Les Jeunes France et autres récits humoristiques by Théophile Gautier

By Théophile Gautier

"Les Jeunes France", c'est le nom que l'on donnait, dans les années 1830, à l. a. jeunesse extravagante et chevelue gagnée à l'art romantique et aux idées contestataires. Dans ce recueil paru en 1833, Théophile Gautier, qui fut l'un des leurs, dépeint avec humour et panache leurs excès de langage, de conduite et de parure. discussion de deux ivrognes sur les vertus de leurs maîtresses (Sous l. a. table), vie d'un peintre basculant dans los angeles démence (Onuphrius), photos de romantiques excentriques (Daniel Jovard, Élias Wildmanstadius), récit déjanté d'une orgie (Le Bol de punch), étude des mérites respectifs de l'amour domestique et de los angeles ardour very unlikely (Celle-ci et celle-là) : ces six « romans goguenards », injustement méconnus, dénoncent l. a. folie de toute folie et marquent, deux ans avant Mademoiselle de Maupin, l. a. véritable entrée de Gautier en littérature. A los angeles suite des Jeunes France, cette édition rassemble une série de chroniques parues dans l. a. presse à los angeles même époque, qui témoignent d'un même esprit de dérision : Gautier y évoque les travers du bourgeois parisien, l. a. laideur des acteurs, ou encore l'embonpoint des écrivains...

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This is the place to thank a famous foreign writer,* who has kindly given some attention to the author of this book. May I show my esteem and gratitude by pointing out an error he seems to have made? ’ There wasn’t any need to study that profession of faith so solemnly. The author never has deviated from it, and never will. It can be reconciled readily enough with ‘the ugly ought to be imitated, the grotesque ought to be a component of art’. The two statements aren’t contradictory. The distinction between beauty and ugliness in art doesn’t correspond exactly to that in nature.

All these creations have an inherently vigorous, profound character from which the ancient world apparently tended to flinch. The Greek Eumenides are decidedly less horrible, and therefore decidedly less real, than the witches of Macbeth. Pluto* isn’t the devil. In my view, a most original book could be written about the use of the grotesque in art. Such a book could show what powerful effects modern artists have drawn from that fruitful type, which is still attacked by conservative critics today.

Callot’s orgies, Salvator Rosa’s Temptation with its extraordinary devil, his Battle with all its ghastly figures of death and carnage, Bonifacio’s Triboulet, Murillo’s fleabitten beggar, and the carvings in which Benvenuto Cellini makes fun of such hideous figures in arabesques and acanthuses, are ugly things from the standpoint of nature, beautiful things from that of art; while nothing is ‘uglier’ than all the Greek and Roman profiles, the patchwork ideal beauty emitted by the second-rate school of David* with its fluffy purplish colouring.

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