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.


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.)


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.


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Some writers, such as Victor Cousin, Joseph-Pierre Proudhon, Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, and Abel-Francois Villemain, actually opposed the recognition of the rights of authors as a perpetual property, on the grounds that it would create a privileged class of what Proudhon called the majorats or "monopolizers.
In a letter to Eugene Renduel circa 1835, Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, for instance, imposed a series of demands on his publisher for a second edition of his collected Critiques et portraits:
Passerat had been given significant attention by Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve in his Tableau historique et critique de la poesie francaise et du theatre francais au XVIe siecle (1828, 1838, 1842, 1843), but the eminent critic had not mentioned "J'ay perdu ma Tourterelle.
11) Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, Tableau historique et critique de la poesie francaise et du theatre francais au XVIe siecle.
En Francia, Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve ya habia conducido a la critica por el camino del examen casi policial --si no protofascista, que se colo en el arte, como advirtieron Proust y los hermanos Goncourt--de calificar la obra de alguien a partir de su proceder moral, politico y social.
Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, essayist and literary critic, made his poetic debut through the anonymous publication of Vie, poesies et pensees de Joseph Delorme in Paris on April 4th, 1829.
15) A fact noted by both Gerald Antoine, "Introduction, notes et lexique," in Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, Vie, poesies et pensees de Joseph Delorme (Paris: J & S editeur, 2002), vii-ccvi; and Gustave Michaut, Sainte-Beuve avant les "lundis": Essais sur la formation de son esprit et de sa methode critique (Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1968).
It was Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve who said that "there are people whose watch stops at a certain hour and who remain permanently at that age" And, if the French literary critic was correct, then Maria Sharapova is a case in point.
Beasley considers numerous other commentaries in her survey, including those by Stephanie Felicite de Genlis, Ferdinand Brunetiere, Victor Cousin, and Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve.
Arnold praised and absorbed the French critics Ernest Renan and Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve.
While the Weimar patriarch's encouragements validated Topffer's side-career as a cartoonist, France's reigning literary critic Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve did his best to downplay its importance--ironically so, with Topffer's best interest equally in mind.

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