Date of Degree
Royal S. Brown
English Language and Literature | Fine Arts | Music
France, Gautier, musical, poetry
Theophile Gautier's first edition of Emaux et camees (1852) marks the juncture at which Romantic, Neoclassical, and nascent Symbolist poetic theories converged under the umbrella ideology of "Parnassianism." Emaux et camees synthesizes the aesthetics promoted by these diverse groups, primarily by 1) using "musical" and "painterly" language, 2) emphasizing correspondences among arts, and 3) paradoxically demanding an attention to form and the artist's labor while also emphasizing art's inutility during a century characterized by Progress. Gautier's Emaux et camees bridges painterly and musical poetics to create a new model for poetry.
While the vocabulary of painting captivated many nineteenth century writers, music became increasingly admired by poets because of its freedom from representation, and as an "intention-less language." "Musical" poets indemnified the mantra "art for art's sake" and touted the intermingling of art forms, belief systems, and cultural practices during a time when usefulness, authoritarian rule, and homogeny were staunchly reinforced in the political and public spheres. Emaux et camees appeared in 1852, marking a point of departure for poetry. Gautier preserved earlier poetic principles, but also invested a robust work ethic and a devotion to form in his collection. Numerous offshoot poetic groups arose as a result of Gautier, who had reclaimed music's nuanced, fragmented, performative, and anti-utilitarian nature for poetry and poetics.
Milstein, Dana, "Musical Landscapes: Theophile Gautier and the Evolution of Nineteenth Century French Poetry" (2014). CUNY Academic Works.