The Poems and Aphorisms of Maurice Chapelan
This book, prefaced by the French novelist and essayist, Jeanne Cressanges, focuses on Maurice Chapelan’s poetry and aphorisms, which are an integral part of his œuvre.
His poems encompass the whole essence of the man, his very heart and soul, whereas the aphorisms express his philosophy. Chapelan is a master of the prose poem—le poème en prose—a creator of concise poetic pieces full of rich imagery and musicality. His aphorisms, too, are often poetic, and most of his work, in every genre, contains verse and philosophy. Above all, Chapelan was a moralist and a fine practitioner of l’humour noir, which he defines as la conjuration de l’horreur par le rire. He called himself un humoraliste.
Although Maurice Chapelan died in 1992 most of his books are still in print and he is remembered with affection, admiration and gratitude by those who used to relish his witty Divertissements grammaticaux in Le Figaro littéraire. He had been resident chroniqueur du langage at Le Figaro since 1961, his earlier articles appearing under the more sober heading, Usage et grammaire. He continued to write his chroniques until shortly before his death.
Mary Munro-Hill holds BA degrees in French and Latin, as well as an MA and a PhD in French. She also holds a BD and an MTh in Theology. Her career has been spent principally in teaching languages and theology in universities, colleges and schools. In retirement, she has served as a Chaplain at the University of Hull, where she was a Visiting Tutor in French Language from 1995 to 2017 and is now an Honorary Fellow in the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures. Dr Munro-Hill is a lay minister in the Church of England (Reader) and holds the Archbishops’ Award in Church Music of the Guild of Church Musicians.
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