Jules Supervielle Munyo

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Jules Supervielle Munyo

Birthdate: (76)
Birthplace: Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay
Death: May 17, 1960 (76)
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
Place of Burial: Oloron-Sainte-Marie, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Aquitaine, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Victor Jules Supervielle Etchehon and Maria Munyo Oyenart
Husband of Pilar Saavedra Barroso
Father of Private; Denise Supervielle Saavedra; Private; Private; Private and 1 other

Occupation: Ecrivain, Escrutir y Poeta
Managed by: María Isabel Arocena Saavedra
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Jules Supervielle Munyo


Jules Supervielle (16 January 1884 – 17 May 1960) was a French-Uruguayan poet and writer born in Uruguay.

Jules Supervielle always kept away from Surrealism which was dominant in the first half of the twentieth century. Eager to propose a more human poetry and to rejoin the real world, Supervielle rejected automatic writing (that the Surrealists very quickly gave up themselves) and the dictatorship of the unconscious, without disavowing the assets of modern poetry since Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Apollinaire, like certain fundamental innovations of surrealism.

Attentive to the universe which surrounded him, as he was to the phantoms of his interior world, he was one of the first to recommend this vigilance, this control that the following generations, moving away from the surrealist movement, put at the forefront. He anticipated the movements of the years 1945-50, dominated by the powerful personalities of René Char, Henri Michaux, Saint-John Perse or Francis Ponge, then - after the bracket avant-gardist of the years 1960-70 - those of the poets eager to create a new lyricism and to introduce a certain form of crowned or, at least, a more modest approach to the mysteries of the universe, without radical questioning of the language: Yves Bonnefoy, Philippe Jaccottet, Jacques Dupin, Eugène Guillevic, Jean Grosjean, Andre Frénaud, Andre du Bouchet, Jean Follain, to mention only a few.

Amongst his admirers are René-Guy Cadou, Alain Bosquet, Lionel Ray, Claude Roy, Philippe Jaccottet and Jacques Réda.


   1 Great events in the life of Supervielle
       1.1 A tight-knit family
       1.2 Birth of an orphan
       1.3 Beginnings of a literary vocation
       1.4 Entry into the adult life
       1.5 Birth of a poet
       1.6 Years of exile
       1.7 The dedication
   2 Main works
   3 Honors
   4 Studies about his work
   5 English translations
   6 External links

Great events in the life of Supervielle A tight-knit family

From 1880 to 1883, Bernard, uncle of the poet, founded a bank in Uruguay with his wife Marie-Anne. This company quickly became a family-orientated business. Bernard asked his brother Jules, the father of the poet, to come to join him in Uruguay. Jules made the trio a perfect quartet by marrying his own sister-in-law, Marie, sister of Marie-Anne and mother of the poet. Birth of an orphan

Supervielle was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, to a father from Béarn and a Basque mother. The same year, the little Jules and his parents returned to France to visit their family. It is in Oloron-Sainte-Marie that a tragic accident occurs - his father and mother die brutally, either poisoned by tap water or victims of cholera. The child is therefore initially raised by his grandmother.

In 1886, his uncle Bernard brought the young Jules back to Uruguay, where he was raised by his aunt and uncle as if he was their own son.

Beginnings of a literary vocation

   1893: At the age of nine, the young Jules learns by chance that he is only the adoptive son of his uncle and his aunt. He begins the drafting of a book of fables on a register of the Supervielle bank.
   1894: His uncle and his aunt settle in Paris. Jules will receive all his secondary education there.
   1898: Jules discovers Musset, Hugo, Lamartine, Leconte de Lisle and Sully Prudhomme. He starts to write poems in secret.
   1901: He publishes in account of author a plate of poems entitled Brumes du passé. He spends his summer holidays in Uruguay in 1901, 1902, and 1903.
   From 1902 to 1906: Jules continues his studies, from the baccalaureat to the licence of literature. He completes his military service although his fragile health makes his experience of life in the barracks difficult.

Entry into the adult life

   1907: He marries Pilar Saavedra in Montevideo. From this union will be born six children, born between 1908 and 1929.
   1910: He submits his thesis on the feeling of nature in Spanish-American poetry. Extracts will appear in the Bulletin of the American library.
   1912: After many travels, he settles in Paris, in an apartment (located at 47, boulevard Lannes) where he will life for twenty-three years. He nevertheless continues to frequently visit Uruguay, his second homeland.
   From 1914 to 1917: Jules is conscripted. He will carry on in particular activities with the Ministry of War, thanks to his linguistic abilities. Starting in 1917, he devotes a great deal of time to reading and discovers Paul Claudel, Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé, Jules Laforgue, and Walt Whitman.
   1919: The publication of his poems retains the attention of André Gide and Paul Valéry and puts him in contact with the Nouvelle Revue Française (NRF).

Birth of a poet

   1922: Publication of his first important collection of poems: Débarcadères.
   1923: This year marks the beginning of a long friendship with writer Henri Michaux, who will become his close friend. It is also during this year that he publishes his first novel: L'Homme de la pampa.
   1925: He associates with great German poet Rainer Maria Rilke and publishes one of the major collections of French-speaking poetry of the 20th century: Gravitations.
   1927: He becomes the close friend of Jean Paulhan and subjects from now on all his texts to him.
   1931: Publication of his first important collection of fantastical short-stories: L'Enfant de la haute mer (five texts published between 1924 and 1930 plus three originals). At this time, he is devoted to many literary activities and acquires the recognition of criticism, including in Uruguay. His first important play, La Belle au bois, is also written at this time. In addition, he will not cease altering his texts, giving place to multiple republications, and the fact of often passing from one literary genre to another.
   1938: He associates with René Étiemble.

