Supercilious Ivy League High Tory
- Aug 29, 2011
La Gazette de France
Treatise on the Four Levels of Authority
In the exercise of the organic bounds of society we find that power must be held by those who legitimately exercise it. We in France have seen within our lifetimes the state we should be thrust into if the authority of a society is abused and seized by men who lack legitimacy. We must look first towards where legitimacy comes from. Legitimacy for Hobbes comes from the will of a people to secure peace out of the constant and total war of the state of nature. To accomplish this peace the sovereign is entitled to dispense his justice so as to bind men against the wicked nature of their souls. Verily, man must be bound against his wickedness, but this is not done by a sovereign who derives his legitimacy from the contract of the people. For who can a sovereign rule over a people from whom he derives all his power. If the King’s power comes from the assent of the people in the beginning stages of civilization as Hobbes contends, why then as Hobbes further states it is impossible for those people or their descendents to withdraw the conditions of their contract. Indeed, if the authority of a king resides in an agreement from the people then the people, as said by Locke, those people would be able to rightfully rebel against the king in the case of the sovereign’s breaking of the contract.
This understanding of authority is tainted fully by its English protestantism, coming out of a truly non-Catholic tradition. For us French, faithful to God and the Holy Mother Church to the last we must look to tradition and God for legitimate politics. The lies of Rousseau state that all men were equal and were thrust into inequality, but this is plainly false. Where in the world are all men equal? Some men have been endowed by God with great talents in the arts or natural strength so as to perform great feats. Others are born with a great propensity towards virtue, the greater part of these men becoming monks or clergy, while some men are unfortunately born with an innate weakness to vice and the temptations of the Devil. Why should we not observe this fact also in the nature of politics, wealth, and authority? Even the great liberal Jefferson admits to the need for an aristocracy to guide the policies of the land. Rousseau’s position that this fundamentally obvious inequality is not the result of the natural state of mankind but the artificial construction of property, out of which grows civilization itself, cannot be correct because nowhere can we find this purported state of nature except in the Americas where the savages have long dwelt with little notions of civilized life. However, when we examine the state of life in the tribes of the Americas we find a society of inequality as well. Superior hunters are more honored in the tribes and rudimentary systems of hierarchy maintain a social cohesion, both more and less strict in differing ways than our own. It is clear to me then that the natural inequality of man is the design of God, who loves all people but has created them for different roles.
If God created man for the purpose of the state of civilization then from Him we must derive the authority of society. The Law of God in all things we shall henceforth call the Theonomy, the foundation of all things. Theonomy is the ultimate power of God and rightness of his strictures. What God commands is done should he will it and those who have been granted free will act in accordance with the statutes of the Lord, else they be condemned to hellfire. This condemnation of the sinful man is the ultimate expression of God’s judicial power, the highest form of the same judicial power we find on Earth. The power of the Theonomy runs through all forms of authority as it is in the permission of God’s Law that any form of law may be created. Without the Lord’s permission a law cannot be said to be legitimate as the only source of legitimacy in this world based not in the ignoble pursuits of the flesh or temptations of the Devil is the transcendent power of the Theonomy.
Let us now consider the lowest of the four levels of authority, that of the Autonomy. Man holds natural authority over himself as granted by God when he endowed mankind with free will. Man is autonomous in his wills and freedoms, that ultimately of obedience to God and legitimate authority or disobedience. The Autonomy of man is first subordinated to the will and power of the father of a family, the Patronomy. The Patronomy is the legitimate authority of the father of the family, the paterfamilias. The father of the family is the head of the family in the same manner that God the Father is the father over the family of all peoples. The father of the family thereby executes the will of God in the realm of the family, the foundational unit upon which society is built because it is from the kin group that all higher levels of man’s organization is modeled and finds expression. From this Patronomy, with the higher blessings of Theonomy, we find the final form of legitimate authority, the Heteronomy.
As the paterfamilias rules his household by the statutes of Christ, the King rules his kingdom by the statutes of the Lord. The King serves as Father to one nation as God serves as Farther to all nations above each nation’s divinely ordained King. This is why we find the name of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Truly, this Heteronomy is legitimate only in the continuous support of Theonomy, which rests in the ordination of the Lord and the support of the King through the Church. The ultimate goal of the Heteronomy is to bring the nation into the faith of God. To do this we must aid the poor, strengthen the Church, and build up the institutions of the nation in reflection of the organic form of God’s commands. To find the purest expression of this Heteronomy the fullness of power must be exercised in the hand of the ordained King, who is the father. Like how the father may send out his brother or son to aid in the enactment of his commands and the public life of the family, the King will have ministers to aid in the complex running of government. However, ultimate and complete authority must remain in the hands of the sovereign as in the father, and those ministers must never enter in the government of His Majesty seeking to enact any form of policy that runs counter to the mission of the Heteronomy or the person of the King.
Le Vicomte de Saint Fulgent, le Ministre de la guerre
[Censored everywhere for a good while.]Confessions d’un enfant martyr
In the early months following the Affair of the 17th, a new novel, Confession d’un enfant martyr, was published by Armand Thiers, unabashed by the dismal reception of his first book, Les Arpents malheureux. Exploring the themes of sufferance and familial rivalries, Confession, set in the bucolic landscape of 19th century France, is the story of a young child, Henriette Montignasse, who enjoys an idyllic youth in Villiers-le-Bel with her parents, Marguerite and Henri. However, as she turns nine years old, Henriette ’s mother is diagnosed with ergotism, initiating a long descent into folly, which forces her to be committed in a hospital in Paris, severely taxing the strained family finances. As Marguerite illness progressed, her husband falls in love with a polish socialite, Sophie Dansk, who eyes the family possessions for her own.
Following the death of her mother and the remarriage of her father, Henriette falls under the evil rule of her new mother in law, who as soon as she produced a son from her new union, turned at every occasion against the poor little girl and her siblings, sparing no cruelty and encouraging their father to beat them regularly under the falsest of pretense. When two of Philippa’s siblings die, one falling from the roof of a barn, the other one found inert in his bed, suspicions is aroused about Sophie’s behavior, however, they are rapidly dashed by the parish priests, who being secretly in love with Sophie, declared that nothing was ill-looking.
The situation quickly got worse of Henriette, as the priest, Father Bougre, visiting her parish school asked a very difficult question about the Bible to the young girl which she was unable to answer. Notifying her parents of her lack of exertion in her duties, the Father only led her to be beaten even more. Sophie is ingenuous in abusing the young Henriette , slapping her, hitting her with an old nailed bat, dropping hot wax on her skin and locking her for days in a little room with little food when her father was away.
After an incident which left visible scars to her face, her teacher at the parish school, Frère Lebon, tries to intervene as he suspect that she is beaten quite above the acceptable custom. When Henriette stops showing up for parish school, the good Frère Lebon manages to find a reason to visit her home, and witness the young girl being beaten by her mother in law by the window. He quickly reported to his superior, Father Bougre, who stalled him, arguing that Sophie Dansk was in her own write to instill discipline in the child.
However, soon after, the news spread that the poor little Henriette had died of typhus. Having none of it, Frère Lebon overcame his superior’s opposition and told the whole story to the authorities, who after a brief inquiry, quickly arrested the evil matron, deploring that, had they known sooner, the child might have been saved. Overcome with grief, Father Bougre commits suicide.
Once again, with Confessions d’un enfant martyr, Thiers played the fine line between the various audiences in France. The clergy, playing at the same time the role of a villain and of an ally of Henriette ’s, has ample examples in the book to shield itself from any blame. In the liberal readership, the implicit critique of the parish schools and of the idea of instilling obedience in children to an extreme elicits much emotion.
On the stylistic side, while contemporary in its setting, the write borrowed heavily from the romanticism by exploring rather dark emotions and concentrating on the ordeal of the young Henriette , from a deeply personal and individual point of view. The use of a feminine heroin-victim also stirred some controversy by exposing the frailty of the fairer sex and the cruelty still residing in many parts of France toward domestic violence.
Finally, the titled, confession of a martyred child, played on the obsession of the ultraroyalist government of the time with the martyrdom of King Louis XVI, while ignoring the plight of the common people.
On the Romantic and the Classical
It has been four years since I returned to France having lived for a time in Italy. Amongst the ruins of its landscape, I was impressed continually by the presence of the passage of time, and of its one palpable symptom, change. This will come as little shock to devoted readers of my work, who will no doubt appreciate for themselves already the extent to which this reality was communicated to me. Yet, arriving back in France, many years after the initial impression, I cannot help but feel that its first image has warped so as to be recognisable no longer. What was once a literary reflection on the Ancients and their transience has been taken and shaped into a celebration of all that is current today, and all that will be forgotten tomorrow.
