By Roger Pearson
During the a long time instantly previous the Revolution of 1789 the prestige of latest poetry in France used to be at its lowest ebb. while the perceived strength of the author to persuade public occasions reached a high-water mark with Voltaire's successful 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 impression? In 1881 the folks of Paris processed for six
hours earlier the house of Victor Hugo at the celebration of his 79th birthday, and in 1885 an envisioned million humans witnessed his country funeral. yet who or what have been they acknowledging? Poetry or republicanism? or maybe their very own strength? For with each one Revolution that passed—1789, 1830, 1848—French
poets themselves felt more and more marginalised.
This learn addresses the 1st a part of this tale and specializes in the function 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 through the occasions of the 1789 Revolution. It describes the recent politico-literary agendas set by means of Chateaubriand and others at the monarchist correct, and by way of 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 pushed aside as a cliché. yet via targeting the position of the poet as lawgiver this booklet 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 endured to play a vital half in that debate.