Above you can see the Peacock on a Platter, or Robert de Montesquiou posing as the severed head of John the Baptist and flanked by relevant lines of his own poetry. But there’s a better version of the poetry, as you can see by comparing the photo with this:
J’aime le jade,
Couleur des yeux
Couleur du sang
De Jean-Baptiste. — from “Robert de Montesquiou: The Magnificent Dandy” (1962) by Cornelia Otis Skinner
I love jade,
Color of the eyes
Color of the blood
Of John the Baptist.
• Portrait of a Peacock — Cornelia Otis Skinner’s excellent essay on Montesquiou
• Le Paon dans les Pyrénées — review of Julian Barnes’ not-so-good book partly about Montesquiou
Numbered Days: Literature, Mathematics and the Deus Ex Machina
Think French. Think genius. Think rebellious, tormented, iconoclastic. Finally, think dead tragically young in the nineteenth century… And if you’re thinking of anyone at all, I think you’ll be thinking of Rimbaud.
And you’d be right to do so. But only half-right. Because there were in fact two rebellious, tormented, iconoclastic French geniuses who died tragically young in the nineteenth century. One was called Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) and the other Évariste Galois (1811-32). Rimbaud is still famous, Galois never has been. At least not to the general educated public, though on all objective criteria – but one – you might expect his fame to be greater. In every way – but one – Galois has the more powerful appeal.
Continue reading Numbered Days…