France has, in my experience, a unique relationship with its authors. There is no other country in Europe where I have felt so strongly the sensation that a country's literature is governed by its politics. Until only lately, this sensation had a practical outlet in the form of the censors, whose zealous oversight ensured that much of what the French read cohered to how the French already thought. In recent times, however, with this obstacle no longer applicable to the literary world, a great rift has becomes apparent, evident in the gulf between those for whom literature must remain a celebration of France—indeed, a vindication of its righteousness—and those for whom literature remains the principle means of communicating certain fundamental truths about human existence.
The fervour with which the first sect prosecutes its mission is befitting of so great a Catholic nation as France. Ultramonatism has worked itself into the literary fabric of France such that, today, the chief arbiter of taste is far removed from the general reading public. That is, we writers exist at the mercy of the Royal Council, whose views and dogmas are sacrosanct and incontrovertible. From the Council, it is given to us that the style of our times is the Classical, which stands in stark contrast to the dread creep of Romanticism. There is little room in the discourse for anything in between.
To my amateur reckoning, the Romantic and the Classical are but two sides of the same coin. Through both, we see manifest in literary form the attempts of learned men to appropriate for themselves and their patrons the glory of some imagined ideal state, be it Ancient or modern. The Classicists are beholden to an empyrean vision of harmony and order, whose proper usage will make audible the music of the spheres, and whose deployment will see transubstantiated prose into a vessel of the Sublime. Those who advance such an idealistic view of how literature must, by necessity, be, do not realise the extent to which they ape the idealism of the Romantics—who ape the Classicists in turn. To one beholden to the Royal Council, the Ancient ideal is noble because it comes fully formed and codified as wisdom received from Classical times. They find distasteful the idea that the Romantics have no such communication with good taste, and instead base their idealism upon subjunctive and folkloric appeals to Medievalism. Each despises the other on the basis of when in history he believes humanity to have discovered its ideal state. Neither realises that he and his enemy alike are guilty of the same charge, that which each throws at the other.
How ironic it is, therefore, that to attempt an escape from this dichotomy yields little fruit. Insofar as I have spent my career writing the novels I have wanted to write, rather than working so as to satisfy more basic mortal needs, I have sought always to value above all else the belief that the world, and human life within it, are worthy of being recorded in the state in which they appear to us. It is the belief of both the Classicist and the Romantic that, in order that it may be presented truthfully, the world must be filtered through the lens of the wisdom of history—on the one hand, pure reason; on the other, a religiose devotion to identity. This belittles Man, whose achievements remain the one constant of all literature, regardless of its politics. To search for deeper truth by discarding that which we can readily perceive is to resort not to reason, but to atavism and obscurantism. If we may learn anything from the Ancients, it is to be found in the fleeting nature of their existence. In searching for a stable fundament upon which we might build a proper school of literature, working under the assumption that such a school is required at all, we have set upon constructing our visions of the modern world on entablatures long since worn down by the passage not of mere decades or centuries, but of millennia.
The absurdity of this premise becomes self-evident when it is examined for but the briefest of moments. The only true literature for our times can be that which embraces the richness of Man's achievement without seeking to pass it first through the lens of history, to judge it against some imagined pinnacle of creation. Above all, therefore, literature must abandon its conviction that truth is absent from modern life. It must embrace that the opposite is true: that all that was present and true about the literature of the past remains true today, even if realised in a different form. The lesson passed down to us from Antiquity is that little lasts but our art, which in any case stays largely as it was. It is futile, then, to argue over how closely our own eventual legacy should match that which we have already inherited. The job of the writer today is therefore to do away with these political considerations and return to that which will sustain him always: the durability of the human spirit, and its continued capacity for the production of wonder.
On the Guerre Culturelle in France, Political and Literary
The most recent leaks within the government of the upcoming cabinet shuffle are the greatest representation of the failures of the Ultraroyalistes as a whole. They seek to combine the mutually disinclined elements into a government capable of doing anything whatsoever. This is perhaps most patently clear in the presentation of a trio of men, the new Minister of Education in the form of the common Saint Germain (unrelated to the comte de Saint Germain), the Minister of Finance de Villèle, and the Minister of Justice the viscomte de Chateaubriand.
This trio of men, cultural elites of France, have a long and dissatisfied history towards one another. Saint Germain the unwilling leader of the Romanticists, de Villèle the stern guardian of the Classicialists, and Chateaubriand the political writer of Ultraroyaliste tomes. The infighting of these men, primarily found in the body of the Classicalists against their Romanticist brethren, could not and does not stop once these individuals enter the Government. Both factions of France's literary world will continue to write and produce art, and in some cases, stylistic propaganda to propogate the failures of one side to the strengths of another.
This disunity is seen not only in these individual's political life, but in their civil life too. A Guerre Culturelle is developing, a cancerous tumour upon the arts of France. Although I try to stay out of it as much as possible, even I, Saint Germain, feel the pull to infight with the Classicalists that habitually slander my name and art. Alas, I will not bow to the whims of my baser instincts like lesser writers, who engage in this Guerre Culturelle like vultures, seeking self satisfaction and power in the circles of High Paris.
I am a man of letters, a developer of society and a painter of pictures with my imagination. I will not and can not support a movement that seeks to undermine France and the common royalism that all men of this nation seek to attain. My idealism will not falter in the wake of Saint-Aiganesque scruplelessness, de Bersett stubbornness, or a Cazalièn desire for attention and fame. The people of France deserve the idealism that defines their hopes and desires, and thus I must reject any and all presentations of the Government in its current form.
Furthermore, I will be crossing the floor and joining the Opposition. However do not take this as a notion that I am equivalent to some Durand or common marquis of indeterminate politics. My path is clear, to establish a common royalism, a modern royalism, for all men of France to embrace without the determinant of fanciful egos, subsumed promises, or leaking, sinking governments.
To His Majesty, I apologise. I cannot stand with your Government while it serves not your interests, but it's own.
To the People of France, have faith and confidence, for I will see that the faith that you place in God, King, and Government will not be betrayed.
Henri-Maurice de Saint Germain, COSM
Copies of this article are sent to the Dioclétien and Constitutional for reprinting if they desire.
Une scène de la vie littéraire
A considerable shift occurred in French literature around 1827 as, more than ever, the act of choosing to write in one style over another became a political one. A war of tastes waged between the Royal Council of French Studies, the Bourbon-backed institution who favoured the Classicist idiom, and the unorganised ranks of the Romantics, late to arrive in France but fast to take hold. Previously, to identify with either had been tantamount to a tacit statement of support for the ministry of the day. The Romantics were by nature men of the Right, their idealism formed around utopian visions of paternalism and noblesse oblige, whilst the Classicists were considered supporters of the Bourbon regime ipso facto, often being its direct servants. This changed after a series of blunders made by the ministry of the Duc de Sully drove leading Romantics like Chateaubriand and Saint-Germain into opposition—not on the Left, per se, but no longer unquestioningly enthusiastic about the Bourbon programme.
Somewhat awkwardly within this battle fit Alexandre Cazal and a group of writers around him, most notably including a young Honoré de Balzac. Cazal, whose influence in Parisian literary circles was often felt more through his role on the editorial staff at radical hebdomadaire Le Constitutionnel, rather than via the salons, was ambivalent about both dominant schools. In one essay, which attracted some criticism from Romantic circles who felt themselves slighted, Cazal suggested that Classicism and Romanticism were two sides of the same coin in that both expressed a yearning for some other, supposedly ideal point in time at which human creativity was seen to have peaked. For the Classicists, this meant veneration of the Ancient world. For the Romantics, the result was a folkloric nostalgia for the simplicity of the medieval. In Cazal's eyes, neither style was suitably equipped to represent the modern world accurately so long as its main point of reference remained stubbornly in an imagined past.
Financially, this refusal to play the game was a poor career move. Variously between the years of 1821–7, Cazal had been forced to write and publish a series of feuilletons under the pseudonym “Outremer” so as to maintain a healthy income. Their more obviously populistic tendencies (Gothicism, adventurism, exoticism and so on) ensured they sold well—but this eventually did him little favours in the notoriously faddish Paris. During the Romantic boom towards the middle of the decade, in one of history's more curious applications of Gresham's law, Cazal slowed his Outremer output until he was producing only a handful of vignettes a year. In their place, consumer demand was satisfied by the innumerable acolytes of Saint-Germain, happy to let loose their potboiling visions upon the Parisian reading public.
