Femmes, Chair, and Hombres by Paul Verlaine (1890-1903)
Verlaine, Paul. Femmes. Imprimé sous le manteau et ne se vend nulle part [Brussels: Kistemaeckers], 1890. Lilly Library: PQ2463 .F329.
Verlaine, Paul. Chair (dernières poésies). Paris: Bibliothèque Artistique & Littéraire, 1896. Lilly Library: PQ2463 .C434.
Verlaine, Paul. “Hombres” (hommes). Imprimé sous le manteau et ne se vend nulle part [Paris: Messein, 1904]. Lilly Library: PQ2463 .H764.
In the last years of his life, Paul Verlaine (1844-96) mainly composed erotic poems, some of which mildly sensual, like those included in the posthumous collection Chair [Flesh], illustrated with a frontispiece by Félicien Rops, others downright obscene, like those included in the pornographic (in the etymological sense of pornography: writing about prostitutes) collection Femmes [Women] and the homoerotic collection Hombres [Men], clandestinely printed, the former in 1890 and the latter in 1904. Hombres ends with a sonnet composed in collaboration with Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) in 1872, Le Sonnet du trou du cul [Sonnet on the asshole], translated here by Samuel N. Rosenberg. According to Verlaine, he himself composed the quatrains (Verlaine fecit) and his younger lover composed the tercets (Rimbaud invenit).