Théophile Gautier Essay - Théophile Gautier Poetry Analysis

Théophile Gautier Poetry Analysis

The typical twentieth century critical estimation is that Théophile Gautier is a transitional figure in French poetry, although this was not the judgment of his own time, for he was highly, perhaps extravagantly, praised by his contemporaries. Today, Gautier is often viewed as a second-generation Romantic whose earliest work is excessively imitative of the previous generation and whose mature work anticipates the poetic achievement of later, greater poets and of entire literary schools. It is a curiosity that Gautier is better known today as a spokesman for an aesthetic doctrine, art for art’s sake—which he never systematized and only fitfully realized—than for his poetry itself.

That particular aesthetic was...

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