In response to this, Cazal made definite what had been a reality since about 1825: he made the decision to cease the production of his sensationalist dramas, devoting his spare energies instead to other projects. In 1826, he completed a monograph on the life and work of the mercurial Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi, which he had started some four years prior whilst travelling through Italy. The next year, he made plans to travel to Greece and Egypt, hoping to catalogue the Near East much as he had Italy in a continuation of his fascination with ruins. Ultimately, this trip was put on hold due to geopolitical concerns and instead Cazal had to turn his attentions to more domestic pursuits.
Chief amongst these was a desire to record Parisian life, as he had done on occasion as Outremer in his more satirical moods, but this time on a grander scale. For the first time in his career, Cazal was viewed after the publication of Le Tigre Tyrrhénien in 1824 as a respectable figure amongst both conservative and liberal circles. In 1827, the author was still very much in demand at salons across Paris—notably that hosted on the rue de Seine by the playwright Virginie Ancelot. Inspired by the twin stimuli of a fresh exposure to the inner workings of Parisian life and a desire to bring to Paris a literature that better reflected contemporary France, Cazal embarked upon applying his humanistic idiom to his own social circle.
The first result was Cazal's fourth novel, L'auteur inconnu. Published in August 1827 just as Romanticism was creating its fiercest frenzy in Paris, the novel is a parody of salon life in the capital. Its primary character is Héloïse, Mme. de Vernais, who presides over a respected salon on the rue du Bac in the fashionable Faubourg Saint-Germain. De Vernais has aspirations to write for herself, but is held back by her husband, the austere M. Georges, a conservative deputy who has his eyes on a government pension and the Légion d'Honneur. So as to circumvent the stricurres of her marriage, Héloïse devises a ruse by which she believes she will be able to become an author in her own right. She announces to her salon that she has become the patron of a young Romantic writer by the name of Henri Vauberge—whom she may never bring to her salon as he is also her lover. In reality, of course, Vauberge is a fantasy concocted by De Vernais so as to allow her to publish her own work.
Nevertheless, he is a successful fantasy and secures De Vernais a bestseller. This does not bring contentment, however, as Georges learns from a business associate that Vauberge is his wife's supposed lover. Enraged at Héloïse's infidelity, Georges demands that his honour be satisfied through a duel à la mort. Héloïse is now stuck with the choice of ruining either her career or her marriage. Unwilling to risk the collapse of her social life, she arranges for a young officer friend, Capitaine Rossier, whom she is assured is a crack shot, to stand in as ‘Vauberge’, meanwhile trying to convince her husband that duelling to the death would do nothing to help the situation. On the condition that his wife foregoes all contact with her fictitious lover, Georges agrees to revised terms of the duel and the affair proceeds.
Georges and Rossier meet at the appointed hour, under the cloak of night in a small village square outside Paris. Rossier has arranged with Héloïse that he will aim to shoot Georges in the thigh, so as to win the duel without gravely incapacitating the deputy. On the night, however, Rossier suffers from an attack of anxiety and loses his nerve. He misfires, whilst Georges hits him in the arm. He considers this a symbolic victory, having struck back at the supposed source of Vauberge's fame—his writing hand. Héloïse, mortified, is distraught at having brought harm to her friend and confesses everything to her husband in a fit of hysteria. Georges, now fearing that his career will be embroiled in scandal, becomes concerned that no word of the true nature of the duel get out to the salons. He insists that Héloïse continue the pretence of Vauberge's existence so as to save face—hence she ends up keeping her career, telling her salon that the author was gravely injured in the duel, but retains his desire to write. Seeing for herself a more elegant solution, however, she announces some days later that Vauberge took a turn for the worse and died of sepsis. As Paris mourns the enigmatic literary figure, Georges asks his wife why she would so casually abandon her career after all of the trouble she had gone to over it. She replies that abandoning it is the last thing she has done, before announcing that her next book will be under her own name. It's title: “Memoirs of the Lover of Henri Vauberge”.
The book was a notable departure for Cazal from the grander themes of fate, loss and change present in his previous work. Instead, much more focus is placed upon the dynamic between human relationships. Each character is fully constructed, and each—especially Héloïse—imbued with a great sense of agency. The book caused mild scandal for its depiction of a woman being so involved in the masculine world of the duel, especially in a Paris still reeling from the Affair of the 17ième. It is noteworthy today as an early sympathetic examination of the conditions for women in marriage and in society.
The book was received …
Le duc d'Océan
Le duc d'Océan is the sixth and final novel written by Henri-Maurice de St. Germain, at least during his primary period as a mainstream writer for France. A man whose world was rapidly changing, both in the political as well as the literary landscape, this book was meant by Saint Germain to be a fitting fair well to Parisian society and politics as a whole. A man undone by his popularity, Le duc is a novel which cries in pain.
Le duc is an old fisherman from a spot somewhat South of Toulouse, a teeny village of no more than a couple hundred people. A long time fisherman, le duc has the respect of the village, regardless for his rough and plebeian exterior. The story begins with le duc, on his boat, seeing a carriage coming to his house. After making the appropriate alterations to his nets in order to keep for a short absence, le duc makes his way home. There he meets his child, his only son and twin daughters. They, unlike him, have taken to land and stayed there making homes and families. The family is at le duc's home for two reasons, the first to convince him to abandon his boat and the second to take a place on the town council, a much desired position within the village bearing much prestige.
Le duc does not respond, and although the book goes into depths regarding his children's motivations and thoughts during this conversation, the outwardly taciturn duc remains untouched by the author's hand, his motivations only available for those to guess upon. To which, as an answer to his rather worried children, le duc gives wine, bread, and invites them to join him for dinner in the coming eve. This pleases the children immensely, and they flock about le duc with soothing words regarding place, station, wealth, and their futures.
Le duc does not respond, only allowing the odd smile to creep upon his face at the words of his children. As they leave, le duc returns to his boat and continues his earlier fishing. This is where, the hitherto oddly non-Romantic prose of Henri-Maurice ascends into a wicked trail of Romantic imagery. An assault on the senses (for a Classicalist) erupts as the descriptions for the sea, waves, fish, and sunset highlight subtly the feelings held within le duc, but not expressed.
The chapter of le duc at sea ends and the story returns to the children arriving at their father's house. There, the wine is poured, the food arranged, and a pleasant peaces comes over the busy children. However, slowly night descends with no sign of le duc. Worried, they head to the dock, where they find a passage of the bible carved into one of the poles.
John 10:27-29 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
The children, without description, leave. A peace descends upon the pier, the lonely dock made by hand of le duc. The final imagery of the book is one painted in calm colours, describing the swirling blacks and blues of the ocean meeting the night. However, the stars shine brightly, for there is no singular effort that can snuff out God's own light. The book was dedicated to Henri-Maurice's father and was published by the Publications de la Maison d'Herbes in late 1827.
Selvandieu is the first foray into the art of playwrighting by Henri-Maurice de Saint-Germain, inspired in part by his student (Victor Hugo) activities in the area. Although written carefully, Saint-Germain was not bound to the standard conventions of the era, mostly due to his ignorance of the propriety within the art. Although difficult at first, Henri-Maurice's name allowed him to have his play put on in Paris only a month after it was written.
Selvandieu is about Pierre Selvandieu, an artiste extraordinaire who was expelled from Haiti following a slew of publications insulting the government. Written in the style of a comedy, Selvandieu holds a flair to it in that it is very tongue in cheek humour, almost to the realm of low brow. This underpins perhaps Henri-Maurice's desire to get away from the heavy handed narratives that he was used to and towards something a little lighter of heart and of (emotional) effort.
Act One begins with Selvandieu on the boat to France, surrounded by entirely illiterate crew which was not all that incapable of thought. The entire act is Selvandieu, simply assuming no one knows any better due to a lack of education, parades about the boat quoting the Greats and inserting himself where he is generally unwanted. This results in turn on the crew, a surprisingly well read lot for a bunch of people that don't understand the meaning of letters, to consistently prank the young author. Gags with origins in Shakespeare but hugely exaggerated are used, such as prat falls, buckets on heads, and at one point the audience are given little paper balls to throw lightly at Selvandieu. The crescendo of the act comes in the form of a debate between Selvandieu and one of the 'dumber' sailors, Mont Bleu, who articulately undermine's Selvandieu's elitism not as a subject of race or place, but due to him being born "with a head of cabbage".
