a few:

The Muse of the Violets
A Woman Appeared to Me

I may read some as well. ;)

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Hannah {Culture Connoisseur}

Never read it, but if it is anything like you discribe her life it would certainly make for good poetry. Do you know of any memoirs of her life or biographies? I love reading about interesting poets.

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Ady Xp

go to my blog

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Terriaw

Wow, what a beautiful corner! I am so drawn to the soft imagery and beauty in the hardscaping. I haven't read any of Renée's poetry, but now I want to!

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by BrazenBrunette

It seems that most great writers/artists have such tragic/torrid lives and endings. It's almost like their lives are as much of a work of art as they are. It's probably why their pieces are so insightful and poignant.

I'm definitely going to look into her collections and biographies :)

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by nataya

Love the colors, like washed watercolor painting and feel feminin

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Adam B

I have never read Renee's poetry, but I LOVE the understated color scheme of the photos above. Great work!

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Corinna

Beautiful work. I can see your fascination with her. I haven't read any of her poetry, but I might have to after seeing this. Thank you.

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Olga Walker

Hi there

I love the post – its colours and the story. I am studying literature myself and I will make sure I look her up now. Love Paris too, only been there twice but I love wandering down by the river and of course, just love the shops:):) and restaurants:):)

Olga from http://revedoa@blogspot.com

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Cathy

Nichole – I know I'll never read these books, but I am fascinated. What is death by violets all about???

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