Alfred Victor, Comte de Vigny (27 March 1797 – 17 September 1863) was a French poet and early leader of French Romanticism. He also produced novels, plays, and translations of Shakespeare. As an army officer with conservative and royalist views, Vigny differed sharply from most other French Romantics.
1 Biography 2 Works 3 References 4 Further reading 5 External links
Vigny was born in
Portrait of Vigny, attributed to François Kinson.
Though he was promoted to first lieutenant in 1822 and to captain the
following year, the military profession in time of peace bored him.
After taking several leaves of absence he abandoned military life in
1827, having already published his first poem Le Bal in 1820 and an
ambitious narrative poem Éloa in 1824 on the popular romantic theme
of the redemption of Satan.
Prolonging successive leaves from the army, he settled in
Alfred de Vigny, by Antoine Maurin, 1832.
The visit of an English theater troupe to
Sketch of Alfred de Vigny, by Prosper Mérimée.
Although Vigny gained success as a writer, his personal life was not happy. His marriage was a disappointment; his relationship with Marie Dorval was plagued by jealousy; and his literary talent was eclipsed by the achievements of others. He grew embittered. After the death of his mother in 1838 he inherited the property of Maine-Giraud, near Angoulême, where it was said that he had withdrawn to his 'ivory tower' (an expression Sainte-Beuve coined with reference to Vigny). There Vigny wrote some of his most famous poems, including La Mort du loup and La Maison du berger. Proust regarded La Maison du berger as the greatest French poem of the 19th century. In 1845, after several unsuccessful attempts to be elected, Vigny became a member of the Académie française.
Tomb of Alfred de Vigny, his mother and his wife at Montmartre cemetery, Paris.
In later years, Vigny ceased to publish. He continued to write,
however, and his Journal is considered by modern scholars to be a
great work in its own right, though it awaits a definitive scholarly
edition. Vigny considered himself a thinker as well as a literary
author; he was, for example, one of the first French writers to take a
serious interest in Buddhism. His own philosophy of life was
pessimistic and stoical, but celebrated human fraternity, the growth
of knowledge, and mutual assistance as high values.
He was the first in literary history to use the word spleen in the
sense of woe, grief, gall, descriptive of the condition of the soul of
modern man. In his later years he spent much time preparing the
posthumous collection of poems now known as Les Destinées, for which
his intended title was Poèmes philosophiques. It concludes with
Vigny's final message to the world, L'Esprit pur.
Vigny developed what is believed to have been stomach cancer in his
early sixties. He endured its torments with exemplary stoicism for
several years: A voir ce que l'on fut sur terre et ce qu'on
laisse/Seul le silence est grand ; tout le reste est faiblesse.
('When we see what we were on Earth and what we leave behind/Only
silence is great; everything else is weakness.') Vigny died in
Le Bal (1820).
Éloa, ou La Sœur des Anges (1824).
Poèmes Antiques et Modernes (1826).
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Shylock (1828, adapted from the original by William Shakespeare).
Le More de Venise (1829, translation of Othello).
La Maréchale d'Ancre (1830).
L'Almeh: Scènes du Désert (1831, unfinished).
Quitte pour la Peur (1833).
Servitude et Grandeur Militaires (1835).
Daphné (1837, unfinished).
Les Destinées (1864, illustrated by
^ Liukkonen, Petri. "Alfred de Vigny". Books and Writers
Bianco, Joseph (1990). "A Moveable Exile: Alfred de Vigny's 'Moise',"
Modern Language Studies, Vol. XX, No. 3, pp. 78–91.
Chamard, Henri (1917). "Alfred de Vigny," The Modern Language Review,
Vol. XII, No. 4, pp. 450–468.
Compton, C.G. (1903). "Alfred de Vigny," The Living Age, Vol. CCXXXVI,
Croce, Benedetto (1924). "Alfred de Vigny." In: European Literature in
the Nineteenth Century. London: Chapman & Hall,
Denommé, Robert Thomas (1989). Nineteenth-century French Romantic
Poets. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia
Dey, William Morton (1936). "The Pessimism and Optimism of Alfred de
Vigny," Studies in Philology, Vol. XXXIII, No. 3, pp. 405–416.
Doolittle, James (1967). Alfred de Vigny. New York: Twayne Publishers.
Draper, F.W.M. (1923). The Rise and Fall of the French Romantic Drama.
New York: E.P. Dutton & Company.
François, Victor E. (1906). "Sir Walter Scott and Alfred de Vigny,"
Modern Language Notes, Vol. XXI, No. 5, pp. 129–134.
Gauthier, Théophile (1906). "Alfred de Vigny." In: Portraits of the
Day. New York: The Jenson Society, pp. 171–174.
Gosse, Edmund (1905). "Alfred de Vigny." In: French Profiles. London:
William Heinemann, pp. 1–34.
Gribble, Francis (1910). The Passions of the French Romantics. London:
Chapman & Hall.
Hay, Camilla H. (1945). "The Basis and Character of Alfred de Vigny's
Stoicism," The Modern Language Review, Vol. XL, No. 4,
Higgins, D. (1949). "Social Pessimism in Alfred de Vigny," The Modern
Language Review, Vol. XLIV, No. 3, pp. 351–359.
Hope, William G. (1939). "The 'Suffering Humanitarian' Theme in
Shelly's Prometheus Unbound and in Certain Poems of Alfred de Vigny,"
The French Review, Vol. XII, No. 5, pp. 401–410.
Majewski, Henry F. (1989). Paradigm & Parody: Images of Creativity
in French Romanticism. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
McLeman–Carnie, Janette (1998). "Monologue: A Dramatic Strategy in
Alfred de Vigny's Rhetoric," Nineteenth-Century French Studies, Vol.
XXVI, No. 3/4, pp. 253–265.
Mill, John Stuart (1859). "Writings of Alfred de Vigny." In:
Dissertations and Discussions, Vol. I. London: John W. Parker &
Son, pp. 287–329.
Rooker, J.K. (1914). "The Optimism of Alfred de Vigny," The Modern
Language Review, Vol. IX, No. 1, pp. 1–11.
Smith, Maxwell (1939). "Alfred de Vigny, Founder of the French
Historical Novel," The French Review, Vol. XIII, No. 1,
Sokolova, T.V. (1973). "
Alfred de Vigny
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