MERRILL, Stuart. ~ Petits Poèmes d'Automne. Paris: [Évereux: Charles Hérissey] for Léon Vanier, 1895.
12mo (185 × 120 mm), pp. , 102, . Browned. Uncut in original wrappers. Upper cover detatched and foxed, small portion wanting at head, spine defective.
First edition. A collection of autumnal poems and a prominent work by Merrill an American poet, who moved to Paris in 1866 with his family at the age of three. He studied alongside poets such as René Ghil and Pierre Quillard at the Symbolist school, Lycée Fontanes and was taught by Stéphane Mallarmé. In 1884 he moved back to New York due to his father’s blindness and began as law student at Columbia University. Merrill missed the period in Paris where Decadent and Symbolist movements were forming but he remained in close correspondence with these literary developments.
Merrill was very interested in the musical effects of poetry and admired the work of Wagner. His sonnets appeared in the January 8, 1886 issue of Revue Wagnérienne and he also wrote an article on Wagner’s music for the New York Evening post (1887). His first, most successful poetry book, Les Gammes was also published in 1877 and gained him critical acclaim in Europe. Ghil comments on the work as, ‘a conclusive and victorious achievement for poetry composed according to instrumentalist theory’ (Kenneth Cornell, The Symbolist Movement, 1970, 65). Merrill also published eight other works including his prominent works Les Fastes (1891) and this book.