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The Bourgeoisie in 19th Century French Arts, Especially Literature and Theatre

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Melissa Chan

on 14 November 2012

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Transcript of The Bourgeoisie in 19th Century French Arts, Especially Literature and Theatre

The Bourgeoisie in 19th Century
French Arts, Especially Literature and Theater Romanticism - First half of the 19th century.
- Emphasis on strong emotion, imagination, the exotic and unfamiliar.
- Foreign influences such as Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott, Byron, Goethe, etc.
- Forms:
> Historical novel
> Romance
> "Roman noir" or Gothic novel - Subjects:
> Lyricism
> Sentimentalism
> Exoticism
> Orientalism - Subjects:
> Traditional myths
> Nationalism
> Natural world
> Common man - Expressed a profound loss for aspects of the pre-revolutionary world in a society now dominated by money and fame, rather than honor.
- Key ideas from early French Romanticism:
> "La vague des passions" (vagueness, uncertainty of sentiment and passion)
> "Le mal du siècle" (the pain of the century) Bourgeoisie of the 19th Century - Supported liberalism, and gained political rights, religious rights, and civil liberties for themselves and the lower social classes.
- Industrial Revolution (1750 - 1850) expanded the bourgeoisie class, causing its self-stratification:
> Haute bourgeoisie: bankers and industrialists
> Petite bourgeoisie: tradesmen and white-collar workers

- By the end of the 19th century within the bourgeoisie class...
> Capitalists (the original bourgeoisie) ascended to the upper class
> Working-class men and women descended to the lower class. Realism - Depicted contemporary life and society.
- Objective reality, truth and accuracy.
- Growth is linked to the development of science, history, social science, industrialism and commerce.
- Not necessarily "anti-romanticism".
- Many novels were published in newspapers in "serial form" (roman feuilleton).
- Most popular tended to portray the hidden side of urban life (crime, police spies, criminals). Naturalism - Hippolyte Taine supplied much of the philosophy of naturalism.
- Detailed realism
- Social conditions, heredity, and environment had an inescapable force in shaping human character.
- Subject matter was taken from the working classes and portrayed the misery and harsh conditions of real life.
- Radically against romanticism.
- Used scientific and encyclopedic precision in their novels.
> Flaubert was famous for his years of research for historical details. Parnasse - Group of writers known as the "Parnassians".
- Objective.
- Strove for exact and faultless workmanship.
- Selected exotic and classical subjects, which they treated with a rigidity of form and an emotional detachment.
- Used Théophile Gautier's notion of art for art's sake and the pursuit of the beautiful. Symbolism and the
Birth of the Modern - Themes: Will, fatality, unconscious forces, sex (such as prostitutes), the city, irrational phenomena (delirium, dreams, narcotics, alcohol), and sometimes a vaguely medieval setting.
- Edgar Allen Poe had a significant influence.
- Tone: Highly variable, at times realistic, imaginative, ironic or detached.
- Did not stress moral or ethical ideas.
- Poetry:
> Subtle suggestions instead of precise statements.
> Evoke moods and feelings by musicality (repeated sounds and the cadence of verse) and metrical innovation.
