Alfred de Musset

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Great artists have no country.

Alfred Louis Charles de Musset (11 December 18102 May 1857) was a French dramatist, poet, and novelist.


  • As all the perfumes of the vanished day
    Rise from the earth still moistened with the dew
    So from my chastened soul beneath thy ray
    Old love is born anew.
    • Remembrance.

Confession d'un Enfant du Siécle (1836)(translation)

  • The apartments of the rich are cabinets of curiosities: a conglomeration of classical antiquity, gothic, renaissance; Louis XIII... Something from every century but our own, a predicament that has arisen in no other period... so that we seem to be subsisting on the ruins of the past, as if the end of the world were near.
    • This quotation is useful for explanations of the period of art nouveau, and the causes of the art movement.

About Alfred de Musset

  • For us, a sorrowful generation consumed by visions and insulted by his angelic sloth, Musset is fourteen times worse! O the tedious tales and proverbs! O his Nuits! His Rolla, Namouna, La Coupe. It’s all so French, which is to say unbearable to the nth degree; French, but not Parisian. Another work by that odious genius who inspired Rabelais, Voltaire and Jean La Fontaine, with notes by M. Taine! How vernal, Musset’s mind! And how delightful, his love! Like paint on enamel, his dense poetry! We will savor French poetry endlessly, in France. Every grocer’s son can reel off something Rollaesque, every seminarian has five hundred rhymes hidden in his notebook. At fifteen, these passionate impulses give boys boners; at sixteen, they’ve already resolved to recite their lines with feeling; at eighteen, even seventeen, every schoolboy who can write a Rolla, does—and they all do! Some may even still die from it. Musset couldn’t do anything: there were visions behind the gauze curtains: he closed his eyes. French, half-dead, dragged from tavern to schooldesk, the beautiful corpse has died, and, ever since, we needn’t waste our time trying to rouse him with our abominations!
    • Arthur Rimbaud : LETTER TO PAUL DEMENY, 1871. Charleville, 15 mai 1871.
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