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The Honour of Defeat

D.J. Enright, 3 December 1981

The Life of Villiers de I’Isle-Adam 
by A.W. Raitt.
Oxford, 470 pp., £25, October 1981, 0 19 815771 1
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... by a young man looking like Louis XIII, wearing furs and with fair hair.’ Villiers, A.W. Raitt tells us, ‘changed the whole course of Mallarmé’s existence’, just as a little earlier, ‘Baudelaire altered the whole course of Villiers’s life’ – though his Life suggests that no one and nothing could have done this. The convoluted weirdness ...

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