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The poems in "Rythmes pittoresques", first published in 1890, present not only a poet searching for a voice, but also a female poet searching for a voice while breaking down rules of both versification and gender-determined sources of expression. They went straight to the heart of the male-dominated poetry of the time and effectively threatened its existence. Of the poets considered to be the first to write free-verse poetry in French - Marie Krysinska, Arthur Rimbaud, Jules Laforgue, Gustave Kahn - all have received critical recognition for their work. All, that is, except Marie Krysinska (1857-1908). Although it was quickly dismissed by critics simply because it was written by a female poet, Krysinska's poetry presents the creation of a new form of feminine expression as well as the persecution of the female artist viewed by her largely male peers, readership and competitors. This volume includes a preface notes presenting the poems' prior publications in literary reviews a biographical chronology of Krysinska's life a complete primary and secondary biography reviews of the collection, documenting the poems' reception at the time of their publication.
Seth Whidden is Associate Professor of French at Villanova University. His research focuses on nineteenth-century French poetry and contemporary French civilisation. He has published articles and translations on Rimbaud, Verlaine, Krysinska and French hip-hop culture.