> Free verse. Romanticism - The major battles of romanticism in France was in the theater.
- Dramatic unities of time and place were abolished, tragic and comic elements appeared together and metrical freedom was won.
- Subjects:
> Historic periods
> Doomed noble characters
> Misunderstood artists
- Closet drama:
> Many dramas were not performed, but written for reading only.
- Art is of enormous significance because it gives eternal truths a concrete, material form that the limited human senses can understand.
- 1840's: Enthusiasm for Romantic drama faded and a new "Theatre of Common Sense" replaced it. Melodrama - Melodrama: Greek word for music (melos) - plays with musical interludes.
- Used stock characters (eg. the villain, the damsel in distress), and plots used extraordinary coincidences and unanticipated encounters.
- Novels were often adapted for stage.
- 1791: Most popular theatrical form.
- End of the 19th century:
> Narrowed to a specific genre of salon entertainment.
> Rhythmically spoken words synchronized to an accompaniment of music.
> Genre for authors and composers of lesser standards. Realism - Mid 19th century:
> Popular bourgeoisie theater turned to operettas, farces and moral dramas. Naturalism - Born out of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species (1859), political and economic conditions.
- Realistic.
- Seen in melodrama and the Grand Guignol at the end of the 19th century.
- Émile Zola: Argued that poetry is everywhere instead of in the past or abstraction.
> "There is more poetry in the little apartment of a bourgeois than in all the empty worm-eaten palaces of history."
- André Antoine (1880s): His Théâtre Libre was only open to members and therefore was exempt from censorship. Symbolism - Characterized as "decadent" for lurid content or moral vision. "Well-Made" Play - Pièce bien-fait: based on complicated plots including overheard conversations, mistaken identities, and confrontations.
- Climactic scene (scène à faire): The scene that “had to be done.”
- Eugene Scribe.
- Strong neoclassical flavor, very tight plot and a climax that takes place very close to the end of the action.
- Technique of careful construction and preparation of effects.
- Sardou (1860 - 1900): One of the world's most popular playwrights. Adapted the well-made play to every dramatic type.
-Sardou’s drama led to the term “sardoodledom".
> Epitomized decadence and mindlessness. Walter Scott (1771-1832) - Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet.
- International career.
- Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.
- "Later, with Walter Scott, she became enthralled by things historical and would dream of oaken chests, guardroom, and minstrels” (34).
- “I myself can place at her disposal a library composed of the best authors: Voltaire, Rousseau, Delille, Walter Scott, L’Echo des feuilletons” (75)
- “At the adjoining street corners, huge posters announced in baroque lettering: ‘Lucie de Lammermoor . . . Lagardy . . . Opera, etc" (196).
> Adapted by Donizetti for his opera Lucia di Lammermoor.
- “She found herself back in the familiar books of her youth, deep in Walter Scott”. (197) Victor Marie Hugo
(1802 – 1885) - French poet, novelist, and dramatist.
- Most well-known French Romantic writer.
- Literary fame comes first from his poetry but also his novels and dramatic achievements.
- Poems: Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles.
- Novels: Les Misérables (1862) and Notre-Dame de Paris (1831).

