Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve

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Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin

 

Born Dec. 23, 1804, in Boulogne-sur-Mer; died Oct. 13, 1869, in Paris. French critic and writer.

In his Survey of 16th-century French Poetry and Drama (1828), Sainte-Beuve asserted that romanticism was a literary program that owed its origin to the French Revolution. The work appealed for creative freedom, innovative poetic forms, and the introduction into literature of heroes from the common people. Sainte-Beuve also wrote the collections of lyric poetry The Life, Poetry, and Thoughts of Joseph Delorme (1829) and Consolations (1830). In the 1830’s he published essays on French writers of the 17th to 19th centuries, later included in the collection Literary Portraits (vols. 1–5, 1836–39). He also published the novel Delight (1834) and the historical and literary study Port-Royal (1840–59).

Beginning in 1849, Sainte-Beuve wrote critical articles that were published on Mondays in Parisian newspapers. These articles were collected in the multivolume series Monday Chats (1851–62) and its continuation, New Mondays (1863–70). Using historical, psychological, and philosophic critical methods, Sainte-Beuve sought for the sources of literary movements in history itself, rejecting dogmatic critical traditions. He dealt with such aesthetic problems as the artist and society, art and the revolutionary movement, the degree of truthfulness in literary works, and the expression of national spirit in literature. Sainte-Beuve was able to revolutionize critical methods in evaluating the heritage of many French writers owing to his keen sense of the historical and psychological atmosphere of each epoch and a sensitive comprehension of aesthetic ideals.

WORKS

Etudes des lundis et des portraits, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1930.
Les Plus Belles Lettres de Sainte-Beuve. Introduced by A. Billy. Paris [1962].
In Russian translation:
Literaturnye portrety, kriticheskie ocherki. Moscow, 1970. (See article by M.S. Treskunov.)

REFERENCES

Oblomievskii, D. D. Frantsuzskii romantism. Moscow, 1947.
Michaut, G. Sainte-Beuve. Paris, 1921.
Billy, A. Sainte-Beuve: Savie et son temps, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1952.
Regard, M. Sainte-Beuve. Paris [1960]. (Contains bibliography.)
Sainte-Beuve et la critique littéraire contemporaine: Actes du colloque. Liège, 1969; Paris, 1972.
Correspondance générale, vols. 1–16. Paris, 1935–70.
Bonnerot, J. Bibliographie de l’oeuvre de Sainte-Beuve [vols.] 1–3. Paris, 1937–52.

M. S. TRESKUNOV

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