Claudel, Paul pōl klōdĕl´ [key]
, 1868–1955, French dramatist, poet, and diplomat. He was ambassador to Tokyo (1921–27), Washington, D.C. (1927–33), and Brussels (1933–35). Claudel's writings deal largely with man's inner spirit, and reveal the influence of his profound and mystical Catholicism. His early plays were inspired by the French symbolists, notably by Rimbaud. Perhaps his finest play is L'Annonce faite à Marie
(1912, tr. Tidings Brought to Mary,
1916). Among his other dramas is the lengthy Le Soulier de satin
(1929, tr. The Satin Slipper,
1931). In his theatrical works Claudel combined extensive use of symbols—primarily religious—and exotic backgrounds with the techniques of pantomime, ballet, music, and the cinema. The rich lyric verse of Cinq Grandes Odes
(1910) marks his highest poetic achievement. His prose works include Art poétique
(1906) and writings on the Bible.
See B. L. Knapp, Paul Claudel (1982); A. Caranfa, Claudel: Beauty and Grace (1989).
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