Looks like the Korrektiv has something of a literary forebear:

The term poete maudit, or “cursed poet,” was coined by Paul Verlaine.  His little book Les poetes maudits (1884) interleaved his own honorific prose with poems by some of the poets he most esteemed but whose very greatness assured that they were known only to the cognoscenti.  It was their obscurity – society was indifferent to them because they were hard to understand – that prompted Verlaine to speak of them as cursed. This cultivated sense of neglect, even oppression, at the hands of the bourgeois philistines became the classic pose of the avant-garde.

But the curse seemed to be as much moral and spiritual as social, contributing to the presumption that a true artist must suffer agonies of genius…The paradigmatic poete maudit was Baudelaire (1821-67).  His Les fleurs du mal (1857), or The Flowers of Evil, is the most famous book of nineteenth-century  French poetry and one of the most famous in world literature. The poems, which were revolutionary in their intermixtures of the sordid and the beautiful, reflected a spiritual extremity that the modern era has long savored, one both hell-bent and heaven storming.

– Opening of the essay “The Cursed Poets and Their Gods” by Algis Valiunas in the February 2012 First Things

(Emphasis mine.)


  1. Don’t forget Coleridge. Other forebears?

    Then again, some of the blues greats of our country seemed like pretty happy people all round.

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      Other forebears?

      Sideshow Bob

      • No, that’s MY forebear. Along with Captain kangaroo.

        • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

          Can’t think of Captain Kangaroo without thinking of ‘Flowers on the Wall’; can’t think of ‘Flowers on the Wall’ without thinking of Pulp Fiction; can’t think of Pulp Fiction without thinking of… lots and lots of things.

          IC, if you have a Captain Kangaroo blazer, do you wear it every day, or just on special occasions? (And if you don’t have one, would you wear it every day, or just on special occasions?)

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      Other forebears?

      Ignatius Reilly

  2. Churchill says

    I’ll post something later.

  3. I knew Verlaine, we were very close friends at one time. We ran the streets of Paris like children in rags and were poor men of letters. But we were happy in our poverty.

    I am a sad clown.

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