Act Two takes place in Paris, where Selvandieu attempts to make it big by selling untold amounts of books. This doesn't work as people aren't interested in reading what he is writing, leaving Selvandieu to decide that Parisian society is wrong and it is proper to change their tastes. This results in a trio of miscommunications, such as being mistaken as a paper boy at the printers, being thrown out of a salon after accidentally insulting a noble by calling his tastes "conservative", and finally being thrown out (literally) of his hotel following a comical amount of late bills. Selvandieu, deciding that Paris was not yet ready for him, and totally devoid of cash, runs to the Germanies for inspiration.
Act Three takes place when Selvandieu returns from the Germanies in time to find Paris in a crisis of culture. Writing an incredibly dull book (with different readings having different scripture to keep the audience of their toes) about the Germanic landscape and rivers (in obvious parallels to their rather rotund women) Selvandieu finds a modicum of success. This inspires Selvandieu to write an article thoroughly decrying all other types of literature trash and his literature as the only good type of literature. This results in Saint-Germain (playing himself in the first rendition and played by others in further plays) throwing his books at Selvandieu. This forces Selvandieu from the stage, allowing Saint-Germain to thank the audience for their patience and apologise for their lost fees. The act (and play) ends with Selvandieu crying from the side that his book is better, causing the Saint-Germain to pull out yet another book and throw it into the sides crying "Mon Dieu Selvandieu, quand serai-je débarrassé vous?"*.
The Publications de la Maison d'Herbes was the premier printer for the play.
*"My God Selvandieu, when will I be rid of thee?"
La Vie de Brunelleschi
Alexandre Cazal's work on the life of Filippo Brunelleschi, one of the first men of genius to signal the Renaissance, ultimately reveals less about the man himself than it does various realities of political and literary life in contemporary France. Whilst undoubtedly studious, Cazal's account of Brunelleschi, his early work and his efforts with the dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore are competent without advancing his significance as it was then understood. Instead, the biography, in its treatment of certain characters and events, illuminates some of the more esoteric sympathies held by Cazal himself.
Primarily, the work may be taken as a veiled contribution to the war between the Classicists and the Romanticists that was active in Paris around the time of publication in Autumn 1826. Cazal was dissatisfied by both schools of literature, although he had experimented with both variously earlier in his career, and instead sought to develop a third school that took as its prime influence human society, as opposed to historical ideals. This remained very much an unfashionable trend at the time, and Cazal's work from this period was appreciated best only when it was interpreted by the literary authorities to represent aspects of one of the two dominant schools—a fate Cazal shared with Stendhal, whose fame at this time rested on his pro-Romantic essay Racine et Shakespeare. For Cazal, Brunelleschi was an influential figure in that, whilst undoubtedly a Classicist by technical application, he had used his ad hoc education in the Ancient world not for the purpose of repeating Ancient feats, but so as to apply their knowledge in the development of the modern world. Cazal holds Brunelleschi's famous breakthrough with linear perspective as evidence of his modernity, noting that,
Unencumbered by the need to replicate what he had seen in Rome, Brunelleschi turned his sights towards his own world, Florentine society at the dawn of the Renaissance. His great coup d'ingéniosité in the nave of the cathedral, capturing reality with a vitality and an accuracy whose like had been absent from painted art for centuries, demonstrates that Brunelleschi had no desire to linger under past innovations. He was instead gripped by the strongest will to explore for himself, marvelling in the wonder of the world into which he had been born.
Modern scholars have long debated the extent to which Brunelleschi's classicism is evident in his own work. He disliked the Gothic idiom of his contemporaries, embraced by earlier capomaestri working on Santa Maria del Fiore, discarding its preference for such devices as flying buttresses as graceless. His monomaniacal insistence that the dome be constructed uncentred stems from this aversion to external supports, and hence may be interpreted as a form of Classicism, albeit very much avant la lettre. In Rome, dismissed in Brunelleschi's time as a graveyard of pagan monuments, it was from these same monuments that Brunelleschi drew conclusions about proportion and the Classical orders that would go on to influence his own design. Yet Cazal is agnostic about the extent to which this may be interpreted as Classicism as it would be understood in Paris, 1826. He argues that Brunelleschi's study of Ancient monuments was an expression of the difference between him and his forebears. At a time when Roman statuary was considered a harbinger of bad luck, that Brunelleschi persisted in his study demonstrates an independence of spirit that prized human learning over the truisms of his day. The key thing for Cazal is Brunelleschi's application of his learning. That is, that he studied the Pantheon without rebuilding it shows a sensitivity to his own time absent in those whose preference is for the replication of techniques so tested as to have become themselves a mark of gentility.
An altogether more arcane second, or perhaps third dimension to the work also exists—the first being biography, the second literary criticism. Midway through the text, Cazal diverges from the life of Brunelleschi to provide a discursus on the status and practices of the masons who worked under him. Brunelleschi was famed for his use of ciphers to disguise his work from jealous contemporaries, living in constant fear that they would steal his designs if comprehensible to anyone but himself. In this way, Brunelleschi was forced to make known to his masons his plans via a series of signs and codes outlining how his designs were to be built. Today, this necessity of secrecy amongst the masons of the Renaissance is alive in the form of Freemasonry, which is wholly unrelated to architecture but still uses some of its tools and insignia in its own rites. Cazal's own relationship with the Freemasons has been debated by commentators across the decades. No documentary evidence exists, as far as is known, to settle the question in any definitive manner, but the suggestion has been made, largely on the basis of Cazal's close relationship with Henri de Bourbon-Armentières, that he was a member of the Supreme Lodge of France from some time after the 1820s. That Cazal goes out of his way to compare the relationship between Brunelleschi and his masons during the construction of the Santa Maria del Fiore with that of Hiram of Tyre and his masons in constructing the Temple of Solomon provides a tantalising detail for those pursuing the author's own Masonic links.
Something of a special-interest piece when published, at a time when French enthusiasts were far more likely to be gripped by tales from Egypt or Greece, La vie de Brunelleschi …
Le Royaume Féodal
The first full length book by the Vicomte de Saint Fulgent penned during the campaign of 1827 when everyone expected him to do some sort of campaigning. However, the Vicomte was of the older variety and was philosophically opposed to elections of any kind, let alone campaigning. Rather he spent his time writing a book on political philosophy and history that was presented in the form of a novel set in a sleepy village in the Vendée. The novel centers around two characters, the aging lord of the village and the old peasant who is nearing the end of his life.
The style of Le Royaume Féodal is heavily influenced by the romanticism of Saint-Germain, admired as he was by the Vicomte. The structure of the novel consists of alternating chapters depicting the average day in the life of Le Baron and Jean, the peasant. The first chapter depicts the morning rituals of the Baron who wakes before the dawn to inspect the stores and inventory of his estate, which mirrors the second chapter which depicts the waking of Jean before dawn to check his foodstuffs and ends with him going out to work in the field. Book One of the novel therefore continues throughout the day of hard work. The Baron must ensure that the village is well protected and plans for a new farming initiative on a different plot of land. The peasant works long and hard in the field but returns to his family for a solid dinner and night of charming family experiences. The whole text is punctuated with long and romantic descriptions of the countryside’s views and sounds. The text is notable for its portrayal of prayer and the subtle underpinnings of the religious throughout the first part of the novel, culminating in the shared religious transcendence of the Baron and Jean when they meet viewing the setting sun.
Book Two of the novel is structured in the exact same manner as the first book but portrays one day in the life of the Baron and Jean’s respective sons, who should be taking up their roles after their father's deaths. However, immediately this goes wrong as the new Baron wakes up long after the day has begun, wrapped in silk sheets, in Paris. Meanwhile, the young Jean goes to work without checking on his children or with any direction or drive. The second book of the novel depicts totally alien worlds for the two men as the peasant works his meaningless job for some meagre living and the Baron parties all day long in Versailles. The second book lacks any divine justifications as the Baron’s life is debauched and separate from the land while Jean becomes more and more nihilistic as the day goes on. The final scene of the book is the mirroring of the Old Baron and Jean’s meeting on the road with the Baron and Jean looking at the same night sky from different locations. Both men find the darkness terrifying as they can find no meaning in their lives.
The novel was a unique attempt by Saint Fulgent to describe his general feelings regarding the movement towards absolutism and centralized rule in the France of the 18th century. Rather than directly criticizing the ancien regime or blaming the 18th century kings for the revolution he merely implies this through the intense separation felt by the younger Jean while the older Jean experiences great meaning through his work and relationships in the social order. Expecting the work to be panned by critics the Vicomte did not initially want to publish it, but was convinced to do so by his wife.
