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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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.
Boulogne-sur-Mer was the birthplace of several famous men and women, including Auguste Mariette, one of the foremost Egyptologists of the 19th-century and founder of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo; Guillaume Duchenne, pioneering photographer and neurophysiologist of the human face; Frederic Sauvage, marinee engineer and early developer of boat propellers; Pierre Claude Francois Daunou, statesman and historian; Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, famed literary critic; and Benoit-Constant Coquelin, noted actor who appeared on Broadway with Sarah Bernhardt and his brother Ernest Coquelin.
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.

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