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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Book of Beauty: Historical Memories

Le Livre de beauté: Souvenirs historique (The Book of Beauty: Historical Memories). ed. Louis Janet? (1834) Sole Edition? Louis Janet: Paris. 239 pp.

This interesting volume indicates how closely related historiography and poetics were considered among the early avant-garde, and reveals the increasing strain between mainstream and Frenetic Romanticism. In French Romanticism, the revolution in historiography and that in creative culture were considered part of the same continuum, and the founders of modern French historiography–Michelet, Méry, Lacroix, Maquet, etc.–incorporated both academic history and historical fiction into their larger historiographic projects (sometimes to the despair of later historians). We see here that this general tendency was also reflected within the extremist fringes of the broader movement.

Published (and likely edited) by Louis Janet, whose ultra-Romanticist press published the comprehensive yearly avant-garde anthology Les Annales Romantiques, this anthology presents a selection of 14 texts about historical women, most written by people known primarily as radical Romanticist poets and playwrights, including four members of the Jeunes-France/Bouzingo. The contributors were young, most ranging from their mid-20s to mid-40s, and included the most radical exponents of Frenetic Romanticism, Petrus Borel and Charles Lassailly, and ultra-Romanticists such as Aimable Tastu (the only female contributor), Cordellier Delanoue, Gustave Drouineau, Henri Martin, and Jean-Pierre Lesguillon. Their chosen subjects diverge from mainstream selections in such collections, which typically focused on women known for their moral correctness, social compassion, and self-sacrifice–traits traditionally associated with 'the weaker sex'. Instead, here we find women notable for their political influence, in some cases exerted as strong monarchs, in other cases as royal mistresses. Many of the texts are hybrid constructions, which shift between traditional scholarly reportage and historical fiction, punctuated by contemporary commentary.
The anthology begins with a surprisingly ambivalent preface by Charles Nodier, and reflects the awkward place in which he found himself in 1834, when the divergence of mainstream Romanticism from the nascent avant-garde was becoming definitive. As the organiser of the Cénacle group, he had overseen the cultural coup-d'état that was swiftly making Romanticism the dominant force in nearly every domain of contemporary culture. But through his experimental, sometimes hallucinatory gothic-horror novels he was also the half-intentional father of the dark, violent, gothic substream known as Frenetic Romanticism, around which had built up the even-more radical community beginning to call itself the avant-garde, which was proving a political and aesthetic embarrassment as the movement's leaders settled into relative respectability. After a few predictable pages of the usual commonplaces regarding the virtues of Love (cf. "Women are the masterpieces of Divinity", Nodier ends his Preface by stating his disappointment at the low moral character of many of the women chosen for the anthology, and exhorting his readers to focus on the uplifting contributions such as the one on Queen Elizabeth. One feels that Nodier is fulfilling a contractual obligation, fearful of endorsing an anthology destined for critical attack from the respectable mainstream press.

In addition to Janet assembling this collection and publishing dozens of female writers in his anthologies, journals and books, his editor for the Annales Romantiques, Charles Malo, had also published his own book of feminist biographies several years earlier. Closely associated with the Frenetic and other extremist currents, Janet's fortunes seem to have been tied to it, and he appears to have ceased publishing by the time that it had subsided at the end of the 1830s and the energies of the avant-garde diverted away from Romanticism.

New Updating Effort in the Works!

Although research has proceeded unbroken over the past several years and much information has been posted on related sites (Revenant Archive, mOnocle-Lash, and the facebook avatar), this page has suffered from a certain amount of neglect in updates, aside from fleeting posts. This is an inevitable consequence of my having far, far, far greater goals than I have time. In the past several months however, I have become aware that more people are actually using the website than I had suspected, and have had the pleasure of interacting with them; as a result, I am making a relatively concerted effort to start updating it and making it generally more useful.
There's a lot of work to do, and little time (and I'm juggling 30 projects and a 60-hour workweek), so it will be gradual. I invite contributions from others, and welcome requests to move certain things to the top of my "to-do" list in order to help those of you using the site for your own projects, with the understanding that it may still not be immediate.