Claude Artaud quietly accepted the invitation to the banquet of Lothaire Lécuyer before returning to his work.
In Reponse to the Vicomte de Saint Fulgent
Recently, I have read an essay in La Gazette de France which has truly appalled me. It seems that the counterrevolutionary boogeyman has decided to rear its head once more, this time through the writings of the Vicomte de Saint Fulgent. Therefore, I shall endeavor to refute the arguments of the Vicomte in his "Treatise on the Four Levels of Authority."
Firstly, the Vicomte begins by providing us with a distorted misrepresentation of the Social Contract, and of Hobbes and Locke's views on it. Legitimacy from Hobbes comes from the people insofar as individual come together and, with each other's consent, form a compact, a Social Contract, which will keep peace and prevent the outbreak of violence which would result from the conflict of freedoms in the State of Nature. The Vicomte is correct in his description. However, I don't think it unreasonable for a sovereign to therefore rule as a result of this Social Contract. The people have consented to this Social Contract. They did so because they thought it would be far more beneficial to them than living in the absolute freedom and violence of the State of Nature would be. This government that has been established is one dedicated to preserving and promoting liberty, and so there would be no reason for the people to overthrow this government as this would bring them back to the State of Nature. If the government does break the Social Contract, then yes, the people could certainly overthrow. However, a government which has been established with the purpose of promoting liberty and adhering to the Social Contract would not normally break it.
As for the matter of whether or not the descendants of those who formed the Social Contract have the right to rebel. One must first look at consent. If a person consents to a government established by the Social Contract, they are obviously consenting to the Social Contract as well. A consenting person would not reasonably overthrow their government. How do we know that someone is consenting to the Social Contract? Well, the people who first agreed to the Social Contract have obviously given their consent. Their descendants in a ways inherit this agreement. Most importantly, by living within the society established by the Social Contract, one must therefore consent to it since they are enjoying the fruits of the society.
The Social Contract does not invite the possibility of constant and perpetual revolution. Rather, a revolution to establish liberty ought to have produced a State which is dedicated to promoting and preserving liberty, and that therefore does not need to be overthrown in the name of liberty. A sovereign who does not break the Social Contract ought not to fear being overthrown by those who have consented to the Social Contract.
Then, after some incoherent anti-protestant ramblings, the Vicomte moves on to Rosseau and equality. The Vicomte himself says that according to Rosseau all men were equal, but "were thrust into inequality." Refuting Rosseau's claims about equality outright, the Vicomte then asks "Where in the world are all men equal?" This is precisely what Rosseau argues! Indeed, Rosseau could even answer the Vicomte, in agreement, with his famous motto that "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." I shall like to give the Vicomte the benefit of the doubt, and I am certain that given the chance to clarify his position, he will do so.
At the core of the Vicomte's political philosophy in this writing seems to be that all authority and legitimacy in society is derived from God. Ought not such a claim then be justified? Why should we believe that political authority is derived from God? To refute such a claim does not require one to be an atheist; a Catholic could do so just as well an atheist. Suppose that God does indeed exist. How do we know that it is from that political authority is derived? Suppose that it is as the Vicomte claims it to be. Then shouldn't we therefore try and be ruled by a sovereign who has the greater religious authority? What then is the purpose of secular rulers? Ought not the Pope in Rome, or the Cardinals, or the Priests rule every secular kingdom like a theocracy? Or should we render unto Charles that which is Charles's.
One can best see the weaknesses of the Vicomte's arguments in a man whom has he great admiration for, indeed, one whom has had lauded - Joseph de Maistre. For de Maistre, it is from God that political power is derived from. This leads to a rather odd predicament. Following de Maistre's logic, we see that therefore rulers which have power have it because of God. Indeed, de Maistre is able to rationalize from this belief that Napoleon was a legitimate ruler of France, for he had power, and that even the Jacobins were legitimate rulers, for they had power, and power is from God.
It is clear that we cannot simply reduce political power to being from God, for it can lead to the justification of all sorts of nasty and illegitimate rulers. Society exists because the people whom make it up have consented and agreed to it existing, for its existence benefits them.
La Gazette de France
In Response to the Criticism of M. Artaud
To begin my response to the esteemed liberal author and deputy I must remark that I am most pleased that the works of true royalism are still read and considered among the ranks of the Left. It is wholly constructive in the political life of a nation that the subjects of the King converse over matters theological, political, and social. To that end, I thank the dear Monsieur Artaud for providing me with criticism of my article and material for yet another publication.
On the issue of the Social Contract, the good Monsieur has found that I do indeed understand the principles of Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau. Indeed, he rightly points out that in their perception of world history and the legitimacy of governance the Sovereign may avoid overthrow because the people will not wish to return to the State of Nature. Here, we find a most insidious assertion for two reasons. The first is that there is no evidence that the mystical State of Nature ever truly existed. Indeed, God created Adam as first King of mankind. Therefore, society has been inextricably part of human history since creation. Nowhere may we find anything resembling the equality of the state of the nature, be it noble in Rousseau’s eyes or brutish in Hobbes’s. Even in the savage lands clans of the American continent we find the rule of hierarchy. In the rule of these native savages we may yet find the answer for a latter assertion of the good M. Artaud. The second reason I must reject M. Artuad’s first claim is that this places undue limits on the rule of the Sovereign. It is not the sovereign who must avoid revolution, for even the most wicked monarch rules justly, though his actions may not be so. In the same way that we have had wicked Popes we have had wicked Kings, but God chooses in ways we mere mortals do not understand.
Monsieur Artaud argues that a government conceived in liberty and practicing the constant defense of liberty has nothing to fear from its subjects who have agreed to the Social Contract, but I must now ask what government on the face of this world is meant to defend liberty? And how does liberty need a government to defend it? Is not liberty granted by God alone, as the Americans attest to the natural rights of man? We must now define liberty as it exists in reality, rather than the liberal dreams. Liberty is the free will granted to all men by God, this free will does not grant anyone freedom from the rule of God though. We have the freedom for good or ill, but the judgement of the Lord rewards the just and punishes the wicked. In the same manner all men are free to obey the rightful laws of the King whom he is subject to, or to disobey them. It should come as no surprise to him to find himself punished for the latter by the judges of the realm, whose role is the mirror of that of our heavenly Father. Does God not place upon laws which must be followed on the condition of our eternal souls? How then is this different from the laws of our earthly rulers, who as the good Monsieur notes the Lord demands we “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” The arguments of the good Monsieur turn most dangerous when he affirms his most wickedly revolutionary doctrine with the line, “A sovereign who does not break the Social Contract ought not to fear being overthrown by those who have consented to the Social Contract.” How can the good Monsieur righteously speak this way as if he believes there is any way that the demands of liberty shall ever stop? Let us say that the King concedes to all the demands of the liberal camp, that like Britain all power is vested in the sovereignty of Parliament. Would we then find that men do not agitate for change? No, in Britain we still find constant agitation for expansions of the franchise and damaging public battles over the policy of the nation? How could that land be described as an organic place that defends the commonweal?
In the interest of saving the time of our dear readers I shall go on to consider M. Artaud’s accusation that I in some roundabout fashion agree with Rousseau. In response to my observation that men are not equal anywhere in the world the good Monsieur has trotted out the famous line of the Citizen of Geneva that, “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” Of course in response I shall quote the comte de Maistre, “It would be equally correct to say that sheep are born carnivorous and everywhere eat grass.” How is it that the wise Rousseau can peer into history and against all evidence state the case of something so counterintuitive. God has not revealed a State of Nature in his scriptures, history does not teach us of it, and science does not find it. How then should we presume such mad ideas as equality at all?
I shall quickly address M. Artaud’s assertion regarding the rule of ill rulers. Truly, authority comes from God and God may yet grant authority to men who will try us. The plans of God remain unknown to all men. Unlike an unwise king Napoleon was an ill ruler because he seized power for himself against the will of God who did not choose him to rule. Rather, he was pushed with Luciferian will to roll over all opposition and drive Europe into war. Birth is no accident and men are not born equal in any sense. In the physical there are a myriad of differences just as in the mental. Truly even in the spiritual some men are drawn towards prayer and justice while some struggle all their lives against the evil force of temptation and vice. Why should we expect the government to treat all men equally when no men are or ever were equal?
