This is the central site for a long-term project to research, examine, and respond to the radical collective of writers, theorists, architects, and visual artists who operated in Paris between 1829 and 1835 under the names of the Jeunes France & the Bouzingo, and through them to build a critical understanding of French Romanticist subculture through the historical lens of a continuing politically vigilant Anglophone avant-garde.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Alphinse Brot, 'The Young Girl' (1829)

The Young Girl
–by Alphonse Brot

She is far from the soil where Ivandor rests,
A mob of suitors presses around her;
She weeps, she flees from their drunken disorder,
For her heart is possessed absolutely by death!
She sings tunes from her lovely land derived,
Those sung long past by a hero favoured in her choice;
Oh, you can scarcely guess, you dazzled by her voice!…
The devouring regrets that lay waste to her life;

If, near her, Ivandor for moments seemed to thrive,
Too soon for his beloved island he was killed:    
His island weeps upon his war-like ashes still,
His Emma far from him shall not for long survive.

Raise a modest mausoleum for the maid,
Near winding woods, which both the lovers knew so well,
So that at last toward evening tender vows might knell
To come beguile at times her desolated shade!

            –Translated by Olchar E. Lindsann

Alphonse Brot, 'The Minstrel'

The Minstrel
by Alphonse Brot

The young minstrel of the war party;
In the ranks of death he hurls himself fearlessly;
The paternal sabre arms his vengeful arm,
His harp is hung at his haughty shoulder.

“Noble land of songs, called the bellicose bard,
When for you the Universe is indifferent,
A sword shall shine at least for your defense,
A lute with soft chords shall bless your laurel!”

The Minstrel was captured; on the foreign riverbank
He kept his pride; the lyre of Tara,
Beneath his scornful fingers, never breathed,
For he casts off his cord to the light breeze.

You wither my fetters, my harmonious lute,
Who so often sang of love and courage;
Your chords were born for generous hearts,
They never not resound in slavery.

      -Translated by Olchar E. Lindsann

1842 Article on the "Hugophiles"

A recent addition to the Revenant Archive, about the Romanticist-Classicist debates swirling about Hugo and his supporters – I posted this on the Archive site a few weeks ago, but I've just scanned the interior so that the entire article is available (in French) and the interior image, and expanded the catalogue description accordingly as below. I can provide a larger-res image for any potential translator.

Le Charivari
(The Hullabaloo). March 7, Year 11, No. 66 (Monday, March 7, 1842) Paris. Paperback Quarto, 4 pp.

Despite its early association with Romanticism and continued publication of Romanticist cartoonists, the satirical journal Charivari had established a position outside the Romanticist-Classicist debate by the 1840s, and was in a position to skewer both sides. By 1842, Classicism was experiencing a resurgence as Romanticism, now infiltrating every aspect of French culture, was beginning to split into several divergent subcultures and cultural tendencies, many adherents to which felt little connection with the movement in its current, mainstream form. While young people in the Romanticist orbit did not remember the movement in its underground, revolutionary stage but simply as the backdrop of further innovation, young Classicists were now able to see themselves as rebels against Romanticist hegemony. 
In 1842, a renewed Classicist campaign was launched, ultimately aiming to bring down the impending premier in 1843 of Hugo's new Romanticist play The Burgraves. This issue of Charivari contains a quirky relic of this critical campaign, which resulted in a Classicist riot at the premier, and the end of organised Romanticism in France. It addresses the critical debate swirling around Victor Hugo's Romantic travel guide of The Rhine, between the "Hugophiles" (Romanticists) and "Hugophobes" (Classicists), though generally sympathetic to Hugo. At issue is an argument about a side-comment there in which Hugo suggests the orthography Asculum for a (possibly apocryphal) Roman town briefly mentioned in Horace, OEquotuticum, which Hugo argues cannot be scanned within a French alexandrine line of verse. The Classicist press, it seems, was outraged, asserting that one must retain the Latin at all costs; as more publications joined the fray, this spiraled into a heated battle about poetic scansion. The article pokes fun at both sides in the debate, but unequivocally blames the Classicists for stirring it up, hearkening back to, "the beautiful evening on which the two enemy camps [the Romantics and Classicists] had at it not only with the mouth, but even with hair in the stalls of the Théâtre-Français, over the first performance of Hernani."

The featured cartoon in this issue caricatures a group of dandies (or "lions" in Parisian slang) at the opera, peering about the audience with opera-glasses from their private box. It is labelled "The Lions' Pit" (a double-pun, since the cheapest seats, below them, were known as "the pit"). One dandy exclaims, "Naught shall have talent, save us and our friends," to which his companion/s respond in English: "Yes!" Dandy subculture was strongly anglophilic, owing in part to the movement's British roots.


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Sunday, August 20, 2017

New Release: REVANANCE Journal, Issue 2!

Rêvenance: A Zine of Hauntings from Underground Histories. Issue 2.
–ed. Olchar E. Lindsann
Revenance 2 cover
is the flagship journal of the Resurrecting the Bouzingo project and Revenant Editions series, dedicated to the forgotten or untold histories of 19th Century avant-garde and other countercultures. It includes essays, translations, and many experimental forms of historical writing and research that connect those traditions to continuing radical communities today.
This issue includes an 1832 satire of the Bouzingo translated by Elizabeth Birdsall, essays on experimental historiography by Olchar E. Lindsann and Gleb Kolomiets, poems by Arthur Cravan, Marceline Debordes-Valmore, Ivan Gilkin, and Francis Vielé-Griffin (the latter from a manuscript previously unpublished even in French), the preface to Roger de Beauvoir’s 1840 book about the 18th Century black musician and revolutionary soldier the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a biography of a 17th Century female scam artist known as The German Princess, a 1912 review of Arthur Cravan’s proto-Dada journal Maintenant, transductions by O. Lindsann of poems from the Chat Noir group, and images by Célestin Nanteuil.