Years of exile

   1939: With the declaration of war, difficult years begin: the international tension, financial difficulties and troubles of health (pulmonary and cardiac problems) lead Supervielle to be exiled for seven years in Uruguay. He is named Officier de la Legion d'honneur.
   1940: The Supervielle bank goes bankrupt; the poet is ruined. But his literary activity is still very intense and his plays will be assembled thereafter by important directors, among which was Louis Jouvet. In addition, he continues to devote himself to translation (Guillen, Lorca, Shakespeare, etc.) and will receive several literary prizes throughout these years of maturity.
   1944: He makes a series of conferences at the University of Montevideo on contemporary French poetry.

The dedication

   1946: Supervielle returns to France, having been named cultural correspondent to the legation of Uruguay in Paris. He publishes his first mythological tales under the title Orphée.
   1947: Supervielle's Shéhérazade is one of the three plays directed by Jean Vilar at the first festival d'Avignon.
   1951: He publishes an autobiographical account entitled Boire à la source, as some precious pages on his conception of poetry: while thinking of a poetic art, following his poetic collection Naissances. At that time, he suffers of arrhythmia and the after-effects of his lung disease.
   1959: He publishes his last collection of poetry, Le Corps tragique.
   1960: Supervielle is elected Prince des poètes ("Prince of poets") by his peers. On 17 May, he dies in his Parisian apartment; he is buried in Oloron-Sainte-Marie. In October, the NRF publishes a special number which pays homage to him.
   From 1966 to 1987: publication at the editions Gallimard (collection "Poésie") of his principal poetic collections.
   1976: Pilar dies; she is buried at the side of her husband.
   1990: The city of Oloron-Sainte-Marie creates the Jules-Supervielle prize; among the prize winners, one finds the names of major contemporary poets: Alain Bosquet, Eugène Guillevic, Henri Thomas, Jean Grosjean and Lionel Ray.
   1996: Publication of complete poetic works of Jules Supervielle in the Bibliothèque de La Pléiade, by the Gallimard editions.

Main works

to see All his work Honors

   The Lycée Français de Montevideo takes his name from him.

Studies about his work

   Claude Roy, Supervielle, Paris, Poésies P., NRF, 1970
   Sabine Dewulf, Jules Supervielle ou la connaissance poétique - Sous le soleil d’oubli, coll. Critiques Littéraires, in two volumes, Paris, éd. L’Harmattan, 2001

English translations

English text with French parallel text:

   James Kirkup, Denise Levertov, Kenneth Rexroth and Alan Pryce-Jones, Jules Supervielle: Selected Writings , New Directions, New York, 1967
   George Bogin, Jules Supervielle: Selected Poems and Reflections on the Art of Poetry , SUN, New York, 1985

External links Portal icon Biography portal

   Jules Supervielle and poetry
   Jules Supervielle
   Jules Supervielle at Find a Grave

Escritor franco-uruguayo, n. en Montevideo (Urug.) y m. en París. Se formó en sus viajes por el extranjero y acaso por ello su obra, irregular y anárquica, resulta a veces tan desconcertante y sorprendente. No por ello es menos sugestiva ni inspirada, sobre todo en las producciones poéticas: Debarcadères (1922), Gravitations (1925), Poèmes à la France malheureuse (1941), Ciel et terre (1942), Naissances (1951), L'escalier (1956). Extraordinariamente versátil, ha cultivado la novela (L'homme de La Pampa, 1923), el ensayo (Uruguay, 1928), el cuento (Les BBV, 1949; Premiers pas de l'univers, 1950), el drama (Le voleur d'enfants, 1926; La belle au bois, 1932) y el teatro biográfico (Bolívar, 1936; Robinson, 1948). Gran premio de Literatura en 1955 y premio Internacional de Poesía en 1957, son también interesantes sus trabajos autobiográficos: Boire à la source (1933) y Le petit bois (1942). Considerado uno de los grandes poetas franceses de este siglo, no se apartó nunca definitivamente de su tierra natal, a la que retornó durante la II Guerra Mundial (1940-45). Su producción, llena de reminiscencias uruguayas, revela una íntima angustia.

http://www.mcnbiografias.com/app-bio/do/show?key=supervielle-jules En 1884, a los pocos meses del nacimiento del futuro escritor, Jules (que era de origen bearnés) y Marie (natural del País Vasco francés) decidieron regresar temporalmente a Francia para visitar a sus familiares y presentarles al hijo que acababan de tener. Ya en su país natal, durante una estancia en la localidad de Oloron-Sainte-Marie (perteneciente al departamento de los Bajos Pirineos), los padres del pequeño Jules perdieron la vida de forma fulminante, sin que los biógrafos del escritor se hayan puesto de acuerdo en atribuir esta terrible y prematura orfandad a los efectos devastadores del cólera o al consumo de aguas corrompidas vertidas por un grifo emponzoñado. La custodia del bebé -que sólo contaba ocho meses de edad cuando ya era huérfano de padre y madre- quedó en manos de una abuela suya, quien en 1886 atendió a la solicitud de Bernard desde Uruguay y envió al pequeño Jules a la ciudad donde había nacido. Allí, sus tíos Bernad y Marie-Anne criaron y educaron al futuro escritor como si de su propio hijo se tratase, de suerte tal que Jules no tuvo noticia de que no eran sus auténticos padres hasta 1893, cuando, con nueve años de edad, descubrió por casualidad que era hijo adoptivo. Pero esta revelación no fue para él demasiado traumática, pues ya por aquel entonces había caído bajo la tiranía de una precoz vocación que le absorbía gran parte de su tiempo: la creación literaria.


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Jules Supervielle Munyo's Timeline

January 16, 1884
Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay
May 17, 1960
Age 76
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France