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.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


After nearly three months of blog-work and 18 months of research, collaboration-forming, and translating, there is finally enough collected to inaugurate this site, which I hope can serve as a central repository and resource for the massive project to (re)create within radical English-speaking communities the nearly-forgotten group of creative workers who, from roughly 1830-1835, called themselves the Jeunes-France or Bouzingo, and pioneered many of the cultural strategies and traditions that would later come to be known as the avant-garde.

NOTE #1: The group seems to have called themselves the Jeunes-France for most of their existence, but became popularly known in the Conservative press as the Bouzingo, and used the name themselves for perhaps a year. I use one or the other almost interchangably, depending on context.

NOTE #2: Because a number of people have asked: In early 19th Century France (and therefore in all material on this site) "Republican" means anti-Monarchist, pro-Democratic, politically far-left. Sometimes Liberal, in many cases proto-Socialist or proto-Anarchist.

NOTE #3: If the work of the Jeunes-France does not immediately read to our eyes as obviously 'avant-garde' in the way that a dada cutup or surrealist frottage might, this is because, of course, this is a century earlier. Moreover, the 'avant-garde' status of the Bouzingo has as much or more to do with how they organised themselves socially, how they positioned themselves in relation to mainstream intellectual culture, and the psychological and social experiments and transformations that they designed for themselves and each other. Context is everything.

THIS IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS. It will remain so for years--I hope that others will join us in this project, contributing in whatever they see fit, and that this site will both facilitate and reflect the growth of the project, and the formation of a community through and around it.

Please explore, and come back to check intermittently as things develop. Every tab has a great deal of material already waiting to be added to it once I have time to do so. Just hit the FOLLOW button to your right!

Due to the blog format (it's what we've got, sorry), the text tends to be pretty small, hit [control]++ for PC or [apple]++ for Mac and the text will become larger.

Principle collaborators on the project so far include myself (Olchar E. Lindsann), Joseph Carter, Warren Fry, Emily Panzeri, Tomislav Butkovic, Amy Oliver, and Jim Leftwich. (for more info see ABOUT THE PROJECT) Many many thanks to these people (and if you'd like links to your own sites let me know). IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO OFFER TO THIS PROJECT, GET IN TOUCH!

A few notes on the site:

SIDEBARS: The sidebars are full of relevant links, many to wikipedia because that's the stage that research is currently at. The right hand side lists resources directly related to the Bouzingo, the right hand side to the broader Romanticist/proto-Avant-Garde community. Since they are on the side, when coming upon a name, group, source, etc. that interests you in any window, check the sidebars to see if there's a bit more information or further resources available. I'll be adding more sidebars as time passes.

THE BOUZINGO page contains a basic introduction to the group.

The BIOGRAPHIES page currently contains two full biographies (Louis Boulanger and Jehan Desiegneur), there will eventually be biographies of comparably depth and tone of all 15 identified members of the group (to the extent possible). The page also has two brief portraits of Petrus Borel and Philothée O'Neddy, whose full bios are currently underway.

The TRANSLATIONS page contains translations of the Jeunes-France writers that have been done so far by those involved with the project. A number more are underway. (Gautier and Nerval have translations easily available on amazon, though NOT for their Jeunes-France periods). We can use help with this--with the exceptions just noted, almost nothing has been translated by the group. For prose pieces, there is a link underneath the title to download a more easily-readable PDF.

The GALLERY currently has features and commentary relating to two of the Jeunes-France visual artists, Boulanger and DuSeigneur (see their Bios on the appropriate page); BUT there are links at the top to galleries of all of the images I have yet found by all of the visual artists.

THE FRENCH ROMANTICIST COMMUNITY page will be filled out once the Biographies are completed; the Jeunes-France group, considered in the light f an avant-garde, was simply one particularly radical group of the larger proto-avant-garde network and subculture of French Romanticism, and cannot be understood outside that context (which, I am finding, is equally fascinating in its own right).

The TIMELINE is the best and easiest way to orient yourself to what the group did and the context in which they did it. It begins two years before the first of them were born, and ends when Augustus MacKeat, the last of the Bouzingo, died in 1888. It contains political and cultural context as well as directly related material; the Jeunes-France group proper operated from around 1830 to 1835, though related groupings of them operated together from 1826-1845.

ABOUT THE PROJECT explains both the ideological, conceptual, and intellectual position from which I am organising the project, and the practical mechanics of how it will (hopefully) operate, along with the problems facing us and other sundry issues affecting the ongoing research and presentation.

ANTI-TRANSLATIONS AND RESPONSIVE WORK is intended as a repository for contributions to the project that fall outside the domains of either 'translation' or 'research'--this might include transliterations and experimental re-workings of Bouzingo texts and images, illustrations, writings or artwork in response to Jeunes-France work, and anything else that is offered.

Finally, UPDATES & NEWS is where you are now--the place to check back to see what has been added most recently. I would very much like to build a dialogue among communities interested in the Jeunes-France and radical Romanticism in general. If you'd like the ability to leave comments, just let me know and I'll send you an invite. If I leave it open it gets flooded with spam.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Achille Devéria Illustrates George Sand

Achille Devéria, Illustration for Les Jardins en Italie (Gardens in Italy) by George Sand. From a nineteenth century manuscript copy. 1856

If the date on this is accurate, which seems likely, Achille would have been illustrating this a year before his death. He illustrated Musset's Gamiani in 1848, which was originally published in 1833. Its rumored that Gamiani was partly inspired by Sand, with whom Musset had a brief romance during the early 1830's.

In 1855 Sand rented
the Villa Piccolomini in Frascati, Italy from March 31 to April 19, which is presumably where Les Jardins en Italie was written, or at least inspired. She was there with her son Maurice Sand who also illustrated an edition of the text.