Born Apr. 29, 1805, in Paris; died Feb. 13, 1882, in Nice. French poet. Member of the Académie Française (1869).
Barbier’s first and best collection, Iambs (1831), brought him fame. In it the poet stigmatizes the cowardice and greed of the bourgeoisie that was manifested in the days of the uprising of 1830; in contrast, he presents heroic-pathetic images of Freedom, the goddess of the common people, and the Parisian blousons at the barricades during the July Revolution (Dog’s Feast, or Dividing up the Booty, 1830; Russian translation, 1868). His accusatory lyrics, tragic in tone, with their grotesque use of allegory, their metaphorical style which combines popular speech and oratorical declamation, and their stream of furious curses and impetuous rhythm, opened the romantic period in the history of French civic poetry.
Barbier’s cycle of elegies and sonnets entitled in Italian II pianto (Weeping, 1833) is a mournful diary of the poet’s journey to the homeland of the great artists of the Renaissance, a country that was suffering under the Austrian yoke. The theme of the liberation movement of peoples is developed in his sonnets Heroic Consonances (1843). The collection Lazarus (1837) describes the misery of the London poor and denounces English colonial pillage; for the first time in French poetry, a picture is given of the work and life of the industrial proletariat. At the end of his life, Barbier did translations from G. Boccaccio, W. Shakespeare, S. T. Coleridge, and others. E. Delacroix painted Liberty at the Barricades on the basis of the themes of Dog’s Feast.
Barbier’s lyrics attained great renown in Russia in the 19th century. They were translated by S. F. Durov, V. P. Bure-nin, D. D. Minaev, V. S. Kurochkin, P. I. Veinberg, and others during the 19th century and by V. Ia. Briusov, O. E. Mandel’shtam, P. G. Antokol’skii, Argo, and others in the 20th century.
WORKSIambes et poèmes. Paris, 1880.
In Russian translation:
lamby i poemy. Edited, introductory article, and commentary by M. P. Alekseev. Odessa, 1922.
Izbr. stikhotvoreniia. Edited and with a foreword by E. Etkind. Moscow, 1953.
REFERENCESShapellon, A. A. Frantsuzskii satirik Ogiust Barb’e. Odessa, 1884.
Danilin, Iu. Poety liul’skoi revoliutsii. Moscow, 1935.
Velikovskii, S. Poety frantsuzskikh revoliutsii, 1789–1848. Moscow, 1963.
Laurent-Pichat, L. Les poètes de combat. Paris, 1862.
Baudelaire, C. Curiosités esthétiques: L’art romantique et autres Oeuvres critiques. Paris, 1962.
Cogniot, G. “A. Barbier, poète interdit.” La Pensée, 1957, no. 71.
S. I. VELIKOVSKII