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Paul Éluard (1895 - 1952)

Lifespan: 1895 - 1952

Related: French literature - surrealist literature - poetry

"There is another world, but it is in this one."

That Paul Éluard discovered Peter Ibbetson (a 1935 Hollywood film that Breton considered comparable only to Luis Buñuel's L'Age d'or in its depiction of L'Amour fou) by impulsively trailing an attractive woman into a movie theater was seen as ultimate proof." --Midnight Movies (1983). page 36.


Paul Éluard was the nom de plume of Eugène Grindel (December 14, 1895 - November 18, 1952), a French poet. He was active in the Dada and Surrealist movements.

Paul Eluard was born in Saint-Denis, just outside of Paris. After a happy childhood, he contracted tuberculosis at 16 years old and was forced to halt his studies. In the Swiss sanatorium of Davos, he met Gala, born Helena Deluvina Diarkinoff, whom he married in 1917. Together they had a daughter named Cecile. At this point he began to write his first poems. He was particularly inspired by Walt Whitman. In 1918, he was discovered by Jean Paulhan, who presented him to Andre Breton and Louis Aragon. This was his introduction to the Dada movement.

After a marital crisis, he began to travel, returning in 1924. His poems of this epoque reflected the difficulties of that period, in which he had another bout of tuberculosis and separated with Gala because she left him for Salvador Dalí.

In 1934, he married Nusch, (Maria Benz) a model of friends Man Ray and Pablo Picasso, who was considered somewhat of a mascot of the Surrealist movement. During World War II, he was involved in the French Resistance. He battled also with his poems, such as his 1942 poem "Liberty". His work was quite militant, yet simple.

After the premature death of Nusch, he met his last love, Dominique, and dedicated his work "The Phoenix" to her. Paul Eluard died from a heart attack in November 1952. He is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery.

The poems in La Capitale de la Douleur, or The Capital of Pain, inspired the 1965 Jean-Luc Godard film Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Eluard [Mar 2005]

Another world

Surrealist poet Paul Eluard once said, "Il y a un autre monde mais il est dans celui-ci." This translates as "There is another world, but it is in this one."

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