Vigny, Alfred, count de

(1797-1863)
   writer
   Born in Touraine to an old noble family, Alfred, count de Vigny was raised in the cult of arms and honor. He had dreams of military glory (1814) but became disillusioned by garrison life. in 1822, he wrote his poem Moïse, followed by Éloa ou la Sœur des anges, an epic that had great success. He often frequented the literary milieu, especially the cénacle (where he met victor hugo) and, between 1822 and 1826, put together a collection, Poèmes antiques et modernes (completed in 1837) while writing Cinq-Mars, an historical novel that evokes the nobility that had been humbled by absolute monarchy. His religious pessimism, already apparent in Daphne (1837), was intensified by personal tragedies. Disappointed further (a reserved welcome into the Académie Française in 1845 and a political defeat in 1848), he meanwhile proclaimed his humanistic optimism in the poems Destinées (posthumous, 1864). His personal writings were also published posthumously (1867) and reveal his thoughts haunted by destiny, the silence of God, and the indifference of Nature, as well as his sense of deep spiritual isolation. A passionate reader of the Bible, he placed powerful yet simple symbols in his work, as he speaks of the divine and the supernatural. An intellectual and philosophical writer who would later be eclipsed by his contemporaries (Victor Hugo and alfred de musset), Vigny was regarded as the initial leader of the early years of romanticism.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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