Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Banville, Theodore de, the son of a French sea captain, was born at Moulins in 1823. Coming to Paris as a youth he adopted literature as a career, and in 1842 published an eccentric poem, Les Cariatides, which speedily attracted notice. In 1846 appeared Les Stalactites, to be followed later by Les Exiles, Les Odettes, La Lanterne Magique, Mes Souvenirs, Paris Vecu, Odes Funambulesques, etc. It might be said that the title of the last-named volume most aptly describes De Banville's genius. His muse walks blindfold and in fetters along a thin cord of sense or plot stretched across an abyss of nothingness. His art lies chiefly in the dexterous management of startling rhymes and unfamiliar metres. The form with him is all important, the matter of little consequence; though here and there one comes across passages of real poetic feeling, crisp touches of cynicism provoked by modern French manners, or flashes of quaint wit. He tried with small success to write for the stage, and brought out some prose sketches, as well as a treatise on poetic methods. He died in 1891.