Other Literary Forms
Alfred de Musset established his reputation as a poet and was, in fact, best known as a poet throughout the greater part of an artistic career of almost thirty years. It was not until 1847, with the successful productions of A Caprice (a comedy published ten years earlier) in St. Petersburg and at the Comédie-Française, that Musset began to enjoy comparable distinction as a dramatist. Additionally, Musset published an extensive amount of fiction, most of it in the form of contes, or tales, which are often full of wit and spirit but have fallen, perhaps undeservedly, into almost total neglect. In 1836, Musset’s one major novel was published, the semiautobiographical La Confession d’un enfant du siècle (The Confession of a Child of the Century, 1892). This work is most notable for its vivid evocation of an era and its philosophical climate; the novel is a striking, extended depiction of nineteenth century mal de siècle. Musset’s nondramatic canon is rounded out by a number of often perceptive and forward-thinking critical reviews in the fields of literature, music, and the visual arts.