Valéry’s Graveyard

«Le Cimetière marin» - Translated, Described, and Peopled

by Hugh P. McGrath (Author) Michael Comenetz (Author)
©2011 Monographs XIV, 202 Pages


Valéry’s Graveyard is in two parts. The first part presents the French text of Paul Valéry’s poem Le Cimetière marin (The Graveyard by the Sea) and a facing English translation, followed by a descriptive account of the poem that sets out its main structural and dynamic features and traces its narrative. The second part consists of nine short chapters on selected themes of the poem in their relation to the poet’s thought, including certain of his scientific concerns, and to literature ancient and modern.
Le Cimetière marin is one of the most celebrated works of poetry of the last hundred years, widely recognized as distinguished for beauty of form and wealth of meaning. On the basis of the French text and a translation that is at once accurate and poetical, this book provides an introduction to the poem, and thereby to the complex intellectual world of Valéry. It exhibits the depth and breadth both of the poem and of the poet’s thought.
A valuable resource for scholars, Valéry’s Graveyard is accessible to all serious readers. As it does not require a knowledge of French, the book is suitable for study in any course on modern literature.


XIV, 202
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2013 (March)
poem themes meaning Paul Valery Description Graveyard Le Cimetiere Marin Translation
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2011. XIV, 202 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Hugh P. McGrath (Author) Michael Comenetz (Author)

Hugh P. McGrath (1914-1995) took degrees in French language and literature at the University of Liverpool and the Sorbonne, and served in British Army counterintelligence in the Second World War. From 1947 until near the end of his life he taught at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. He wrote on literary, philosophical, and educational subjects, and was known for his public readings of poetry in English and French. Michael Comenetz studied mathematics, physics, and literature at Johns Hopkins University, and received a PhD in mathematics from Brandeis University. Since 1975 he has been at St. John’s College, where he has taught literature in French and other languages, and has held the National Endowment for the Humanities chair. He has published articles in mathematics and on literature, and is the author of Calculus: The Elements (2002).


Title: Valéry’s Graveyard