19th-century French Literature

19th-century French literature concerns the developments in French literature during a dynamic period in French history that saw the rise of Democracy and the fitful end of Monarchy and Empire. The period covered spans the following political regimes: Napoleon Bonaparte's Consulate (1799–1804) and Empire (1804–1814), the Restoration under Louis XVIII and Charles X (1814–1830), the July Monarchy under Louis Philippe d'Orléans (1830–1848), the Second Republic (1848–1852), the Second Empire under Napoleon III (1852–1871), and the first decades of the Third Republic (1871–1940).

French literature enjoyed enormous international prestige and success in the 19th century, though the dominant position it had in Europe in 1800 was gradually eroded by other languages. The first part of the century was dominated by Romanticism, until around the mid-century Realism emerged, at least partly as a reaction. In the last half of the century, "naturalism", "parnassian" poetry, and "symbolism", among other styles, were often competing tendencies at the same time. Some writers did form into literary groups defined by a name and a program or manifesto. In other cases, these expressions were merely pejorative terms given by critics to certain writers or have been used by modern literary historians to group writers of divergent projects or methods. Nevertheless, these labels can be useful in describing broad historical developments in the arts.

Read more about 19th-century French Literature:  Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, Parnasse, Symbolism and The Birth of The Modern

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    Georges, French novelist, critic. L’Abbé C, pt. 2, ch. 17 (1950)

    As a man has no right to kill one of his children if it is diseased or insane, so a man who has made the gradual and conscious expression of his personality in literature the aim of his life, has no right to suppress himself any carefully considered work which seemed good enough when it was written. Suppression, if it is deserved, will come rapidly enough from the same causes that suppress the unworthy members of a man’s family.
    —J.M. (John Millington)