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The Coronet Bar at The Coronet Theatre

Dead Poets Live: Paris, Eliot And Paris: A Poem

(This is a past event and is no longer running)

In the spring of 1919, Hope Mirrlees, a novelist, classicist and friend of Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein, wrote a poem called Paris, a 600-line journey through the city where she lived before and after the Great War. Virginia and Leonard Woolf published it the same year: it was acclaimed, dismissed and then forgotten. In the twenty-first century it has been rediscovered and reassessed as an early modernist masterpiece, anticipating a poem published by the Woolfs a few years later: The Waste Land.

T. S. Eliot was Francophile even before he arrived in Paris as a student in 1910. ‘What France had meant to me was, above all things,’ he wrote later, ‘Poetry.’ In 1908, while still at Harvard, he discovered Baudelaire, and through him Laforgue, Corbière, Rimbaud and Mallarmé. Under their influence Eliot began to write his first great poems, arriving at full maturity in 1911, after a year in Paris, with ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’. His encounter with Paris and his encounter with French literature were essential to the style and atmosphere of his first two collections, the poetry that led up to The Waste Land.

The evening will tell the story of Paris the poem by way of Paris the city – as seen by two poets either side of the Great War.


Charlotte Rampling has worked in English, French and Italian for directors as diverse as Richard Lester (The Knack), Luchino Visconti (The Damned), John Boorman (Zardoz), Liliane Cavani (The Night Porter), Nagisa Oshima (MaxMon Amour), Alan Parker (Angel Heart), Sydney Lumet (The Verdict), Laurent Cantet (Vers le Sud), Todd Solondz (Life During Wartime), Lars Von Trier (Melancholia). Her co-stars have been just as varied – Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Sean Connery, Richard Harris, Dirk Bogarde, Peter O’Toole, Yul Brynner, Fred Astaire, Robert Mitchum. In the 2000s, Rampling became the muse of French director François Ozon, appearing in his films Sous le sable (2000), Swimming Pool (2003) and Angel (2007). On television, she is known for her role as Evelyn Vogel in Dexter (2013). In 2012 she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in the miniseries Restless. Other television work includes roles in Broadchurch and London Spy (for the latter of which she was nominated for a Golden Globe). For her performance in the 2015 film 45 Years, she won the Berlin Film Festival Award for Best Actress, the European Film Award for Best Actress, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. A four-time César Award nominee, Rampling received an Honorary César in 2001 and France’s L’ordre national de la Légion d’honneur in 2002. She was made an OBE in 2000 for her services to the arts and received the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from the European Film Awards. In 2002, Rampling’s first music CD was released titled, Comme Une Femme. Her autobiography Qui Je Suis (Who I Am) – was published in 2015. Recent film work includes The Sense of an Ending (based on the novel by Julian Barnes), Andrea Pallaoro’s Hannah (for which she won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress award at the 74th Venice International Film Festival) and Euphoria opposite Alicia Vikander and Eva Green, directed by Lisa Langseth.

Lambert Wilson is one of France’s best-known actors. He has appeared in over 100 films and worked with such directors as Fred Zinnemann, Jacques Demy, Andrez Wajda, Carlos Saura, Bertrand Tavernier, James Ivory and Alain Resnais. In the theatre Wilson has worked with Jean-Louis Barrault, Jean-Claude Carrière, Harold Pinter and Stephen Sondheim – and has himself directed critically acclaimed stage productions (principally for Peter Brooks’ Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord) of Bérénice (with Carole Bouquet and Kristin Scott Thomas). Wilson is perhaps internationally best known for his work in Xavier Beauvois’ Of Gods and Men (winner of the Grand prix du jury at Le Festival de Cannes 2010), his portrayal of l’Abbé Pierre in Denis Amar’s Hiver 54 and for the role of The Merovingian in Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions. He was Master of Ceremony for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 and 2015 Cannes Film Festivals and has served on the jury at Cannes, at the Festival du film britannique de Dinard and the Festival international du film de Marrakech among others. As a singer, he has performed at the Chorégies d’Orange and Teatro alla Scala and has recently completed a tour throughout France, the Benelux, Canada and New York with his show Wilson chante (Yves) Montand (based on his sixth studio album). In the last 12 months Wilson has been seen in cinemas playing Jacques Cousteau in the biopic L’Odyssée, opposite Juliette Binoche in Telle mère, telle fille and in Corporate by Nicolas Silhol. He has completed filming Volantaire for director Hélène Fillières and Au Bout des Doigts (with Kristin Scott Thomas) by Ludovic Bernard. He is currently to be seen in cinemas across Europe playing King Philippe V of Spain in L’Échange des princesses by Marc Dugain. Wilson’s commitment to safeguarding the environment is manifest in his support of Greenpeace and Agir pour l’environnement.  In January 2018 he engaged to assist the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – specifically to help in communications regarding work to eradicate hunger and poverty; ‘Working for Zero Hunger.’ Wilson is Chevalier and Officier des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier and Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite. He was raised to Commandeur de l’Ordre du Mérite by French President Emmanuel Macron in 2017.

The Coronet Bar at The Coronet Theatre

Additional Information

Dead Poets Live is devised and supported by the T. S. Eliot Foundation, a charity dedicated to literacy and the promotion of poetry.