> “She adored children, she kept declaring; they were her comfort, her delight, her passion, and she accompanied her caresses with a lyrical gushing that, to anyone except an inhabitant of Yonville, would have recalled Sachette, in Notre-Dame de Paris. (95) François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand
(1768 – 1848) - French writer, politician, diplomat and historian.
- Considered the founder of Romanticism in French literature.
- Descended from an old aristocratic family.
- Authored the Génie du christianisme in defense of the Catholic faith, in an attempt to understand Christianity through aesthetics and the senses.
- “And on Sundays, for relaxation, excerpts from Le Genie du christianisme” (33).
- “First she went through all the names with Italian endings, like Clara, Louisa, Amanda, Atala” (80).
> Atala: probably a memory of the Indian girl in Chateubriand’s work. - French dramatist and librettist.
- Known for the perfection of the so-called "well-made play" (pièce bien faite).
- Librettist of many of the most successful grand operas. Eugène Scribe (Augustin Eugène Scribe)
(1791 – 1861) - Pen name was Mélesville.
- French dramatist.
- First gained praise in 1811 for his comedy l’Oncle rival.
- He wrote in all genres - dramas, melodramas, comedies, vaudevilles, opera librettos
- Collaborative author of more than 340 plays.
- Enjoyed his most consistent successes with Scribe.
> “She rather liked Galsuinde, and Yseult or Leocadie, even more”. (80)
• May be a memory of the heroine in a play of that name by Scibe and Melesville (1824). Mélesville (Baron Anne-Honoré-Joseph Duveyrier)
(1787 – 1865) - French playwright.
- Many of his plays were remarked upon for their witty cheerfulness, and for not excluding sensitivity and everything else that was in vogue in the 19th century.
- Wrote vaudevilles, though he also had success with drama and even high comedy.
> “’Well’, said Binet, ‘I once say a play called Le Gamin de Paris, where there’s this character – an old general – that’s absolutely tiptop! He really gets the better of a rich young fellow who’s seduced a working girl, and in the end…’” (193)
Le Gambin de Paris: a light comedy by Bayard and Vanderbuch (1836). Jean-François Alfred Bayard
(1796 – 1853) - French writer, poet and politician.
- His family was of French provincial nobility.
- First French romantic poet.
- Famous for his partly autobiographical poem, "Le lac" ("The Lake")
> Regrets the passing of love, undermined by death but recalled in the beauty of natural scenery.
- “So she let herself drift along the meanders of Lamartinian melancholy” (36).
- She even began singing: ‘Un soir, t’en souvient-il? nouse voguions, etc’ (228).
> Verse 4 of Lamartine’s Le Lac. Alphonse de Lamartine
(Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine) (1790 – 1869) - Born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie.
- French writer, best known for his historical novels of high adventure.
- Novels: The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers.
- Began his career by writing plays.
- Faced discrimination because of his ethnic African ancestry (more than three-quarters French).
- Had numerous affairs, about 40 in total.
> “Night was thickening along the walls, where they could still make out, half lost in shadow, bright glints of garish colour from four prints representing four scenes out of La Tour de Nesle, with captions below in Spanish and French”. (209)
• Melodrama by Dumas pere and Gaillardet (1832). Set in the early fourteenth century. The prints were four lithographs by Lordereau published in 1840. Alexandre Dumas (pere)
(1802 – 1870) - French writer.
- Best known for his 1787 novel Paul et Virginie, a very popular children's book.
> Describes the close friendship between two French children, which grows into adolescent love in the exotic world of the Indian Ocean and which ends in tragedy.
- Highly influential work of French Pre-Romanticism.
- “She had read Paul et Virginie, and had dreamed of the bamboo hut of Domingo the black man and Fidele the dog, but above all of the sweet friendship of a dear little brother who’d pick crimson fruit for you from great trees taller than steeples, or come running barefoot over the sand to bring you a bird’s nest” (32-33). Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre
(1737 – 1814) - French novelist and playwright.
- Keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society.
- Regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature.
- Renowned for his multifaceted characters, who are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human.
> “In those of Balzac and George Sand, she searched for vicarious gratification of her own secret desires” (52). Honoré de Balzac
(1799 – 1850) George Sand
[Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin]
(later Baroness Dudevant)
(1804 – 1876) - Best known by her pseudonym George Sand.
- French novelist and memoirist.
- First published novel: Rose et Blanche (1831).
- First independent novel: Indiana (1832)
- Wrote novels, rural novels, theatre and autobiographical pieces as well as literary criticism and political texts.
- Stressed a defiance of conventional morality.
- "There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved."
- Wore men’s clothing and smoked in public, which made people question her reputation.
> “In those of Balzac and George Sand, she searched for vicarious gratification of her own secret desires” (52). Bibliography How does art influence morals and values. How did it influence Emma's and why was she so dependent on it? Romanticism was ultimately replaced by realism. What does this say about romantics and their ideals? How is romanticism destructive? Steuben's Esmerelda
> “A large porcelain stove was humming away beneath a cactus plant that filled the whole alcove and hanging against the oak-grained wallpaper, framed in black wood, were Steuben’s Esmeralda and Schopin’s Putiphar” (268). - Built in 1775
- Destroyed by fire in 1876
- Capacity of 2000
- Located in Rouen

> "They arrived at the entrance to the theater before the doors had been opened" (196). Théâtre des Arts
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