André Marie de Chénier

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Chénier, André Marie de

 

Born Oct. 29, 1762, in Constantinople; died July 25, 1794, in Paris. French poet and publicist. Brother of M.-J. de Chénier.

A. M. de Chénier graduated from the Collège de Navarre in Paris in 1781. His poems deal with the naïve joys and sorrows of people living in harmony with nature and with the charm of their daily labor and cares. Chénier derived the themes and forms of his poetry from classical authors, but the sincerity and freshness of feeling in his lyric poems led the romantics to consider him their precursor.

Chénier shared the Enlightenment’s abstract love of freedom, and he welcomed the French Revolution in the ode “The Tennis Court Oath” (1791). Frightened by the progress of revolutionary events, however, he adopted a hostile attitude toward the Jacobins and wrote biting pamphlets for the liberal monarchist press. He was arrested in 1793 and executed several months later. While in prison, Chénier wrote the anti-Jacobin cycle Iambics (1794) and the ode “The Young Captive” (1795). His poetry was not published until 1819. In Russia, some of Chénier’s poems were translated by A. S. Pushkin, who devoted the poem “André Chénier” (1825) to him, and by E. A. Baratynskii, A. A. Fet, A. K. Tolstoy, and V. Ia. Briusov.

WORKS

Oeuvres complètes. Paris, 1950.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. proizvedeniia. [Moscow] 1940.
[“Stikhi.”] In Frantsuzskie stikhi v perevodakh russkikh poetov XIX–XX vv. Moscow, 1969.

REFERENCES

Velikovskii, S. “Andre Shen’e i revoliutsiia.” In his book Poety frantsuzskikh revoliutsii 1789–1848. Moscow, 1963.
Shor, V. “Andre Shen’e.” In Pisateli Frantsii. Moscow, 1964.
Walter, G. André Chénier. [Paris] 1947.
Scarfe, Fr. André Chénier. Oxford, 1965.

IU. A. GINZBURG