Leconte de Lisle  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
do not confuse with Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam

Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle (October 22, 1818July 17, 1894) was a French poet of the Parnassian movement.

Works

In Leconte de Lisle the Parnassian movement seems to crystallize. His verse is clear, sonorous, dignified, deliberate in movement, classically correct in rhythm, full of exotic local colour, of savage names, of realistic rhetoric. It has its own kind of romance, in its "legend of the ages," so different from Hugo's, so much fuller of scholarship and the historic sense, yet with far less of human pity. Coldness cultivated as a kind of artistic distinction seems to turn all his poetry to marble, in spite of the fire at its heart. Most of Leconte de Lisle's poems are little chill epics, in which legend is fossilized. They have the lofty monotony of a single conception of life and of the universe. He sees the world as what Byron called it, "a glorious blunder," and desires only to stand a little apart from the throng, meditating scornfully. Hope, with him, becomes no more than this desperate certainty:

"Tu te tairas, ô voix sinistre des vivants!"

His only prayer is to Death, "divine Death," that it may gather its children to its breast:

"Affranchis-nous du temps, du nombre et de l'espace, Et rends-nous le repos que la vie a troublé!"

The interval which is his he accepts with something of the defiance of his own Cain, refusing to fill it with the triviality of happiness, waiting even upon beauty with a certain inflexible austerity. He listens and watches, throughout the world, for echoes and glimpses of great tragic passions, languid with fire in the East, a tumultuous conflagration in the Middle Ages, a sombre darkness in the heroic ages of the North. The burning emptiness of the desert attracts him, the inexplicable melancholy of the dogs that bark at the moon; he would interpret the jaguar's dreams, the sleep of the condor. He sees nature with the same wrathful impatience as man, praising it for its destructive energies, its haste to crush out human life before the stars fall into chaos, and the world with them, as one of the least of stars. He sings the "Dies Irae" exultingly; only seeming to desire an end of God as well as of man, universal nothingness. He conceives that he does well to be angry, and this anger is indeed the personal note of his pessimism; but it leaves him somewhat apart from the philosophical poets, too fierce for wisdom and not rapturous enough for poetry.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Leconte de Lisle" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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