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, April 30, 2016

Lecture on Avant-Garde Publishing of the 1830s for the Aldus Society

Freed From a Parchment Jail: A Bibliographic History of the Birth of the Avant-Garde

Here's the slideshow (in PDF form) from my presentation a couple weeks ago to the The Aldus Society - Columbus, Ohio​; it covers the part of the Revenant Archive that deals with the Bouzingo and the development of the avant-garde from 1825-1840. It even contains one or two new items that have not yet been publicly announced or added to the online catalogue.
The slides are fairly informative and though there will be some gaps/vaguenesses where I was lecturing, it still has quite a bit of information:

Photo of the talk, with books from the Revenant Archive and translations etc. by Revenant Editions, taken by friend of the project Emily Wampler.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Revenant Archive Acquires 9 Bouzingo-Related Issues of 'Figaro', 1831-32

The Revenant Archive, a sister project of this one, has acquired over the last few months a collection of issues of Figaro from 1831-32, all dealing with the Jeunes-France/Bouzingo, and a letter from an editor with other Bouzingo connections.
The satirical journal Figaro played a fraught but defining role in the history of the Bouzingo group--indeed, they were given that name in the articles contained in the archive copies of Figaro. Founded in 1826, the journal had helped to lay the groundwork for oppositional satire in France and was closely tied to Romanticism. However, its editor, Henri de Latouche, opposed the excesses of the nascent Romanticist avant-garde, attacking the Petit-Cénacle / Jeunes-France group with a series of outrageous humurous stories in the winter of 1831, in which the group's extreme public persona (Gothic, Revolutionary, Blasphemous, Rowdy) was pushed to extreme limits. This seems to be the first time that the name 'Jeune-France' was applied to the group in print, and may have been the genesis of the name, though they deliberately misspelled it when claiming it for their own. They adopted the wild legends with glee in their internal mythology, public personas, and self-referential poems and stories.

Latouche was attacked in turn by Petrus Borel in his Preface to Rapsodies, but had already, in January 1832, beens replaced as editor, and The Figaro became a right-wing legitimist organ overnight. Searching for a satirical symbol for the political & cultural radicalism they now wished to attack, they settled on the Jeunes-France, several of whom had been arrested in the street in the middle of the night the previous year, singing a song which declared that they "were doing" or "making the bouzingo". The Figaro thus created a stock-caricature of the mad, godless, rabidly anti-government "Bousingot" and published another series of comic stories, accentuating the group's political radicalism and mapping the resulting stereotype onto a larger segment of radicalized youth culture. Again, the group (temporarily) adopted this term of intended abuse; their attempt to publish a group anthology of Tales of the Bouzingo never came about, but several stories about avant-garde life--themselves satirizing the Figaro's satires--were published  in 1833. The issues collected here contain many of those "Bousingot" satires, alongside others of Saint-Simonist socialism, with which the group critically engaged. 

Visit the Revenant Archive page above for links to the articles online and more detailed descriptions, including the hand-written note in Figaro letterhead by Léon Halévy, Saint-Simonist activist and friend of Petrus Borel.