The emphasis is wisely on lesser-known areas of nineteenth-century culture: there is nothing on familiar subjects such as the international exhibitions, British responses to the Dreyfus Affair, or French responses to the trials of Oscar Wilde. In the final essay Isabelle Avila discusses the interactions between the French and British geographical societies in the s, showing how geography aimed for international scientific collaboration but was inevitably inseparable from national self-interest and colonialist expansion; although there was much mutual recognition and collaboration, it is interesting to note that the French practice of translating British maps was not reciprocated.
But these caveats do not detract from the quality of the essays themselves. This book shows us how history repeats itself and how we can still learn from the past although the British may not want a revolution of their own, some more equality would be very welcome.
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Full size image. Victor Hugo was an influential proponent of Romanticism.
Victor Hugo is remembered as a beloved writer of the people, who knew how to write with simplicity and power of common joys and sorrows. He is also remembered for the verbal inventiveness and technical virtuosity with which he created poems ranging from intimate lyrics to visionary and prophetic epics.
It was a chaotic time for Victor, continually uprooted from Paris to set out for Elba or Naples or Madrid, yet always returning to Paris with his mother, whose royalist opinions he initially adopted.
From , at least, Hugo had conceived ambitions other than the law. He was already filling notebooks with verses, translations—particularly from Virgil—two tragedies, a play , and elegies. In he published a new verse collection, Nouvelles Odes , and followed it two years later with an exotic romance, Bug-Jargal Eng. The Slave King.
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In he also published Odes et ballades , an enlarged edition of his previously printed verse, the latest of these poems being brilliant variations on the fashionable Romantic modes of mirth and terror. The youthful vigour of these poems was also characteristic of another collection, Les Orientales , which appealed to the Romantic taste for Oriental local colour.
In these poems Hugo, while skillfully employing a great variety of metres in his verse and using ardent and brilliant imagery, was also gradually shedding the legitimist royalism of his youth. Hugo emerged as a true Romantic, however, with the publication in of his verse drama Cromwell. The subject of this play, with its near-contemporary overtones, is that of a national leader risen from the people who seeks to be crowned king.
He demanded a verse drama in which the contradictions of human existence—good and evil, beauty and ugliness, tears and laughter—would be resolved by the inclusion of both tragic and comic elements in a single play. Such a type of drama would abandon the formal rules of classical tragedy for the freedom and truth to be found in the plays of William Shakespeare.
Cromwell itself, though immensely long and almost impossible to stage, was written in verse of great force and originality.
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In fact, the preface to Cromwell , as an important statement of the tenets of Romanticism, has proved far more important than the play itself. Hugo immediately retorted with Hernani , the first performance of which, on February 25, , gained victory for the young Romantics over the Classicists in what came to be known as the battle of Hernani.
In this play Hugo extolled the Romantic hero in the form of a noble outlaw at war with society, dedicated to a passionate love and driven on by inexorable fate. While Hugo had derived his early renown from his plays, he gained wider fame in with his historical novel Notre-Dame de Paris Eng. The novel condemns a society that, in the persons of Frollo the archdeacon and Phoebus the soldier, heaps misery on the hunchback Quasimodo and the gypsy girl Esmeralda. While Notre-Dame was being written, Louis-Philippe , a constitutional king, had been brought to power by the July Revolution.
Related Le dernier jour dun condamné (French Edition)
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