Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In 1852, the whole body of Alfred de Musset’s poetry was gathered into two volumes and published as the First Poetic Works and New Poetic Works. The first volume is made up of Romances of Spain and Italy (1829) and A Show from an Easy Chair (1833). The second collection contains pieces written after 1833. It is worth recalling that by 1840, when the poet was thirty years old, Musset’s creative talents were virtually exhausted. A complete explanation of this premature exhaustion should not be sought in the character of Musset’s poetic doctrine. However, in the light of Musset’s stated belief that the greatness of verse was commensurate with the magnitude of the poet’s suffering and the intensity of his emotion, it will be readily understood that his creative talent was likely to fade relatively early.
Only a handful of people turned up for Musset’s funeral in 1857. This seems remarkable now, in the light of Musset’s continuing popular appeal both as poet and as dramatist. It is all the more remarkable in view of the enthusiastic welcome given him by the members of the Romantic Cénacle when he first joined the group in 1828. His precocious poetic talent and dazzling wit could not, and did not, fail to impress its members.
Musset’s Romances of Spain and Italy was written after the first collected works of Victor Hugo were available. Just as it is of little moment that Hugo’s...
(The entire section is 1651 words.)
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