Alfred Victor De Vigny

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vigny, Alfred Victor De


Born Mar. 27, 1797, in Loches, in the department of Indre-et-Loire; died Sept. 17, 1863, in Paris. Count; French writer.

Vigny served in the royal army from 1814 to 1827. In 1822 he published his first collection, Poems. In the historical novel The Fifth of March (vols. 1-2, 1826; Russian translation, 1829-30) he idealized the noble youth of the 17th century from the point of view of a militant aristocratic philosophy. The historical drama La Maréchale d’Ancre (1831) depicts the epoch of feudal disarray in France after the death of Henry IV. In the psychological drama Chatterton (1835; Russian translation, 1836), which is based on an episode from his novel Stello, or the Blue Devils (1832; Russian translation, 1835), Vigny portrays the tragic situation of the poet in bourgeois society. The novel Servitude and Military Grandeur (1835; Russian translations, 1915 and 1968) is based on memoirs from military service. The collections The Fates (1863) and A Poet’s Diary (1867) were published posthumously.

Not accepting bourgeois relations but at the same time seeing the decadence of the nobility, Vigny did not entertain the illusions of the reactionary romantics about the restoration of the old order. This explains the somber pessimism of his work and his depiction of the suffering individual who alone rises above the crowd (as, for example, in the poem The Death of the Wolf, 1843). In his later poems (the collection The Fates) Vigny partially abandoned his pessimistic philosophy and expressed faith in progress. His poetry, which had an influence on the Parnassians, is distinguished by a severity of form in which thought prevails over sentiment. In the structure of his verse Vigny is close to classicism. The theomachist themes of his poetry also differentiate him from the reactionary romantics.


Oeuvres completes, vols. 1-12. Paris, 1913-14.
Oeuvres completes. Preface by P. Viallaneix. Paris, 1965. Poèmes. Paris, 1966.
In Russian translation: [“Stikhotvoreniia.”] In Frantsuzskie liriki XIX veka. Translation in verse and biobibliographical annotations by V. Briusov. St. Petersburg [1909].
Chatterton. Leningrad-Moscow, 1957.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.