As for whether we should place our rule in the hands of priests we find that in those realms who are ruled by priests prosperity and justice. This is not to say that all lands should be ruled by the priestly class but that in those lands that are traditionally theocratic they should remain as such, for that is their national character. The national character of France while truly Catholic is also aristocratic. Therefore, the rule of the King must be over the aristocratic class who must maintain a personal yet traditional relationship with their peasantry, all as subjects of the King. Truly the birthplace of liberalism is the city, where all men crowd together in the muck under no law but those imposed upon them. Perhaps this explains the confusion of the good Monsieur, but we must look at the countryside of France to find the answers to our present concerns to achieve a Kingdom that most closely resembles the heavenly rule of God as we seek to resemble Christ in our personal lives.
Le Vicomte de Saint Fulgent, Maréchal de France et le Ministre de la guerre
Les peu glorieux
Une reflexion à la jeunesse
With his financial position more secure than it had been in years, and having there gradually divested himself of his various other previously necessary commitments, Alexandre Cazal was able to produce his fifth novel with an uncommon speed. Les peu glorieux, usually rendered in English as The Inglorious, was serialised in Le Constitutionnel from July 1828, before arriving in book form a year later.
The work is a continuation of Cazal's attempts to popularise in Paris an alternative style to the Romanticism and the Classicism dominant at the time. It is noted predominantly for its shifts in time and voice, as well as its examinations of the role of artists within society, and of the shifting social structures in France in the first quarter of the 19th century. Thematically, it treats ideas of youth, age, class, marriage, the endurance of love and the agency of women.
The first section of the novel takes place in contemporary times in the hôtel particulier of the duchesse de Tresmes, who is hosting a small group of her most intimate friends after a Salon. A grande dame of the Faubourg Saint Germain, the Duchess has only recently come out of mourning for her late husband, and her grief is the topic of discussion at the novel's start. One guest, the comtesse d'Ivergny, a confidante of the Duchess throughout her married years, begins a lengthy monologue on what she imagines to be the unbearable sadness of losing someone whom one has loved so urgently and for so long. The Duchess shocks her gathered guests when, interrupting her friend's consolations, she replies that grieves for her husband; her true love, she reveals, was lost to her decades before.
Here, the Duchess takes over the narration of the novel as she describes to her intimates a story from her youth. Four decades earlier, in rural Burgundy, we encounter the Duchess as Charlotte de Germagny, the daughter of a minor noble anxious of the Revolution, which is at this point in its early days. One day when going to say Mass in the local church, Charlotte meets Daniel Dufroy, the son of a local cabinet-maker and a gifted young artist, then engaged in the restoration of a fresco in the town church. Dufroy had previously won a scholarship to study in Paris on the back of a drawing he executed after the work of Poussin, but his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the Revolution. Charlotte is enraptured by his artistic talent, but Daniel expresses his frustration at being kept to performing religiose work, which he does not find stimulating. At her urging, the comte de Germagny commissions Dufroy to execute a series of Classicist scenes, mindful that their valorisation of Ancient liberties may endear him to the new and zealous administration in the region. Simultaneously, he begins to formulate plans to marry off Charlotte to Jean-Régis de Montaliard, newly returned from having studied law in Paris and the son of a local member of the judiciary. Considering this a crucial means of linking himself to the new regime, Germagny impresses the courtship's necessity upon his daughter, who draws her father's ire in lashing out against the ease with which he seeks to inveigle himself in the new regime.
Meanwhile, Dufroy's virtuoso skill has impressed the Count, who gives him a further commission of a portrait of his family. The Duchess recounts the months of the commission as some of the most joyful of her life, posing and modelling for Daniel as respite from her tedious courting by Montaliard. As an aside, she remarks how visitors to the Hôtel Tresmes, in coming across the painting years later in its salon, would comment on the way in which Charlotte of all the figures stood out as having been painted with an exceptional brilliance. Nevertheless, in 1790 the Count remains unaware that his daughter and his resident painter are engaged in a passionate affair, and presses ahead with his plans that Charlotte marry Montaliard. Eventually, a wedding date is fixed, causing Charlotte much anguish. Daniel, though upset, speaks of the happiness he would get from sacrificing his own future with Charlotte so that she may become a great society figure. In her agitated state, Charlotte is angered by this view, which she sees as a capitulation to her father, and the two quarrel. The remain unreconciled even after the wedding, Daniel for not having changed her view and Charlotte for her pride—and also so as not to scandalise her husband, who knows nothing of the affair. Soon after, Montaliard is called to Paris on business and Charlotte must leave Daniel behind in Burgundy.
The second part of the book takes place in 1813 and switches voice to Daniel. In the twenty years since the end of the first section, he has established himself as a relatively successful artist in Paris, having won praise from the Bonapartist regime for his first work exhibited at the Salon. This was purchased by the State and hung in the Louvre, but Daniel soon squandered the money and has been reduced to living in modest circumstances in an apartment in central Paris. The second section goes on to describe, in often lurid detail, Daniel's experience of the city's artistic life—especially of the contrast between the lives of those few who have seen success and those who toil in anticipation of it. Cazal shocked some sections of his audience with descriptions of Daniel's visits to various maisons de passe, as well as the intimate details of the sexual lives of some of his artist colleagues. Daniel himself remains unmarried, telling anyone who asks somewhat facetiously that he is married to his art, though still entertains a string of relationships and at one point has an affair for some months with a Viscountess who hosts a prominent salon. He still loves Charlotte, though cannot bring herself to resent Montaliard. As predicted, the young law student matured into a renowned politician and confidant of Napoleon, who has just created him the Duc de Tresmes. In an ironic twist, still oblivious as to the true nature of the artist's relationship with his wife, the Duke commissions from him another family portrait. This offers him a chance to see Charlotte again, for the first time in over two decades. Charlottes reveals to Daniel the guilt that has stayed with her over the manner in which they departed before, but explains that she could not bring herself ever to write out of a fidelity to her husband, whom she has grown to love as a partner. Daniel understands, though admits his feelings for Charlotte remain undiminished. Charlotte reciprocates, but this is the end of their rapprochement; the pair agree they must remain engaged only professionally.
Daniel completes the portrait in a glorious, Classicist manner and it is held to be a masterpiece, bringing him renewed fame. He is awarded the Légion d'Honneur and an Imperial pension, moving from his apartment into a large house of his own on the Chaussée d'Antin. As the second part of the novel draws to a close, Daniel ruminates how fate should have brought him success within his field to rival Montaliard's in his, and yet still in the eyes of society he remains no match for Charlotte, the doyenne of Parisian society.
Part three opens once again in the drawing room at the Hôtel Tresmes, though it is written here in the third person exclusively. The Duchess has had no need to relate to her guests the career of Daniel Dufroy, who we learn is now considered to be the greatest artist in France, a master of a style that has fused the Classicism of his youth with a contemporary Romanticism that has left his former peers in his wake. There is discussion amongst the guests concerning a popular belief that Dufroy was consumed by his art, evidenced by his reclusive avoidance of the Salon in favour of constant travel. He sends his pictures back to Paris regularly, having catalogued just about every landscape in Europe. In this regard, he is something of a modern Poussin, giving a cyclical aspect to the story. One friend, the wife of a cabinet minister, asks why doesn't the Duchess invite Dufroy to her own salon? She explains that she had thought it would be improper during her mourning, besides which she does not believe he would come. His love for her is such, she continues, that she believes he would not want to risk jeopardising her happiness in her last years by reminding her of how deep down she had resented her life in Paris as imperfect. Soon after, the guests leave.
Two months later, life having gone on as normal, the Duchess receives a package from Germagny. Inside, the oil still tacky to the touch, is a copy of Daniel's portrait of Charlotte within that of the comte de Germagny and his family. It bears an artist's signature: Dufroy. On the back, Charlotte finds a message from Daniel in which he explains that he has spent forty years wanting to make this portrait, of her alone, and that only now did he feel he could finally do it justice. Charlotte knows that the message is confirmation that she and Daniel will never see each other again, but that in spite of this their love will endure. She knows also that the portrait she holds is his true masterpiece, but that it may never be displayed. The novel ends with the Duchess in contemplation of this bittersweet immortality.
Cazal's decision to root the novel in his native Burgundy—indeed, Germagny is the next commune over from his own Bissy-sur-Fley—has caused much gossip over the years, with many critics wondering whether Cazal is present, either wholly or in part, in the character of Daniel Dufroy. No documentary evidence has been found linking Cazal romantically to any grandes dames of his own time.
