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This article is taken from PN Review 14, Volume 6 Number 6, July - August 1980.

Leon Vanier, Publisher of Poets David Arkell

[Many readers bave expressed curiosity as to tbe identity of tbe man on tbe cover of PNR 10 wbo appears in subsequent issues and publicity.Here David Arkell, autbor of tbe new biograpby of Jules Laforgue Looking for Laforgue, introduces Léon Vanier, and discusses bis connection witb Laforgue. Tbe caricature of Vanier and subsequent caricatures on tbe covers of PNR and introducing tbe editorial, letters, news and notes and reviews sections are by Coll-Toc.]

IN AN age that loved to invent new words he was known as the Bibliopôle, which was a Greek way of saying Bookseller. Jules Laforgue had other names for him such as Fabius Cunctator, after an indecisive Roman emperor, and catoblépas, after a mythical, long-necked monster which dragged its head along the ground. Authors generally (in the way of authors) called him mean and dilatory; critics criticized his publicity methods which they considered infra dig for a serious publisher (more reminiscent of department stores, they said). But a serious publisher he was, for did not his list include Verlaine, Moréas and Laforgue? And in his prime Vanier became known as Father of the Decadents and Publisher of the Moderns.

The man was revealed in all his splendour only recently-in Jean-Louis Debauve's Laforgue en son temps (1972). Debauve is a Paris judge and his uncle Charles Martyne was a man about literary Paris at the turn of the century; like all young men of the period he was mad about Laforgue. One ...


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