Théodore de Banville

Last updated
Théodore de Banville
Felix Nadar 1820-1910 Portrait de Theodore de Banville.jpg
Banville, photograph by Nadar
Théodore de Banville

(1823-03-14)14 March 1823
Died13 March 1891(1891-03-13) (aged 67)

Théodore Faullain de Banville (14 March 1823 – 13 March 1891) was a French poet and writer. His work was influential on the Symbolist movement in French literature in the late 19th century.



Banville was born in Moulins in Allier, Auvergne, the son of a captain in the French navy. His boyhood, by his own account, was cheerlessly passed at a lycée in Paris; he was not harshly treated, but took no part in the amusements of his companions. On leaving school with but slender means of support, he devoted himself to letters, and in 1842 published his first volume of verse (Les Cariatides), which was followed by Les Stalactites in 1846. The poems encountered some adverse criticism, but secured for their author the approbation and friendship of Alfred de Vigny and Jules Janin.

From then on, Banville's life was steadily devoted to literary production and criticism. He printed other volumes of verse, among which the Odes funambulesques (1857) received unstinted praise from Victor Hugo, to whom they were dedicated. Later, several comedies in verse were produced at the Théâtre Français and on other stages; and from 1853 onwards a stream of prose flowed from his industrious pen, including studies of Parisian manners, sketches of well-known persons, and a series of tales, most of which were republished in his collected works (18751878). He also wrote freely for reviews, and acted as dramatic critic for more than one newspaper. Throughout a life spent mainly in Paris, Banville's genial character and cultivated mind won him the friendship of the chief men of letters of his time.

Theodore de Banville Theodore de Banville.JPG
Théodore de Banville


In 1858 Banville was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, and was promoted to an Officier de la Légion d'honneur in 1886. He died in Paris in 1891 at the age of 68, and was buried in Montparnasse Cemetery.

There is a street named after him in the 17th Arrondissement in Paris. There is also a street named Theodore de Banville in Nice, France.

French Impressionist composer Claude Debussy used many of Banville's poems for his art songs, including "Nuit d'étoiles" and "Zéphyr." [1] [2]

German composer Georgina Schubert (1840-1878) used Banville’s text for her lieder “L’ame d’un ange.” [3]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul Fort</span> French poet (1872–1960)

Jules-Jean-Paul Fort was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. At the age of 18, reacting against the Naturalistic theatre, Fort founded the Théâtre d'Art (1890–93). He also founded and edited the literary reviews Livre d'Art with Alfred Jarry and Vers et Prose (1905–14) with poet Guillaume Apollinaire, which published the work of Paul Valéry and other important Symbolist writers. Fort is notable for his enormous volume of poetry, having published more than thirty volumes of ballads and, according to Amy Lowell, for creating the polyphonic prose form in his 'Ballades francaises'.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hugo Wolf</span> Austrian composer (1860–1903)

Hugo Philipp Jacob Wolf was an Austrian composer of Slovene origin, particularly noted for his art songs, or Lieder. He brought to this form a concentrated expressive intensity which was unique in late Romantic music, somewhat related to that of the Second Viennese School in concision but diverging greatly in technique.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul Verlaine</span> French poet (1844–1896)

Paul-Marie Verlaine was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement and the Decadent movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French poetry.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alfred de Musset</span> French writer (1810–1857)

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul Bourget</span> French novelist and literary critic

Paul Charles Joseph Bourget was a French poet, novelist and critic. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature five times.

A song cycle is a group, or cycle, of individually complete songs designed to be performed in sequence, as a unit.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cécile Chaminade</span> French composer and pianist

Cécile Louise Stéphanie Chaminade was a French composer and pianist. In 1913, she was awarded the Légion d'Honneur, a first for a female composer. Ambroise Thomas said, "This is not a woman who composes, but a composer who is a woman."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pierre Louÿs</span> French writer and poet (1870–1925)

Pierre-Félix Louÿs was a French poet and writer, most renowned for lesbian and classical themes in some of his writings. He is known as a writer who sought to "express pagan sensuality with stylistic perfection". He was made first a Chevalier and then an Officer of the Légion d'honneur for his contributions to French literature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Die Forelle</span> Lied, or song

"Die Forelle", Op. 32, D 550. is a lied, or song, composed in early 1817 for solo voice and piano with music by the Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1797–1828). Schubert chose to set the text of a poem by Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, first published in the Schwäbischer Musenalmanach in 1783. The full poem tells the story of a trout being caught by a fisherman, but in its final stanza reveals its purpose as a moral piece warning young women to guard against young men. When Schubert set the poem to music, he removed the last verse, which contained the moral, changing the song's focus and enabling it to be sung by male or female singers. Schubert produced six subsequent copies of the work, all with minor variations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Georges de Porto-Riche</span> French dramatist and novelist (1849–1930)

Georges de Porto-Riche was a French dramatist and novelist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Johann Friedrich Reichardt</span> German composer and writer (1752–1814)

Johann Friedrich Reichardt was a German composer, writer and music critic.

Ranieri de' Calzabigi was an Italian poet and librettist, most famous for his collaboration with the composer Christoph Willibald Gluck on his "reform" operas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ernst Schulze (poet)</span> German poet

Ernst Conrad Friedrich Schulze was a German Romantic poet. He was born and died in Celle.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trois mélodies, Op. 7 (Fauré)</span> Songs for solo voice and piano composed by Gabriel Fauré

Trois mélodies is a set of mélodies for solo voice and piano, by Gabriel Fauré. It consists of "Après un rêve", one of Faure's most popular vocal pieces, "Hymne", and "Barcarolle". The songs were written between 1870 and 1877, and published in 1878. They were not, however, originally conceived together as a set of three; the opus number 7 was imposed on them retrospectively in the 1890s, almost 20 years after their first publications.

Although Franz Liszt provided opus numbers for some of his earlier works, they are rarely used today. Instead, his works are usually identified using one of two different cataloging schemes:

<i>Lied</i> Art song in the classical music tradition

In Western classical music tradition, Lied is a term for setting poetry to classical music to create a piece of polyphonic music. The term is used for any kind of song in contemporary German and Dutch, but among English and French speakers, lied is often used interchangeably with "art song" to encompass works that the tradition has inspired in other languages as well. The poems that have been made into lieder often center on pastoral themes or themes of romantic love.

The orchestral song is a late romantic genre of classical music for solo voices and orchestra.

<i>Quatre petites mélodies</i> (Satie) 1920 song cycle by Erik Satie

The Quatre petites mélodies is a 1920 song cycle for voice and piano by French composer Erik Satie. It is most notable for its opening lament, Élégie, which Satie composed in memory of his friend Claude Debussy. A typical performance lasts under 4 minutes.

<i>Debussy Mélodies</i> 1980 studio album by Dalton Baldwin

Debussy Mélodies is a 178-minute studio album of sixty of Claude Debussy's art songs, presented roughly in order of composition, performed by Elly Ameling, Michèle Command, Mady Mesplé, Frederica von Stade and Gérard Souzay with piano accompaniment by Dalton Baldwin. It was released in 1980.

GeorginaSchubert was a German coloratura soprano and lieder composer who toured throughout Europe.


  1. "Nuit d'étoiles". Library of Congress. Retrieved 27 October 2023.
  2. "Théodore de Banville". Oxford International song Festival. Retrieved 27 October 2023.
  3. "Georgine Schubert Song Texts | LiederNet". Retrieved 2023-01-30.