Jules Laforgue was born on August 16, 1860, in Montevideo, Uruguay, one of five children of an emigrant French family. The family was part of the same French community in which Isidore Ducasse (Le Comte de Lautréamont) grew up. Returning to France in 1866, Laforgue went to school at Tarbes in southwest France (again, where Ducasse lived) until the family moved to Paris in 1876. After three unsuccessful attempts to pass the baccalauréat (university entrance) examination in 1878, he began to write but led a solitary life with few friends and no regular employment.

In 1881 he was appointed French reader to the empress Augusta of Germany and spent almost 5 years moving round imperial residences in Germany with the court - a well-paid life with plenty of leisure, but rigid, boring, and isolated from the literary world of Paris. Laforgue's natural pessimism was reinforced by his solitary life and by his study of Schopenhauer. In 1885 Les Complaintes was published. The following year Laforgue published “The Imitation of Our Lady the Moon” and married an English woman, Leah Lee, in London on December 31. On August 27, 1887, he died of tuberculosis at age twenty-seven.

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