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© Patrick O'Donovan 1986–2019

'Poetry and the discourse of happiness in nineteenth-century France: the case of Vigny'

This essay looks at a now overlooked poem. It grapples with a paradox: one reads Vigny within a prolonged immersion in French poetry that takes us ‘beyond’ him. Even if we happen to return to Vigny, the movement away from him may never be fully reversed: we read him (and others) differently in the light of responses through which he is somehow superseded. And yet the poem is shown here to occupy a central place within a tradition both philosophical and poetic where we contend with the loss of providential beliefs and in turn with the fate of poetry in the modern world.

Susan Harrow and Tim Unwin, eds, Joie de vivre in French Literature and Culture: Essays in Honour of Michael Freeman (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009), pp. 193–210
  Accepted manuscript: institutional repository