Cà Giustinian, Calle Ridotto, 1364A, 30100 Venezia VE
Hotel Monaco, Piazza San Marco, 1332, 30124 Venezia VE
Isola di San Michele, 30135 Venezia, Italy
Raymond Laurent (November 5, 1886 - September 24, 1908) was the editorial secretary of Akadémos. Revue Mensuelle d'Art Libre et de Critique.
He was cousin of Fernand Gregh and friend of Marcel Proust. Raymond Lament was born on November 5, 1886, in the Passy neighborhood of Paris. His birthplace was in rue Raymond, a house all lined with gardens; it was later demolished to make way to the railway. Laurent studied at Saint-Louis de Gonzague, at the Trocadéro, and then, when his mother left Paris, he followed her to Le Havre where he stayed for a year. He returned to the capital, attended the lessons of Jonson de Sailly, then followed in Condorcet the rhetoric superior under the direction of a remarkable man, Professor B, whose spirit was to influence him. Laurent began to write around this time, while preparing for the Ecole Normale. He also met, at the same time, a young man, M. François S., from whom he must have suffered cruelly.
During the 1905 vacation, he went to England, and stayed there for a few weeks, which he used marvelously to perfect his language and to choose among British masters preferences. A lot of his prose poems or his ballads are felt from this first stay. He lived in Essex. The following year, in 1906, he made a second trip, going up the Thames, stopping at Oxford where he was a guest of Professor Reginald Tiddy, of Trinity College (Tiddy was to be killed in action during WWI).
After a long stay in Paris, during which he suffered a lot and saw the first love of his life shattered, he left for Spain, and visited during the winter of 1906-1907 Madrid, Toledo, Burgos, Seville, Granada and returned to the Basque country, to Guétharia, where, from his childhood, he had spent many months.
He published a study in the New Review (1906), Pre-Raphaelism in England; and an article in the Hermitage and a series of prints in the Letters, all in 1907.
The beginning of the summer of 1908 he was in Normandy, where he met his friend Jacques d'Adelswärd-Fersen, and then left for Chamonix, then for Italy, repeating Goethe's journey through the Tyrol, the Inn at the Brenner. He was then in Schemberg, Bolzen, Trento, Verona, Padua and Venice.
He committed suicide in Venice due to the unrequieted love for a young American writer, M. Langhorn Whistler, with whom he was hopelessly in love. He had been a guest of the Hotel Europa, while Whistler was at the Hotel Monaco, but had left the day before. One of the two last letters Laurent wrote was addressed to Whistler, the other to his mother, Madamme C. Laurent, who lived at Guethares. Apparently before killing himself, he had also made advances to Jean Cocteau, vacationing in Venice with his mother. Cocteau wrote a sonnet, by way of an epitaph, devoted to Laurent's memory, as well as a ballad, Souvenir d'un soir d'automne au jardin Eaden.
His still-warm body was found by Vyvyan Holland, Oscar Wilde's son, who was by chance passing near the church of the Salute, where Laurent killed himself with a gunshot to the heart. d'Adelswärd-Fersen wrote an eulogy for him in Akadémos. Laurent's wish was to have a preface by Robert de la Sizeranne for his studies on English art, and André Gide realized his wish after death.
Laurent was buried at the Isola di San Michele in Venice.
My published books:
BACK TO HOME PAGE