Featuring: Olchar E. Lindsann, Gleb Kolomiets, Elizabeth Birdsall, Raymond E. André III, Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, Arthur Cravan, Célestin Nanteuil, The Chat Noir, Ivan Gilkin, Roger de Beauvoir, Fernand Clerget, Albert Sérieys, Francis Vielé-Griffin, “The German Princess”, Alphonse Karr, Charles-Henry Hirsch, Charles Whitehead, John Payne, & Léon Gozlan.

add to cart
36 pgs on folded 8.5”x14”. Sept., A.Da. 100 (2016).
$5.50 + 1.00 s/h or FREE DOWNLOAD

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Some early Romanticist Fanfic...

1920s Romanticist Fanfic (sadly incomplete) in the Revenant Archive:

Les Annales politiques et Littéraire: Revue Universelle, Illustré, Hebdomadaire. ed. Adolphe Brisson. (Aug 23, 1925). Paris. Paperback Quarto. 26 pp. With Sheet Music Supplement: La Musique des Annales. Paperback Octavo, 8 pp.
Les Annales politiques et Littéraire: Revue Universelle, Illustré, Hebdomadaire. ed. Adolphe Brisson. (Oct. 11, 1925). Paris. Paperback Quarto.
Les Annales politiques et Littéraire was a journal of literary and cultural history edited by Adolphe Brisson, and had been founded by his father. Brisson had pronounced right-wing leanings, and although the magazine itself was ostensibly apolitical in mandate, the fact that it took such a continuous interest in Romanticism throughout its long existence (see the 1903 issue focusing on Hernani, also collected in the Revenant Archive) is evidence of the extent to which the legacy of the movement's mainstream – and to a certain extent its more radical forms as well – had been pacified and co-opted by bourgeois culture by century's end, to the extent where fanfic about Romanticist subculture in the 1830s is included alongside a nationalistic text by Maurice Barrés,whose parodic "trial" had recently been the pretext for the dissolution of the Paris Dada group, and a racist pro-colonial article by the contemptible ethnologist Gustave le Bon (whose personal copy of Gautier's History of Romanticism, used to research his published attacks against the avant-garde, is held in the Revenant Archive; see Historiography).
These issues include episodes 4 and 12 of an illustrated serial novel, Les Enfants d'Hernani (The Children of Hernani) by Tancrède Martel, a spirited and light-hearted saga of young Romanticist writers and artists. Essentially Romanticist fanfic avant le lettre, it is packed with references, in-jokes, and trivia regarding the subculture, and the Romantics themselves would no doubt appreciate its local colour. It boasts a huge cast of characters, including historical avant-gardists such as Petrus Borel, Gérard de Nerval, Camille Rogier, Frédéric Lemaitre, Devéria, Hugo, d'Angers, Vabre, etc. etc. etc. In fact Martel, one of the most respected historical novelists of his day, had been close to many of the Parnassian and older Decadent writers such as Théodore de Banville, Jean Richepin, Barbey d'Aurevilly, and with the aging Hugo himself. The novel never seems to have published on its own, which is a shame.

Additionally, the August Issue includes a supplement of sheet music containing three short songs, One, La Ronde autour du monde (The Ring Around the World), contains lyrics by the Symbolist Paul Fort (see his manuscript poem and inscribed copy of Hélène en fleur et Charlemagne held in the Revenant Archive). Another has passed through so many translations and adaptations that six musicians and writers share credit – La Veuve joyeuse (The Joyous Widow), by Franz Lehar, with G.-A. de Caillavet, & Robert de Flers, after Meilhac, Victor Léon, & Léo Stein. The last is Premier Amour (First Love) by G. Michiels.

The October Issue, in addition to the episode of the novel, includes the article by Le Bon mentioned above, a short story by Colette, and an article on the theatrical riot at the premier of Wagner's Tannhauser in 1861. There seems no way to recover it short of tracking down and acquiring every issue, but some parts of it can be found in issues online at Gallica HERE.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Role-Playing 1830s Paris, anyone?

I hope to get in a number of looooong-overdue updates over the coming days and months. First, this:

Is there anybody out there who might be actually willing and able to play-test a table-top RPG set in the Romanticist community of Paris, c.1825–45? Yours truly and Warren Fry, game designer & "Resurrecting..."/Revenant collaborator, began testing just such a game a few years ago, and are considering retooling it this summer with a more streamlined system.

Players form a Romanticist Cénacle, and set a collective goal to achieve through organising one or more collective events, demonstrations, interventions, anthologies, journals, plays, operas, etc. The ultimate goal is to enter a state of Romanticist Frenzy – in which (in-game) "reality" and fiction merge, and the players wrest temporary control away from the GM during this period of collective altered-consciousness. In the meantime, they must manage their intellectual careers, their status within mainstream society and within Romanticist subculture (sometimes contradictory), make a living, and negotiate the economic, racial, and gender stratification of the day. Character development and the rule system (hopefully) combine to make the social and psychological transgression of these boundaries provide real effects and challenges – as well as rewards – to the game.

The first play-test involved the defense of a Romanticist play against a Classicist claque, a Romanticist initiation ceremony in the Paris labyrinths orchestrated by Gérard de Nerval, and a fist-fight in a coffee-house.

It would, of course, be helpful to have it tested by someone without our presence; it would also be much easier if they had a basic (or more!) understanding of the period already.

I'm just feeling out the chances of that happening – if you might be interested, email I will try to remember to check responses to this post, too!