Reading Paul Valery: Universe in Mind

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Paul Valery's work is a unique odyssey in the universe of ideas and mental forms. The most recently acknowledged - and the most private - of the masters of modernity, Valery is perhaps the most radical and wide-ranging. He navigates freely within the mental galaxies known to scientists, poets, literary theorists, musicians, philosophers, historicans and social anthropologists, always concerned to explore the potential and limits of the human mind. Originally published in 1999, the present volume of essays by internationally recognised scholars offered the first comprehensive account of Valery's work in English or French. It provided a series of readings bringing into focus the deeper coherence that animates what Valery called his 'unitary mind in a thousand pieces', and offered perspectives on the immense range of his experimental and fragmentary writings. This book moved forward the frontiers of our understanding of Valery's work, and substantially altered the way in which he was perceived.