Paul Valery refused to choose between art and science. Although critics have often separated in their discussions of his work his poetry and his thought, he looked upon poetic composition as but one means of deepening his interest in the human mind in all its possibilities. It has been said nevertheless that because of his predominant interest in the mind - in the nature of self-awareness in particular - he was concerned only superficially with anything apart from mental processes. Dr Crow shows that this is not so: on the contrary, self-awareness for Valery was the mainspring of a sensitive and detailed involvement with the forms and processes of the natural world. By concentrating on a theme so central to Valery's interests as consciousness and nature, this book has the merit of approaching his many-sided writings from the point of their greatest unity. The book provides one of the first comprehensive studies of the underlying unity of Valery's poetry and thought.
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