Théodore de Banville

1823 (Moulins, France) – 1891 (Paris)

Edmond de Goncourt was met at school, aged 11, and Baudelaire at 18 (their long close friendship surviving a 3-year break as they quarreled over an actress). Younger poets revered Banville and were keenly supported, including Mallarmé, Verlaine (who called him his dear master), and Rimbaud (who as an unknown 16-year-old sent him some poems, and became both friend and lodger). Hugo showered praise on Banville, Vigny was both friend and admirer, Gautier encouraged him (and died the day after Banville’s last visit). Nadar and Murger (who collaborated with Banville on a novel) were among a gang of fast friends.

Théodore de Banville knew…