Mal du siècle (French: [mal dy sjɛkl] , "sickness of the century") is a term used to refer to the ennui, disillusionment, and melancholy experienced by primarily young adults of Europe's early 19th century, when speaking in terms of the rising Romantic movement. François-René de Chateaubriand's protagonist René characterizes the Romantic ennui that would become a benchmark of the Romantic esthetic in the first half of the century:
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity. It can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, motivation, feelings, and sense of well-being. It may feature sadness, difficulty in thinking and concentration and a significant increase/decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, and people experiencing depression may have feelings of dejection, hopelessness and, sometimes, suicidal thoughts. It can either be short term or long term. Depressed mood is a symptom of some mood disorders such as major depressive disorder or dysthymia; it is a normal temporary reaction to life events, such as the loss of a loved one; and it is also a symptom of some physical diseases and a side effect of some drugs and medical treatments.
A young adult is generally a person ranging in age from their late teens or early twenties to their thirties, although definitions and opinions, such as Erik Erikson's stages of human development, vary. The young adult stage in human development precedes middle adulthood. A person in the middle adulthood stage ages from 40 or 41 to 64. In old age, a person is 65 years old or older.
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.
René is a young man who was suffering from the moral malady known as "le mal du siècle". This was an "état d'âme"that was not uncommon during the first half of the nineteenth century, and that was often copied and idealized in literature. It was largely boredom. Other manifestations were: melancholy of an aristocratic type, precocious apathy, discouragement without cause, distaste for living. The will seemed paralyzed by the contemplation of life's struggle. Faith and a sense of duty were alike absent. Man was "possédé, tourmenté par le démon de son cœur." Morbid sadness was mistaken for the suffering of a proud and superior mind. There was in it all a certain "bonheur d'être triste" which attracted. This pessimistic state was analyzed in René with great subtlety and penetration. The hero was made a most original and living type, a type that was repeated in the Childe Harold and Manfred of Byron, and even, in some of its manifestations, in the Hernani of Victor Hugo. In the opinion of Chateaubriand, René was his masterpiece. Later judgments regarding it are not unanimous, but many authoritative French critics see in it one of the masterpieces of their literature.
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts written by Lord Byron. It was published between 1812 and 1818 and is dedicated to "Ianthe". The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood.
Manfred: A dramatic poem is a closet drama written in 1816–1817 by Lord Byron. It contains supernatural elements, in keeping with the popularity of the ghost story in England at the time. It is a typical example of a Gothic fiction.
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, known simply as Lord Byron, was an English poet, peer, and politician who became a revolutionary in the Greek War of Independence, and is considered one of the historical leading figures of the Romantic movement of his era. He is regarded as one of the greatest English poets and remains widely read and influential. Among his best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; many of his shorter lyrics in Hebrew Melodies also became popular.
While Chateaubriand was the first to "diagnose" this "illness", it is Alfred de Musset who further popularized the notion of a "mal du siècle" in his La Confession d'un enfant du siècle (Confession of a Child of the Century).Musset notably attributed the malady to the loss of Napoleon Bonaparte, the French nation's modern father figure:
Alfred Louis Charles de Musset-Pathay was a French dramatist, poet, and novelist. Along with his poetry, he is known for writing the autobiographical novel La Confession d'un enfant du siècle.
Voilà dans quel chaos il fallut choisir alors; voilà ce qui se présentait à des enfants pleins de force et d'audace, fils de l'empire et petits-fils de la révolution. [...] l'esprit du siècle, ange du crépuscule, qui n'est ni la nuit, ni le jour.
Lo and behold in what chaos, then, one must choose; behold the choice that is given to children full of strength and audacity, sons of the Empire and grandsons of the Revolution. [...] the spirit of the century, angel of dusk, that which is neither night nor day.
François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand, was a French writer, politician, diplomat and historian who founded Romanticism in French literature. Descended from an old aristocratic family from Brittany, Chateaubriand was a royalist by political disposition. In an age when a number of intellectuals turned against the Church, he authored the Génie du christianisme in defense of the Catholic faith. His works include the autobiography Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe, published posthumously in 1849–1850.
René Boylesve, born René Marie Auguste Tardiveau, was a French writer and a literary critic.
Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, also known as Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson, was a French painter and pupil of Jacques-Louis David, who participated in the early Romantic movement by including elements of eroticism in his paintings. Girodet is remembered for his precise and clear style and for his paintings of members of the Napoleonic family.
