By Tim Farrant
Everyone is aware anything of nineteenth-century France - or do they? "Les Miserables", "The woman of the Camelias" and "The 3 Musketeers", "Balzac" and "Jules Verne" dwell within the renowned realization as enduring human files and cultural icons. but, the French 19th century used to be much more dynamic than the stereotype indicates. This intriguing new advent takes the literature of the interval either as a window on earlier and current mindsets and as an item of fascination in its personal correct. starting with historical past, the century's greatest challenge and power, it appears to be like at narrative responses to old, political and social adventure, earlier than devoting vital chapters to poetry, drama and novels - all genres the century noticeably reinvented. It then explores a number of modernities, methods nineteenth-century writing and mentalities watch for our personal, sooner than turning to marginalities - matters and voices the canon commonly forgot. No style was once left unchanged through the 19th century. This ebook can help to find them anew.
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Extra info for An introduction to nineteenth-century French literature
Autobiography, in contrast – initiated by St Augustine’s Confessions (397-401), established by Rousseau’s Confessions (1761-8), but not recorded as a dictionary term in French until 1842 – is self-life-writing, with the acts of self-transcription, 37 38 Introduction to Nineteenth-Century French Literature recollection and representation taking precedence over objective chronology. Where first-person narrative is often a ventriloquised cri de coeur, a transposition and exploration of the author’s real experience in fictional terms, autobiography promises a truthful account of the development of the author’s personality, and of the past from the standpoint of the present.
Margaret A. Waller, The Male Malady: Fictions of Impotence in the Male Romantic Novel (Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1993). Persuasive study of male weakness in the Romantic (not exclusively firstperson) novel. Damien Zanone, L’Autobiographie (Paris: Ellipses, 1996). Historical and theoretical overview, covering writers from St Augustine to the present. 51 3 Poetry La poésie, c’est tout ce qu’il y a d’intime dans tout. ) Peindre non la chose, mais l’effet qu’elle produit. ) These two statements, by the nineteenth-century’s emblematically contrasting poets (one public, one private; one accessible, one hermetic), symbolise poetry’s journey from the intimate to the inward, from what can be said through words to what words can say for themselves.
Stendhal’s awareness of the unavoidable artifices of self-writing leads him to be upfront about them, to exploit the ambiguities of a genre which, in the guise of self-recording, is also self-creation, inevitably containing (like Stendhal’s response to life) an element of self-fictionalisation. Like autobiography itself, the pseudonym Henry Brulard is both a mask, or a lie (like Stendhal itself, not the author’s real name), and the truth: it is an obliteration of his own detested father, and a substitution of a new identity of the writer’s own; a lie paradoxically revealing the writer’s true feelings, yet in a way accessible, at the time of writing, only to the author – a secrecy that guarantees sincerity.
An introduction to nineteenth-century French literature by Tim Farrant