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, 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Cravan, Marceline Debordes-Valmore, Ivan Gilkin, and Francis Vielé-Griffin (the latter from a manuscript previously unpublished even in French), the preface to Roger de Beauvoir’s 1840 book about the 18th Century black musician and revolutionary soldier the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a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.

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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!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Firmin Didot

The Romanticist typographer Fermin Didot was part of the third generation of a respected typographical family; his father had invented the 'point' system still used to measure type, and his brother and cousin were also important typographers and printers. The modern 'Didot' font that he designed is only part of the massive influence that he exercised over modern typography, exploring extreme variations in stroke-width and in vertical/horizontal orientation of the form. Fermin pioneered the use of moveable type to mimic the human hand in calligraphic writing; this was often extended beyond letter-forms to create abstract ornaments of loops and arabesques.
Firmin Didot's anagram, showing his characteristic calligraphic stroke.
These ornaments, in addition to the combination of multiple typefaces in title material, including exaggerated and visually insistent fonts, became staples of Romanticist book design and were particularly important elements of the Romanticist keepsake anthologies published by Janet, who often worked closely with Didot, most notably the Annales Romantiques anthologies.

Didot also invented stereotypography, a process that revolutionised the printing industry by exponentially cutting the labour and expense necessary to reprint additional runs of a single edition.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Le Gastronome

Le Gastronome was an eclectic Romanticist illustrated journal published from 1830 until around 1858, focused on the "frivolous" forms of art and entertainment (according to its masthead, "The Pleasures of Taste, Relaxation, Concerts, Balls, Theatres"). It was founded by Bibliophile Jacob (Paul Lacroix), the archivist, historian, and frenetic novelist. Its writers and editors included Théophile Gautier and Gérard de Nerval of the Jeunes-France group, the historian Henri Martin, and others. By 1852, it was edited by André Borel-d'Hautrive, brother of the Bouzingo co-founder Petrus Borel.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Alphonse Karr on Bohemian Dancing, Jan. 1841!

Here's are two little articles from Alphonse Karr's Jan. 1841 issue of the self-published Bohemian gossip & satire magazine 'Les Guêpes' (The Wasps) from my archive, one about police persecution of "indecent" dances such as the early Cancan, and one on dance-club etiquette. (They appeared next to eachother in the issue). This links up directly with the lacture I gave at last year's AfterMAF about avant-garde Romanticist dance–note the discussion about Musard, the inventor of the Infernal Gallop, Broken-Chair-Gallop, etc.

The footnotes that contain French are passages I'm not quite sure about the translation of.
HERE are the original articles from a later reprint.


Random Stuff
by Gustave Karr

In The Favourite, presented at the Paris Opera, – there’s still a church, – there’s now one in every opera.[1] – which must naturally be diverted[2] into two kinds of people, – first the pious people, who don’t like that we allow actors such performances. And those who, not going to mass, neither want to discover it upon the boards, where they come looking for something else.

The former like nothing better than to go to mass, – the latter prefer the Musard Ball.

But, everything’s mixed up, everything’s confounded in a weird Tohu-bohu.[3] – If the Opera, on certain days, has the air of a church, – we have the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette[4], which has the air of an auditorium or ballroom, and which we justifiably dub a Musard church.

It is, every Sunday, the meeting-place of a slew of dancers[5] and all the kept girls[6] of the neighbourhood. – What’s more we encounter there a throng of young guys, less punctilious than in yesteryear to the holy services.

That’s probably by virtue of the fact that this church isn’t terribly well-formed – why they position so many uniformed policemen there – probably to prevent indecent dances. – They announce a massive ball at Notre-Dame de Paris.

Regarding these indecent dances and policemen, militiamen[7], etc. – who are charged with cracking down, in the public establishments, – on the popular cauchucas[8] and exaggerated fandangos, – aren’t they capable of making some huge mistakes? – Recently, a man arrested by them for a like offense, called upon, before the sixth chamber, some embarrassing theories.

–We have, said he,

The gracious cancan, – the saint-simonian, – the half-cancan, – the cancan, – the cancan and a half, – and the cahut; – this last dance is is the only one prohibited. I was dancing the gracious cancan.

Wouldn’t it be timely to open, for the good of those gentlemen the police and militiamen, a special school of bizarre dances, – where they would learn to perfectly discern the specific characteristics of these dances they have too much of[9].

@  @ @

Out in the world, when a man has invited a woman to dance who can’t accept due to a previous offer, he goes on to another, and it seems to me to be an insult to both women. To the first, he would say thus: “I asked you by chance, without preference; I don’t dance with you; so it goes! I’ll dance with someone else.” – To the second: “I take you for lack of anyone better; if the one whom I invited first had been free, I’d never consider you; she’s prettier than you, more elegant, more spiritual than you.”

Some people, in order to avoid this, don’t dance when the woman whom they’ve chosen isn’t free; – but it can thus come about that they pass the night without dancing, some wish they would have.

Here’s how they do it in some of the towns in the Midi:[10] – each man, when coming in, plucks from a basket an artificial flower, – and, when he’s going to invite a woman to dance[11], – in the place of this seldom-varied formula:

“Would Madame like to do me the honour of dancing with me?” he offers her a flower, which she keeps in her waistband until she’s danced the promised contradance; – then, the contradance over, she returns the bouquet to him, which he’ll offer to another. – In this way, they don’t run the risk of inviting a woman already spoken for, – because each woman who doesn’t have a flower is free and waiting to dance.

from Les Gûepes, Janvier 1841, p. 66–68. 


[1] il y en a maintenant dans tous les opéras
[2] écarter
[3] An extremely rare word, that was likely current as Romanticist/Bohemian slang (note its resonance with other key argot in the article such as the cancan, etc.). It derives from Jewish theology, and denotes the primordial chaos prior to the Word–an idea relating to the theory of Romanticist frenzy, and likely to appeal to the hermetic, quasi-cabalistic elements of the movement.
[4] This new church had been built by the ruling Orleans monarchy five years previous, which gives the pun a subtle political jibe.
   However, Karr is making a pun with Romanticist argot; several months previously, his friend Nestor Roqueplan (a Romanticist humourist) had coined the slang term “Lorette” to signify a young, lower-class single woman supported as a mistress by a wealthy man. (The term grew in popularity and remained current throughout the century.)
   The new church was surrounded by cheaply-built new apartments (note Karr’s jab at the quality of construction) which, due to a slow-drying plaster that caused respiratory problems, became inhabited by many poor working women, many of whom were susceptible to the advances of wealthier young men: hence the slang term deriving from the neighbourhood. (see Michael Marrinan, Romantic Paris: Histories of a Cultural Landscape, 1800–1850, p. 294. Marrinan traces this as the origin of the term, but not to Roqueplan personally.
   Lorettes would often have met their suitors at dance-halls and balls. The source of the term is recorded in the 1888 Dictionary of Parisian slang, which was compiled and published by collaborators of Alphonse Allais, in whose work Karr’s influence is clear.
[5] danseuses, female dancers
[6] i.e., “lorettes” according to the newly-coined slang term.
[7] gardes municipaux
[8] look up in 1829 dictionary & argot dictionary
[9] ces danses qui en ont trop.
[10] The southern coastal regions of France.
[11] va engager une femme à danser