By Roger Pearson
During the many years instantly previous the Revolution of 1789 the prestige of latest poetry in France used to be at its lowest ebb. whilst the perceived strength of the author to persuade public occasions reached a high-water mark with Voltaire's victorious go back to Paris in 1778. throughout the subsequent century French poetry loved a rare renaissance and flowering, probably its maximum. yet what of the poet's public effect? In 1881 the folk of Paris processed for six
hours previous the house of Victor Hugo at the party of his 79th birthday, and in 1885 an anticipated million humans witnessed his nation funeral. yet who or what have been they acknowledging? Poetry or republicanism? or even their very own strength? For with each one Revolution that passed—1789, 1830, 1848—French
poets themselves felt more and more marginalised.
This examine addresses the 1st a part of this tale and specializes in the position and serve as of the poet throughout the so-called Romantic interval. starting with an account of the literary weather in pre-revolutionary France it then maps the adjustments in that weather wrought by way of the occasions of the 1789 Revolution. It describes the hot politico-literary agendas set by way of Chateaubriand and others at the monarchist correct, and via Staël and others at the liberal Left. by contrast historical past it then analyses in
detail the poetic output and public exploits of the 3 significant French poets of the interval: Lamartine, Hugo, and Vigny.
The Romantic determine of the poet as prophet and magus is habitually disregarded as a cliché. yet via concentrating on the position of the poet as lawgiver this e-book unearths the wealthy and intricate phrases during which the general public functionality of poetry used to be debated in post-revolutionary France - and the way amidst the centenary celebrations of 1889, as Romanticism gave strategy to Symbolism, the poet as lawgiver persevered to play a valuable half in that debate.
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Additional resources for Unacknowledged Legislators: The Poet as Lawgiver in Post-Revolutionary France
Unacknowledged Legislators: The Poet as Lawgiver in Post-Revolutionary France by Roger Pearson