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Showing posts from October, 2014

Alfred de Musset - Confession of a Child of the Century

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This novel was a gift, and not in the sense of unexpected pleasure or revelation. It was a birthday present from someone very close to me, and someone quite French. As such, I read it - at first with some interest - and then out of a sort of mix of duty and despair at ending up with another unfinished novel on my bookshelf.

The opening is interesting - the context of wars and revolutionary ideals betrayed, an Emperor come and gone, and the sense of modernity and change (published in 1836) and an awareness of the Romantic movement in the arts gives it a contemporaneous feel. But soon it becomes what is its central theme - a story of the search for love of one betrayed by his mistress. It is like Confessions of an Opium Eater (1821) only less visionary, in every sense.

Perhaps it is a French thing to enjoy stories of aristocratic debauchery, where hints of sexual feats must serve over detailed descriptions in the sense of good taste, but I found it all rather self-aggrandising, none t…