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French Romanticism

Cénacle is the name given to a Parisian literary group of varying constituency that began about 1826 to gather around Charles Nodier. In French, cénacle means a dining room, especially one on an upper floor. By extension it acquires the meaning of a small circle or gathering of specialists (writers etc); a clique. It is used in the context of a salon.

The group sought to revive in French literature the old monarchical spirit, the spirit of mediæval mystery and spiritual submission. The chief members were Vigny and the brothers Deschamps. They were soon joined by Lamartine, Hugo, and Sainte-Beuve, who describes the group as "royalists by birth, Christians by convention and a vague sentimentality." Their organ was La Muse Française. Musset, Mérimée, and the elder Dumas were involved within the Cénacle, too. Time and the revolution of 1830 wrought changes in the attitudes of the members of Cénacle. Théophile Gautier and Gérard de Nerval were attracted to the group at the time of the revolution, but the reasons for the existence of the Cénacle dissolved. The group lost its reason for existence with the triumph of Hugo's Hernani (1830).

Historical cénacles

  • Le cénacle a group of artists and young writers gathered around Charles Nodier and Victor Hugo. It was a private gathering which often took place at one of the members' home. (Le Cénacle, sur Gallica)

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

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