So far, I have updated the "Biographies" and "Translations" tabs to reflect what's been produced in relation to the project in the last year or two, and begun a major overhaul/expansion of the "Romanticist Community" section, which will probably be my main focus for the foreseeable future. I would like it to evolve into as complete as possible a database of the French Romanticist community between 1800 and 1850–it will be a looong project. I'm going to begin posting each page in the form of a blog post, which will be linked to from this page. This means there will be a string of Romanticist bios popping up over the coming months.
Again, this effort is largely in response to seeing how people are using this information in cool ways I would not have foreseen. Though I am a slow and erratic correspondent due to the volume of my work and email, please feel welcome both to contribute texts & links for the website and to let me know how you use the website and how it can help you. 
Cheers, and I hope the new updates indicated above are stimulating!

In Richmond This Weekend

Are any of you in the Richmond, VA area? Come meet in person!
This weekend mOnocle-Lash & Revenant Editions will have a table at the Richmond Zine Fest! If you're in the region, stop by the main downtown library from 11–4 this Saturday to browse, talk, buy and trade books with well over a hundred micropress publishers from across the eastern seaboard.
mOnocle-Lash will have around 70% of our catalog available for trade, buy, or wheedle from me as a gift, including most of the recent avant-historical books from the Revenant Series relating to the Jeunes-France / Bouzingo and related groups & descendants. 
This is our first time tabling here but our second visit–it's a huge, exhilarating event that is not to miss if you're in the region and interested in autonomous, progressive, DIY culture of any kind!

Monday, September 5, 2016

New Revenant & mOnocle-Lash Publications!

Three New mOnocle-Lash / Revenant Releases

JUST REALEASED! Three New Publications from Monocle-Lash Anti-Press, all related to the "Resurrecting" project, and available in print practically at cost, or as FREE PDFs from the m-Lash website!

This is a distinctly historiographic release:  Two of these are published under the Revenants Editions imprint and bring to light texts from the very early avant-garde for the first time in English, and the first time in any language for over a century. The other makes one of the first and most hated/popular turn-coat apostates in avant-history accessible to a new generation of lazy readers:

1.) Rêvenance: A Zine of Hauntings from Underground Histories. Issue 1.
–ed. Olchar E. Lindsann

Rêvenance is the flagship journal of the 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.
The first issue features translations (by Olchar Lindsann and Raymond Ernest André III) of work by Alphonse Allais, Gérard de Nerval, Maurice Rollinat, Alphonse Karr & Georges d’Heylli; poetic re-workings of Charles Nodier & Michel Roly by John M. Bennett; poems in Volapük by Francis Vielé-Griffin and Michael Helsem; essays by Gleb Kolomiets and Olchar Lindsann; visual texts by Edward Kulemin; and a conversation by Jim Leftwich, John M. Bennett & Peter Ciccariello about Rea Nikonova, Malevich, and the Incoherents group of the 1880s.
32 pgs on folded 8.5”x14”. Sept., A.Da. 100 (2016).
$5.00 + 1.00 s/h or Free Download
2.) Pif Paf Patapan! A Sampler of Phonetic Poetry From the 19th Century
–by Paul Verlaine, Théophile Gautier, Charles Nodier, & Francis Vielé-Griffin; ed. Olchar E. Lindsann
Though Phonetic Poetry as a designated, focused practice was developed in the early years of the 20th Century, experiments with phonetics and non-semantic sound have been explored in the avant-garde since at least 1830. These are the poets who were read by the Futurists, Dadas, and Zoumists, and whose experiments (and others’?) they consolidated into a new form.
8 pgs on folded 8.5” x 11”. Sept., A.Da. 100 (2016).
$1.00 + 1.00 s/h or Free Download
NOTE: Verlaine poem is flawed in the online version of the PDF, due to some obscure coding flaw that changes PDFs when displayed online. Email for a free uncorrupted version of the file. Sorry!
3.) The Prelude: Book 3
—by William Wordsworth
——translated into Even-More-Boring-and-Trite by Fast Sedan Nellson
From the self-proclaimed ‘Prince of Translators’, this is the third volume in Nellson’s copiously annotated translation of Wordsworth’s 230-page biographical poem into an obscure dialect of English, ‘Even-More-Boring-and-Trite’. (Wordsworth’s original poem is in a related dialect, ‘Boring-and-Trite’.) To be issued over several years as a set of 14 volumes, followed by an eventual deluxe perfect-bound edition with parallel translation and extensive introduction and commentary.
Vol. III Continues Wordsworth’s boring adventures as “I Live in Cambridge”.
16 pgs. on folded 8.5″x11″. Feb, A.Da. 96. (2012 Anti-Vulgar)
$1.50 + 1.00 s/h or trade or Free Download