French Romanticism: Gericault - Boston College

Since then, however, women writers' contributions to thisdiscourse have been all but overlooked. Moreover, the few womenwhose use of Shakespeare's heroines does receive criticalattention, mainly the novelists Germaine de Staël and George Sand,have tended to be discussed at the expense of women poets, who formost of the last two centuries have been relegated to the categoryof or domestic, "womanly" poetry. Yet it maybe in the work of these poets that Shakespeare contributes most towomen's literary agency. His appearance in the writing of threeRomantic women poets, Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859),Amable Tastu (1798-1885), and Louise Colet (1810-76), illustratesand recenters—in all its unresolved aesthetic, political, andgendered contradictions—the tension between neoclassicism andRomanticism in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Infact, from the early interest of these poets in Shakespeare to thebroad popularization and nationalization of his heroines in theoften reprinted ,Shakespeare helped construct the gendered aesthetics of FrenchRomanticism.

(1) See my article “The American Attitude Towards the French Romantics,” , XXXIX (1965), 358-371.

In the final cycle of French Romanticism, the implicitly political critique of 1830s aestheticism reasserted itself directly in the 1840s as a growing protest against the selfish narrowness of the political class and the social oppression and misery that marked the beginnings of the industrial revolution in France. "Social Romanticism" idealized "the people" as the new Romantic hero, the repository of spontaneity, goodness, and unity, and demanded that their liberty be realized not only in more democratic politics but in providing the poor with the material means that were the prerequisite for full self-realization. The literature of Social Romanticism ranged from the Parisian novels of Georges Sand to the histories of Jules Michelet, the chronicler of the people's struggle for liberty. But its great moment seemed to come when its most prominent spokesman, the poet-politician Lamartine, become leader of the provisional republican government of France in the Revolution of 1848. Lamartine was by far not the first Romantic politician—a number of his European predecessors had held offices high and low—but for the first time in history, a Romantic literary figure seemed to be in a position to legislate a version of Romanticism into reality. When, however, in the tragic denouement of the June Days, Lamartine found himself directing the army to shoot down "the people" on the barricades of Paris, the vision of Social Romanticism, and with it the era of Romanticism, came to an end. Its legacy nevertheless remained not only in the revived "late Romanticism" of the fin-de-siècle but as a permanent dimension of contemporary art and of our understanding of the modern self.

To think of French Romanticism is to naturally think of Victor Hugo

13 French Romantic Drama 224 This dissertation examines the largely dismissed nineteenth-century tradition of Romantic poetry in Haiti from the 1830s to the 1890s. I synthesize the conclusions of various studies prompted by the 2004 Haitian bicentennial in order to challenge the claims that nineteenth-century Haitian poems are banal parodies of French texts and simple preludes to twentieth-century Haiti literature. I argue that imitation becomes an impossible label with which to understand the complexities of Haitian poetry and national sentiment. Considering Haiti's ambiguous relationship to modernity and the clairvoyance with which Haitian poets expressed national concerns, Haitian poetry constitutes a deliberate practice in the construction, legitimization and expression of national identity. In each of the three chapters I rely on historical context in order to situate the poetry and examine it through textual analysis. I explore in an initial chapter how political changes in Haiti in the 1820s, along with recognition of independence from France, coincided with the subsequent birth of Haitian Romanticism in the 1830s. The poetry of Coriolan Ardouin and Ignace Nau documents the development of poetic subjectivity and the inaugurating of national history which make this a pivotal period in Haitian poetry. A second chapter focuses on Haiti's most prolific nineteenth-century poet, Oswald Durand, whose collection Rires et Pleurs includes poetry from the 1860s through the 1880s. Haitian theories of racial equality are expressed in Durand's corpus and set within the thematic and aesthetic norms of French Romanticism, but the effort to inscribe a national and racial specificity enriches as much as it complicates his poetic project. In the final chapter, I document the shift that occurs for the last Haitian Romantic poet, Massillon Coicou. In his 1892 collection Poésies Nationales, the confident project of asserting national identity gives way to the sense of national failure due to an increasingly triumphant imperialism and internal corruption. On the eve of the Haitian centennial, Coicou's verse demonstrates the ways in which political crisis in Haiti are inherently tied to the notion of poetry. He ultimately turns to political activism, and his assassination in 1908 symbolizes the demise of poetry as a viable, national project.

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This dissertation examines the largely dismissed nineteenth-century tradition of Romantic poetry in Haiti from the 1830s to the 1890s. I synthesize the conclusions of various studies prompted by the 2004 Haitian bicentennial in order to challenge the claims that nineteenth-century Haitian poems are banal parodies of French texts and simple preludes to twentieth-century Haiti literature. I argue that imitation becomes an impossible label with which to understand the complexities of Haitian poetry and national sentiment. Considering Haiti's ambiguous relationship to modernity and the clairvoyance with which Haitian poets expressed national concerns, Haitian poetry constitutes a deliberate practice in the construction, legitimization and expression of national identity. In each of the three chapters I rely on historical context in order to situate the poetry and examine it through textual analysis. I explore in an initial chapter how political changes in Haiti in the 1820s, along with recognition of independence from France, coincided with the subsequent birth of Haitian Romanticism in the 1830s. The poetry of Coriolan Ardouin and Ignace Nau documents the development of poetic subjectivity and the inaugurating of national history which make this a pivotal period in Haitian poetry. A second chapter focuses on Haiti's most prolific nineteenth-century poet, Oswald Durand, whose collection Rires et Pleurs includes poetry from the 1860s through the 1880s. Haitian theories of racial equality are expressed in Durand's corpus and set within the thematic and aesthetic norms of French Romanticism, but the effort to inscribe a national and racial specificity enriches as much as it complicates his poetic project. In the final chapter, I document the shift that occurs for the last Haitian Romantic poet, Massillon Coicou. In his 1892 collection Poésies Nationales, the confident project of asserting national identity gives way to the sense of national failure due to an increasingly triumphant imperialism and internal corruption. On the eve of the Haitian centennial, Coicou's verse demonstrates the ways in which political crisis in Haiti are inherently tied to the notion of poetry. He ultimately turns to political activism, and his assassination in 1908 symbolizes the demise of poetry as a viable, national project.

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