Some interest has been placed in the title, which Cazal left largely unqualified. One leading commentator has advanced the theory that Charlotte and Daniel themselves are “les peu glorieux”, forced as they are to settle for unfulfilled lives. Others have interpreted the title as an expression of Cazal's social criticism, describing the society and the mores that forced their lives to be thus.
Les peu glorieux was met upon its publication in book form in July 1829 with …
Dans le Service de Sa Majesté
Dans le Service de Sa Majesté is the non-fiction book written by Henri-Maurice de Saint-Germain, an unauthorised and unofficial biography on Saint Germain's friend, the duc du Sully. It was written shortly after the 1828 election which brought Sully's ministry to an end. Although by far not a hagiography, it was written in an overall positive tone, most likely due to Saint Germain's friendship with the former leader of the French Government. Also uncharacteristically to Saint Germain, it was written with a foreword in the first person by the noted French author, a personal invitation from Saint Germain to the reader.
The foreword expresses how Saint Germain truly met Sully, outlining their first meeting. Although (the foreword states) there were more than a few casual meetings between Sully and Saint Germain with the Ultraroyaliste social circles of Paris, their first meeting was during the 1824 election in Marsailles. A key election pitting Henri-Maurice against the noted liberal (and fellow plebeian) M. Duval, the race actually began due to a personal invitation from the duc du Sully to compete within the race on the King's behalf. Henri-Maurice, amazed and entirely unexpected, did his filial duty towards the King. This took place via a letter, and Sully met with Saint Germain shortly after, expressing how he was going to invest a grand portion of funds into his race (although the amount is unknown, it is suspected by historians to be the hundreds of thousands of francs). This first meeting was immensely detailed, presenting the imposing but moderately dour figure of Sully as due.
The book then continues to Sully's life prior to politics. It outlines, clearly and with little embellishment, Sully's childhood as the third son of the wealthy Duc de Béthune, including Sully's stay in Vienna during the Revolutionary French era. It then details Sully's rise in the Austrian military, his ennoblement, and then move to the Russian military than return to France. Due to not being a biography written with Sully's input, little on the early days are expanded on besides their most basic facts while the battles portrayed are vague but grandiose in writing.
The real meat of the book comes during Sully's life in politics, especially following Henri-Maurice's own entrance to national politics. It all began with the formation of the Ultraroyaliste Order of Varennes in 1817, which introduced Sully to such figures as the marquis de Valence, the duc de Saint Aigan (whom Sully fought with in Russia), and the Archbishop of Reims, hugely influential figures within French society and (sometimes hyper) conservative politicians.
During Valence's ministry, Sully moved himself ably, playing off the various personalities that dominated much of the Ultraroyalistes. This section casts Valence as a bit of a dilettante, Saint Aigan as a thoroughly uprighteous individual, and the Archbishop of Reims as a heroic ultramonatist. Following the collapse of Valence in 1821, Sully's maneuvering paid off and he was awarded with the Presidency of the Council.
Sully's ministry is then taken apart carefully. Brilliances such as Sully's win in the battle of perception on the rather (in the eyes of the author) unneeded Spanish Intervention was important in securing immense goodwill and support for Sully, as well as his calling of an election just past the winning of said Intervention, allowing the maximal capitalisation on the good will. However Sully's flaws are also exposed, like his inaction at times to present himself and his ministry in the premier light by publicly defending his bills (although this is said to be less due to unwillingness and more due to the surprisingly sickly nature of Sully himself). Furthermore, Sully is shown to have been unable to herd the egos which dominated the Ultras, preventing their de facto dissolution in the face of inner turmoil. Lastly, Sully is honestly criticised for throwing himself on the sword needlessly over the government's poorly received censorship bill. Sully's retirement from the Presidency is outlined, and it is extrapolated that while he may continue living in Paris and being a member of the Chamber, it is very likely that politics may take a backseat (at least openly) to more civil pursuits.
The book was released by the Publications de la Maison d'Herbes in Paris, and was one of the more prideful productions by Henri-Maurice, who thought it a nice but fair judgement of his friend.
[Censored in France, published in England, albeit to a somewhat baffled audience.]The gilded vultures or La Succession Malheureuse
Third novel of the mysterious author Armand Thiers, La succession malheureuse, titled the Gilded Vultures in England where it was first released, was published in France in the early months of 1828, following the mysterious and unfortunate death of the Prince of Condé. Borrowing intensively from the romanticist exploration of emotions, this novel was a stark contrast with “Confessions of a martyred child”, which had set to explore the concept of heroic suffering and intended its deconstruction in the social mind.
In La succession malheureuse, Thiers opposes greed, lust and envy to modesty, piousness and filial devotion by centering his novel, cast in medieval England, on the weakening and ailing Prince of Kent.
For years, the Prince stood as a paragon of virtue and selflessness, protecting the Crown and the realm from all foes, may they be rebels or foreign. Having amassed, by virtue of sound investments and rightful bounties on the battlefield, the largest estate in the Kingdom, the ailing old Prince was courted from all part.
Sadly for him, his legitimate son had been killed many years prior while coming back from the Holy Land by Corsican pirates. By no fault of virtue but his indomitable pain and sadness, he fathered illegitimate children with maidens of good reputation. For the better part of his latter days, he tried to have them legitimized, but was always stymied in his endeavour by obscure forces.
The Princes bastards, Harry and Peter, have grown up very respectable man. The eldest, Harry, having married in the minor nobility and distinguished himself in various battles against the Irish. Well liked by the population, he suffers from what is explicitly casted as “the sins of the father” being visited on the son, a situation which saddens all who know him.
The novel then leaves the figure of the bastard to follow the gilded personage of the King of England, a man of great piousness and of equal avarice, greed and lust, said to be inflicting terrible physical punishment on himself for his never ending thirst for riches. The King is introduced to the reader at his court, reigning over a large number of courtesans. Upon hearing of the illness of the Prince of Kent, he shows a clear interest in the succession of the estates.
Then enter the personage of La catin, a women of ill reputed who years prior, being banished from the court, had used dark charms on the Prince of Kent to enter his good graces. Versed in the dark arts of witchcraft, she bewitches the King to obtain his acquiescence to a most sinister plot. She adroitly plays on the King’s envy of the Prince and his son’s filial relationships, which he sees as an example of true love unreplicated around him, to convince him to harm the poor Harry and trick him out of his inheritance, which she covets for herself.
Enlisting the help of a shadowy crony, the Duke of St. Albans, he has extensive researches made in the precedents which could be invoked to void the will of the Prince. Unsatisfied by the lack of talent shown by the Duke, he charges him with falsifying the will and buying whoever is necessary for this endeavour.
Then comes the death of the Prince, in mysterious circumstances. He had been riding all day and hunting, in pristine condition, but was found dead the next morning in his bathroom. Appraised of their father’s death, Harry and Peter ride for his castle, and stand in vigil over his body, praying for the welcoming of his soul in heaven.
In the meantime, the evil Duke of St. Albans is hurrying to produce the falsified will before the peers of the realm. While Harry is informed of these machinations, he refuses to leave his father’s side, following to the letter the custom of the ages in respect and powerful display of filial love. He is ready to be robbed of his inheritance, rather than to disrespect the memory of his progenitor.
Several days later, when the official will is read, all is wrong. The real desires of the Prince have been perverted, his younger son carted off with the evil catin, who had immediately remarried, quite well indeed, to a newly minted noble by kingly decree. The Prince’s lawyer, having been elevated to a position of renown, read the will to Harry and the Court. While Harry knew that he was being robbed, he could not stand such treachery, as he had entered in possession of the real will.
Remarking a chain of office around the neck of his father’s lawyer, he asked to see it. “It is for my office of Chief prosecutor of Wales.” Harry famously replied “My poor friend, it benefits a man nothing to sell his soul for the whole world. But for Wales?”.
In the end, the vast estates are split up and are put in the care of the royal family. The King is seen, in his throne room, counting golden coins, the room being filled with them. Not a soul in sight, for his greed had lost him the love of his people and his nobles. The novel ends with Harry, being despoiled of his inheritance, breaking into the evil sorceress’ estate to free his brother. They both sail for France, a civilized kingdom where such scandalous behavior could not ever occur. They become prosperous and wealthy, establishing a most noble and worthy house.
Monsieur Durer is the first novel penned by the duc de Sully; written in the aftermath of the duc's fall from government and with Parisian society's hostility towards him at an all time high, the novel is Sully's not-so-subtle attempt at putting forward a sympathetic viewpoint towards the trials and tribulations that men holding great responsibility face. It is in many ways considered his very own fictionalized autobiography.
