Alfred de Musset by Ariane Charton

By Ariane Charton

'Un poète peut parler de lui, de ses amis, des vins qu’il boit, de los angeles maîtresse qu’il a ou qu’il voudrait avoir, du temps qu’il fait, des morts et des vivants, des sages et des fous : mais il ne doit pas faire de politique.'

Enfant poor du romantisme, Alfred de Musset (1810-1857) fut considéré de son vivant comme un météore qui n’avait jamais donné l. a. pleine mesure de son expertise. On ne voulait voir en lui qu’un auteur de comédies charmantes, de contes légers et de poèmes lyriques. los angeles Confession d’un enfant du siècle fut publiée dans une sorte d’indifférence : il ne chercha jamais à dissiper ces malentendus. Observateur désabusé d’une époque qui l’ennuie, il est pourtant celui qui dit le mieux le désenchantement de sa génération. Trop souvent réduit à sa réputation d’écrivain sentimental et à sa liaison avec George Sand, Musset est notre contemporain : parce qu’il position sa vie et son œuvre sous le signe de l. a. modernité et de l. a. liberté individuelle.

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Example text

They asked when they returned, hours later, to find me sitting in the dark, shivering with fear and cold. They probably didn’t expect to be so long. They knew I was terrified of the dark, but maybe I had never told them of my nightmare about the witches. Finding a Voice to Write about Childhood 35 THE WITCHES My sister’s screams brought Mummy running: Did you push her? They drove to the hospital leaving me alone in the house. I read a book by the window. until I couldn’t see the words. Too scared to turn on the light I watched ghostly white roses disappear into the dark.

The pattern of rhyme and rhythm and melody provided a raft which carried the voice though the poem. Finding a Voice to Write about Childhood MUSIC AND GOD The only light in the dark church shines on a hymn book’s notes and words: my father in the organ loft coaxing the keys to solemn chords. I sit beside him on the stool so close I smell his sour breath. His long thin feet jab out the bass. He whistles softly through his teeth. And now he’s adding numbers up, long columns in his spidery hand. It’s Saturday, his one day off; his migraine’s like an iron band.

That they were written at the moment when this could not be done in speaking voices is the point, the paradox. The poem quoted above is the second in the book. The preceding poem makes it clear that conversation is already nearly out of reach. Already the 40 Chapter Three business of words is deeply ambivalent, anything but transparent. They might be the screen that comes between us, or the lens through which a rare clear image might come... (9) Word-people of a certain age will remember the name Ximenes, setter of a certain murderous crossword—the kind that the absence of definite clues made almost metaphysical.

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