Weltschmerz is a term coined by the German author Jean Paul and denotes the kind of feeling experienced by someone who believes that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind. This kind of world view was widespread among several romantic and decadent authors such as Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, William Blake, the Marquis de Sade, Charles Baudelaire, Giacomo Leopardi, Paul Verlaine, François-René de Chateaubriand, Alfred de Musset, Mikhail Lermontov, Nikolaus Lenau, Hermann Hesse, and Heinrich Heine.
19th-century French literature concerns the developments in French literature during a dynamic period in French history that saw the rise of Democracy and the fitful end of Monarchy and Empire. The period covered spans the following political regimes: Napoleon Bonaparte's Consulate (1799–1804) and Empire (1804–1814), the Restoration under Louis XVIII and Charles X (1814–1830), the July Monarchy under Louis Philippe d'Orléans (1830–1848), the Second Republic (1848–1852), the Second Empire under Napoleon III (1852–1871), and the first decades of the Third Republic (1871–1940).
The Genius of Christianity is a work by the French author François-René de Chateaubriand, written during his exile in England in the 1790s as a defense of the Catholic faith, then under attack during the French Revolution. It was first published in France in 1802, after Chateaubriand had taken advantage of the amnesty Napoleon issued to émigrés, which had allowed him to return to his home country in 1800. Napoleon, who had just signed the Concordat with the pope, initially made use of Chateaubriand's book as propaganda to win support among French Catholics. Within five years, he had quarrelled with the author and sent him into internal exile.
René is a short novella by François-René de Chateaubriand, which first appeared in 1802. The work had an immense impact on early Romanticism, comparable to that of Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther. Like the German novel, it deals with a sensitive and passionate young man who finds himself at odds with contemporary society. René was first published as part of Chateaubriand's Génie du christianisme along with another novella; Atala, although it was in fact an excerpt from a long prose epic the author had composed between 1793 and 1799 called Les Natchez, which would not be made public until 1826. René enjoyed such immediate popularity that it was republished separately in 1805 along with Atala.
Ultra-Romanticism was a Portuguese literary movement that took place during the second half of the 19th century and later arrived in Brazil. Aesthetically similar to the German- and British-originated Dark Romanticism, it was typified by a tendency to exaggerate, at times to a ridiculous degree, the norms and ideals of Romanticism, namely the value of subjectivity, individualism, amorous idealism, nature and the medieval world. The Ultra-Romantics generated literary works of highly contendable quality, some of them being considered as "romance of knife and earthenware bowl", given the succession of bloody crimes that they invariably described, which realists fiercely denounced.
Children of the Century is a 1999 French film based on the true tale of the tumultuous love affair between two French literary icons of the 19th century, novelist George Sand and poet Alfred de Musset.
Sagesse is a volume of French poetry by Paul Verlaine. First published in 1881, it was important in the symbolist and modernist movements. The subject matter of these poems deals with themes relating to maturing.
Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe is the memoir of François-René de Chateaubriand (1768–1848), collected and published posthumously in two volumes in 1849 and 1850, respectively. Chateaubriand was a writer, politician, diplomat, and historian who is regarded as the founder of French Romanticism.
Émile Henriot was a French poet, novelist, essayist and literary critic.
Clerical philosophers is the name given to a group of Catholic intellectuals, namely the Savoyard Joseph de Maistre, and the French Louis de Bonald and François-René de Chateaubriand, who sought to undermine the intellectual foundations of the French Revolution in reaction to what they perceived as its overt anti-religious and destructive character.
Don Juan is a musical written by Félix Gray in 2003. Don Juan was presented in Canada and in France with a total of 600,000 viewers all over the world. The cast also went to South Korea. The soundtrack of the musical saw sales of more than 300,000 copies. The show had a run until 2006.
Confession of a Child of the Century is a 2012 drama film directed by Sylvie Verheyde. The film competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. In spite of its selection to the prestigious festival, the film gained notoriety as being the lowest-grossing US theatrical release of 2015; it generated only US$74 from its one-week, one-theater theatrical run. The film is an adaptation of Alfred de Musset's 1836 autobiographical novel of the same name.
Armand-Numa Jautard was a 19th-century French playwright and chansonnier who died after 1872
Paul-Léon Jazet was a French painter born in Paris, the son of the engraver Alexandre-Jean-Louis Jazet.. For much of his career, he was mostly known for genre scenes, portraits and military subjects.
Charles Joseph Édouard Potier, called Charles was a 19th-century French actor and playwright.
François-Olivier Rousseau is a French journalist and writer.
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