The book follows the life of Monsieur Charles Durer - a quiet and respectable man in a small rural town somewhere in central France. Although largely disinterested in politics, and more devoted to quiet acts of charity in conjunction with the local parish, Monsieur Durer is eventually convinced to stand for mayor by a number of concerned citizens and the Prèfet. With such support the unlikely candidate rises to the occasion and is elected.
The first few years of Monsieur Durer's tenure as mayor go smoothly, with much of the town content with his leadership despite the grumblings of some malcontents and criminals. However in the face of some difficult times and hard choices the leadership of Monsieur Durer - although in the best interests of the people - quickly grows more and more unpopular: many of his older supporters turn on him and drift to support others. The embattled mayor takes comfort in the continued support of the Prèfet however, and in his continued belief of the good of his work.
However a series of mishaps plague Monsieur Durer and in the following election he loses his place, much to his dismay and to the joy of the malcontents and criminals. In a passage from the novel, Durer laments:
"It was as if I was Atlas, though burdened by the even greater responsibility of satisfying the whims of the people - granted all the blame and naught the glory of my duties."
In the time following his loss Monsieur Durer is employed directly by the Prèfet in his office where he feels far more gratified with the work he does. Despite the ill treatment dealt to him he remains fond of his town and much of its people.
The novel closes with Monsieur Durer content with his life, happy with his accomplishments and unconcerned with, and perhaps even defiant towards, the animosity of those who had opposed him during his tenure as mayor.
La Gazette de France
The Bête Noire of Liberalism: A Cover for Luciferianism
One can never read the writings of prominent liberal figures in this country or the gutter press in Paris that attack every day the due course of proper and traditional government without coming across the sole bête noire of the liberal mind. The shrill cries against Jesuit influence clamor about the streets and salons of Paris with great regularity that they now have become almost dull. Truly, one will hear the grousing of certain Chartist deputies and political figures attacking the supporters of true governance in France as being the “Jesuit Party.” Such an exclamation is designed as a ploy to avoid attacking the Holy Mother Church by castigating an order only recently returned to existence by the Holy Father and still banned by the King. How can such ire and charges of conspiracy be levelled against such a weak and proscribed band of holy men?
Rather, all these accusations reveal the deeper facets of their philosophy. The liberals are now all crying out in a rage of anticlericalism that has exploded into baying howls for dismantling religious control of the education of French children. How shall we now not see that the liberalism of 1828 is the very same as that of 1793? Has all the world forgotten the great tragedy that took place across all of France, most poignantly expressed in my home, the Vendée? The very same forces that, in a fit of Satanic rage, murdered priests and holy men across France and inspired selfsame acts around the wholeness of the Earth, is now breeding once more in the salons and dark corners of our dear, urbane capital.
Truly the Lord, our God, has granted unto mankind a natural system of authority that has arisen organically. Through the Kingship of God the authority of the King and magistrates is derived while also empowering and confirming the rightness of the clergy. The parish priests hold spiritual sway over the souls of his flock, but is also charged with their earthly guidance and protection. Truly, it is a deistic invention of cretin such as the Citizen of Geneva, to separate the salvation of our souls from the earthly community of faith wherein the true expression of Christianity may come into practice. It is the duty of every Christian to resist the forces of the Devil in whatever form they may find expression, to lay down one’s own life to the preservation of a divinely ordered state is to achieve on Earth a state of martyrdom that in conjunction with a faithful life that will resound through the ages and into the eternity of Heaven and the second coming of Christ.
- Le Vicomte de Saint Fulgent, Maréchal de France
A note, I only did the literature and theater stuff this time; too many updates to be written and not enough time to include everything.
INSIDE PARIS (V)
The ducal era ended in the reassuring warmth of clarified divisions. In traded political essays between Saint Fulgent and Claude Artaud, including renown works such as Treatise on the Four Levels of Authority, In Response to the Vicomte, and The Social Contract (or, In Response to Artaud), the demarcation between the political perspectives seemed as obtuse as ever. No more conciliatory were the bookstand contestants; Romanticists and Classicists continued to assault all the good sensibilities of their academic counterparts. The poetry of Lamartine dueled gracefully with the tyrannical tradition of the former days, where Classicists like Lemercier, who wrote twenty-two tragedies, five epics, fourteen sons, six-thousand verse recitals, and believed they could attain immortality by spinning out thousands of purring Alexandrine verses and who were quickly buried in the oblivion of just one generation. The literature of St. Germain persisted unashamedly as the Romantics everywhere advanced with cruel speed and cast down the old literary regime with remarkable expediency. And now, in full pursuit of the new Parisian fetish, came The Death of Sardanapalus, and against it, The Apotheosis of Homer; what sublimity between Ingres and Delacroix!  Only in the entrenched fields—sculpture and architecture—were the advances of the romantic resisted. The architects gathered around the new facade of Versailles, the Madeline, the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile, the expiatory chapel, the churches of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette and Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, in a final gasp of neoclassicism, before the false-Gothic style made its determined encroachment.  Sculpture struggled determinedly against romanticism, and rallied around Baron Bosio, whose whole ambition was to imitate Canova. David d’Angers made some rather sharp portraits, but when he undertook ambitious commission, he remained faithful to an absurd degree to the pseudo-classical canons; General Moncey was represented no less in the simple costume of Archimedes stepping from his bath!
A fair contrast between Neo-Classicalism and Romanticism: The Apotheosis of Homer and The Death of Sardanapalus.
Mme. de Vernais in L'auteur inconnu.
The indifference to these productions did not discourage Cazal’s desire to forge a new way. He was increasingly subject to outbursts of racialism, long subdued by the revolutionary energies of France, which were reinvigorated by the Romantics and Classicists and their adulation of medieval civilization and classical imperialism; this would be none improved by the rhetoric preceding the Algerian War. These restrictions doubled his conviction to shake off the shackles of the dominant artistic schools. His biography of Filippo Brunelleschi, called La Vie de Brunelleschi, doubled down on his public repudiation of the literary contest. It hardened his Romantic and Classical foes, amassing in increasing number, and made profitable only his politics in Le Constitutionnel, that is, whenever his articles were subdued enough to slip past the authorities. The Romanticists, however, were not prepared to allow Cazal proceed unmolested. Saint-Germain’s infamous tirade against Cazal in his (inspired) commedia dell'arte theatrical performance Selvandieu was undoubtedly another grape shot against the innovators and classicists. Assaulted from all sides, but still secure in his finances, Prosper drew together his most revolutionary (insofar as the mundane may be revolutionary) work, titled Les peu glorieux. And yes, the mundane would not be an incorrect evaluation; Les peu glorieux was perhaps the least acclaimed of Cazal’s works. The narrative was cumbersome, clumsy, tedious, and terribly uneventful. “I snooze as I read,” wrote Hugo, never predisposed to insipid novels. But what Les peu glorieux lacked in dauntless heroes, hyperbole, and temporal settings, it shined in style and description. Love was no longer something to be satisfied as a fait-accompli; romance was variable, manipulated, and only eternal when disappointed. Cazal had almost reached the promised land of what he had long desired in a new style. He had questioned the inevitable attainment of romance, but failed, in the end, to question love itself. No, Cazal was not yet prepared to force romance into the machiavellian outlook. Having come so close to inaugurating realism, Cazal missed the mark by an inch, and gave all advantage to his readers. “I have read Les peu glorieux, and I now know what to do,” said the most prominent of Cazal’s readers. Balzac would publish, in 1830, Sarrasine and inaugurate the Realist tradition, conclusively moving away from Cazal as his ambition swept him to other pursuits. Between Zambinella and Sarrasine, love is riddled with imperfections and falsehoods!
Honoré de Balzac and Marie-Henri Beyle, known as Stendhal.
The famous outburst at Hernani.
With Selvandieu as his inspiration, Hugo’s Hernani triumphed, needless to say, the romantic drama. This was a decisive victory if we realize the social importance of the theatre in that day. Lyric or epic poetry could only be measured in bookstore sales or in salon conversation; only in the theatre did the author confront the audience, and in this incident, the public showed their feelings in violent ways against the Ministry and the Classicists.
 In fact, Ingres had combatted Davidian classicism with a repudiation of the antique; he was neoclassical insofar that his style worshipped form.
 You’re welcome Densely, I didn't call it engineering; love you too.
 Undiscovered to most audiences until the early 20th century.