It was a very good year ... for writing. Unable to go gallivating around Britain (John) and/or the beaches of Yamba, NSW (moi), we let our fingers do the walking, and the talking and, in consequence, between us, we have books scheduled to appear in 2021: two for him, two for me, and one ... together.
I wonder which will appear first. At the moment, all John's (UK) one of mine (US) and our double-header (UK) are in the hands of their respective publishers ... but I think li'l bro might be in the lead! Yesterday he sent me goddamit COVER DESIGNS!
Petrus Borel (1809-1859)
‘Borel was the sun’, said Théophile Gautier,’who could resist him?’
Lycanthrope, necrophile, absurd revolutionary, Paris dandy with a scented beard, flamboyant sufferer: the man with no grave and no memorial.
His famous red mouth opened briefly ‘like an exotic flower’ to complain of injustice and bourgeois vulgarity; of his own frustration in love and honours; of his poverty and his blighted fate – then withered in the minor officialdom of Algeria, where he died because he would not wear a hat, in rags and sunstruck, leaving a haunted house and a doubtful name. ‘And now’, says Enid Starkie, ‘he is quite forgotten’.
‘Rhapsodies’ contains all Borel’s poems written when he was 20 and 21. At that time he wore a red waistcoat, a wide-brimmed hat with ribbons, a long black cloak thrown over his shoulders, and was followed about by his admirers. ‘These’, wrote Borel, describing his poems, are ‘the slag from my crucible’: ‘the poetry that boils in my heart has slung its dross’.
It is a fabulous and fiery, black-clouded dross: here are captains and cutlasses, castles, maidens, daggers and danger; violent calls to arms, adventure, imagined loves, bitter complaints and howls of injustice. ‘Never did a publication create a greater scandal,’ Borel said, ‘because it was a book written heart and soul, with no thought of anything else, and stuffed with gall and suffering’.
It was not reviewed.
(Enid Starkie: Petrus Borel, The Lycanthrope. Faber & Faber 1954).