Alphonse de Lamartine: Wikis

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Alphonse Marie Louis de Lamartine

Lamartine, by Henri Decaisne (Musée de Mâcon)
Occupation Writer, poet, politician
Literary movement Romanticism
Lamartine in front of the Hôtel de Ville de Paris, on the 25 February 1848, by Félix Philippoteaux
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Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine (21 October 1790 - 28 February 1869) was a French writer, poet and politician.

Contents

Career

Born in Mâcon, Burgundy into French provincial nobility, he spent his youth at the family property at Milly-Lamartine.

He is famous for his partly autobiographical poem, "Le Lac" ("The Lake"), which describes in retrospect the fervent love shared by a couple from the point of view of the bereaved man. Lamartine was masterly in his use of French poetic forms. He was one of very few French literary figures to combine his writing with a political career. Raised a devout Catholic, Lamartine became a pantheist, writing Jocelyn and La Chute d'un ange. He wrote Histoire des Girondins in 1847 in praise of the Girondists.

He worked for the French embassy in Italy from 1825 to 1828. In 1829, he was elected a member of the Académie française. He was elected a 'député' in 1833, and was briefly in charge of government during the turbulence of 1848. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 24 February 1848 to 11 May 1848. Due to his great age, Jacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure, Chairman of the Provisional Government, effectively delegated much of his duties to Lamartine. He was then a member of the Executive Commission, the political body which served as France's joint Head of State.

During his term as a politician in the Second Republic of France, he led efforts that eventually led to the abolition of slavery and the death penalty, as well as the enshrinement of the right to work and the short-lived national workshop programs. A political idealist who supported democracy and pacifism, his moderate stance on most issues caused his followers to desert him. He was an unsuccessful candidate to the presidential election of 10 December 1848. He subsequently retired from politics and dedicated himself to literature.

He ended his life in poverty, publishing monthly installments of the Cours familier de littérature to support himself. He died in Paris.

He is considered to be the first French romantic poet (though Charles-Julien Lioult de Chênedollé was working on similar innovations at the same time), and was acknowledged by Paul Verlaine and the Symbolists as an important influence.

Alphonse on Mohammad

Alphonse de Lamartine as quoted in Histoire de la Turquie (1854) speaks on Mohammad:

"Never has a man proposed for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a goal more sublime, since this goal was beyond measure: undermine the superstitions placed between the creature and the Creator, give back God to man and man to God, reinstate the rational and saintly idea of divinity in the midst of this prevailing chaos of material and disfigured gods of idolatry.

Never has a man accomplished in such a short time such an immense and long lasting revolution in the world, since less than two centuries after his predication, Islam, preaching and armed, ruled over three Arabias, and conquered to God’s unity Persia, the Khorasan, Transoxania, Western India, Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia, and all the known continent of Southern Africa, many islands of the Mediterranean, Spain and part of Gaulle.

If the grandeur of the aim, the smallness of the means, the immensity of the result are the three measures of a man’s genius, who would dare humanly compare a great man of modern history with Mohammad?

The most famous have only moved weapons, laws, empires; they founded, when they founded anything, only material powers, often crumbling before them. This one not only moved armies, legislations, empires, peoples, dynasties, millions of men over a third of the inhabited globe; but he also moved ideas, beliefs, souls. He founded upon a book, of which each letter has become a law, a spiritual nationality embracing people of all languages and races; and made an indelible imprint upon this Muslim world, for the hatred of false gods and the passion for the God, One and Immaterial.

Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior conqueror of ideas, restorer of a rational dogma for a cult without imagery, founder of twenty earthly empires and of a spiritual empire, this is Mohammad.

Of all the scales by which one measures human grandeur, which man has been greater..."

Selected writings

  • Saül (1818)
  • Méditations poétiques (1820)
  • Nouvelles Méditations (1823)
  • Harmonies poétiques et religieuses (1830)
  • Sur la politique rationnelle (1831)
  • Voyage en Orient (1835)
  • Jocelyn (1836)
  • La chute d'un ange (1838)
  • Recueillements poétiques (1839)
  • Histoire des Girondins (1847)
  • Raphaël (1849)
  • Confidences (1849)
  • Geneviève, histoire d'une servante (1851)
  • Graziella (1852)
  • Les visions (1853)
  • Histoire de la Turquie (1854)
  • Cours familier de littérature (1856)
Photograph (albumin print) of Lamartine by Nadar, 1856.

Bibliography

  • John MacKay, Inscription and Modernity: From Wordsworth to Mandelstam (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006) ISBN 0-253-34749-1

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure
Chairman of the Provisional Government of the French Republic
Head of State of France
1848-05-06–1848-06-28
Member of the Executive Commission along with:
François Arago
Louis-Antoine Garnier-Pagès
Alexandre Ledru-Rollin
Pierre Marie (de Saint-Georges)
Succeeded by
Louis-Eugène Cavaignac
President of the Council of Ministers
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Pierre Daru
Seat 7
Académie française

1829–1869
Succeeded by
Émile Ollivier
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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

To love for the sake of being loved is human, but to love for the sake of loving is angelic.

Alphonse Marie Louise Prat de Lamartine (Alphonse-Marie-Louis de Prat de Lamartine) (October 21, 1790 - February 28, 1869) was a French writer, poet, and politician.

Sourced

  • O time, arrest your flight! and you, propitious hours, arrest your course! Let us savor the fleeting delights of our most beautiful days!
    • The Lake, st. 6 (1820)
  • I say to this night: "Pass more slowly"; and the dawn will come to dispel the night.
    • The Lake, st. 8 (1820)
  • Let us love the passing hour, let us hurry up and enjoy our time.
    • The Lake, st. 9 (1820)
  • Love alone was left, as a great image of a dream that was erased.
    • The Valley, st. 9 (1820)
  • Limited in his nature, infinite in his desires, man is a fallen god who remembers the heavens.
    • Méditations Poétiques, Sermon 2 (1820)
  • What is our life but a succession of preludes to that unknown song whose first solemn note is sounded by death?
    • Méditations Poétiques, Second series, Sermon 15 (1820)
  • Experience is the only prophesy of wise men.
    • Speech at Mâcon (1847)
  • To love for the sake of being loved is human, but to love for the sake of loving is angelic.
    • Graziella, Pt. IV, ch. 5 (1849)
  • The more I see of the representatives of the people, the more I admire my dogs.
    • From Count d'Orsay's Letter to John Forster (1850)
  • Sometimes, only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated.
    • "L'Isolement", Méditations Poétiques (1820)

Unsourced

  • A conscience without God is like a court without a judge.
  • Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger links than common joys.
  • If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.
  • Private passions tire and exhaust themselves, public ones never.
  • Providence conceals itself in the details of human affairs, but becomes unveiled in the generalities of history.
  • There is a woman at the begining of all great things.
  • Our only truth is our sorrow.
  • What crime have we commited in order to be born?
  • God is nothing but a dream word, in order to explain the existence of the world.
  • I am tired of museums - these cemeteries of art.

External links

Wikipedia
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