The son of an Irish father and French-Canadian mother, Emile Nelligan was born in Montreal in 1879. He was an erratic student who showed a talent for poetry amounting almost to genius. At an early age he became one of the most poignant voices of romanticism in Quebec. Although he lived for 62 years, all his poems (168 in total) were produced during a period of three years. His first works were published in 1896 in Le Samedi under the pseudonym of Emile Kovar. In 1897, while still a student at St. Mary's College, he joined the Montreal Literary School. In his work, he constantly explored the subtleties of two major themes: Regret and the Ideal. Nelligan's brief career was marked by a mounting tension that finally culminated in complete collapse, and in 1899 he became incurably insane. The rest of his tragic life in institutions was spent in a state of remote indifference to the world until his death in 1941.