Théophile Gautier

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gautier, Théophile


Born Aug. 31, 1811, in Tarbes; died Oct. 22, 1872, in Neuilly, near Paris. French writer and critic.

In his youth Gautier was an adherent of romanticism but later became the spiritual father of the Parnassian school. His early Poems (1830), the narrative poem Albertus (1833), the tales Young France (1833), and the verse collection Comedy of Death (1838) exhibit traces of Byronic demonism; he combined an inclination to fantasy with measured verse. Rejecting bourgeois everyday life as a kingdom of vulgar men and hucksters, Gautier gave one of the first full-scale substantiations of the theory of “art for art’s sake,” in the foreword to the novel Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835–36) and in articles in the book The New Art (1852). He rejected both petit bourgeois moralizing and democratic ideological content in literature. In the lyric miniatures of the collection Enamels and Cameos (1852; Russian translation, 1914), the elegance, fluidity, and color of things underscore his indifference to what he considers transitory passions.

Gautier’s penchant for the picturesque re-creation of distant periods and countries found expression in his Novel About a Mummy (1858; Russian translation, 1911), set in ancient Egypt; in his adventure novel about the life of itinerant actors in 17th-century France, Captain Fracasse (1863, Russian translation, 1895, 1957; expanded French editions in 1929, 1942, 1961, France); and in Journey to Russia (1867).

Gautier’s more interesting works of criticism include Grotesques (1844), about forgotten poets of the 15th through 17th centuries, A History of Romanticism (1874, posthumous), and his essay on Baudelaire (Russian translation, 1915). V. G. Benediktov, V. Ia. Briusov, and N. S. Gumilev have translated Gautier’s poetry into Russian.


Oeuvres choisies. Paris, 1930.
Contes fantastiques. Paris, 1962.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. stikhi
. Paris, 1923.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1956.
Spoelberch de Lovenjoul, C. Histoire des oeuvres de T. Gautier, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1887.
Jasinski, R. Les Années romantiques de T. Gautier. Paris, 1929.
Larguier, L. Théophile Gautier. Paris, 1948.
Richardson, J. T. Gautier, His Life and Times. New York [1959].
Delvaille, B. Théophile Gautier. Paris, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
I am so sorry that Theophile Gautier has passed away; I should have liked so much to go and see him, and tell him all that I owe him.
Theophile Gautier got out of Seville all that it has to offer.
It comprised such important names as Theophile Gautier [1811-72], Leconte de Lisle [1818-94], Theodore de Banville [1829-90] and Jose Maria de Heredia [1818-94].
It is heroic confusion." (9) At the same time, he enjoyed a close friendship with Chopin; and Theophile Gautier saw in Delacroix's distancing of himself from the Romantics a dandified imitation of Lord Byron, "who extolled Pope at the expense of Shakespeare." (10) In the wake of the critical disaster attending the exhibition of his feverish Death of Sardanapalus in the Salon of 1827-28, Delacroix sought to discard its extreme compositional agitation and sexualized violence.
[beaucoup moins que]Chaque heure fait sa plaie et la derniere acheve[beaucoup plus grand que], avait souligne l'ecrivain et poete francais, Theophile Gautier. Dans ce sillage, force est de constater que cette improvisation aggraverait le probleme au lieu d'en attenuer les effets.
Translated from the original publication, Theophile Gautier, "L'Enfant aux souliers de pain,"Le Conseiller des enfants (octobre 1849), text at
By deconstructing Theophile Gautier's libretto, the piece explores the possibilities offered to bodies as well as touching on current sensitivities.
The thirteen songs in the Vasnier notebook comprised five texts by Paul Verlaine, six by Paul Bourget, and one each by Theophile Gautier and Alfred de Musset (the latter represented by Chanson espagnole, the only duet in the collection).
The gender-bending of the role highlights the ways in which Indian dancers were viewed as both fantastically desirable and unapproachably alien by European men in the 19th century, a point brought home by the inclusion in the sound score of Theophile Gautier's written account of his first encounters with devadasis, the inspiration for the ballet's original scenario.
The core messages of love, betrayal and redemption obviously resonate with any audience, and some exquisite performances by the support cast of the ballet allows the story of Theophile Gautier to unfold with complete clarity right to its tragic but redemptive end.
(2) Filha primogenita do escritor Theophile Gautier e de Ernesta Grisi, Louise Charlotte Ernestine Gautier, Judith tornou-se uma reconhecida escritora, tradutora e intelectual em sua epoca.
'Today art has at its disposal only dead ideas,' bemoaned Theophile Gautier in 1853, 'and formulas which no longer correspond to its needs.' Just as a self-consciously 'new' painting sought to break with the last lurid gasp of the academic tradition, so too the birth of 'modern' design was predicated on putting an end to the eclecticism in the decorative arts, which had created pieces of furniture of bloated dimensions, gaudy patterning, and shoddy manufacture.