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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers

Listings for Author:  

Alfred de Vigny


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Alfred de Vigny : Chatterton

'In his copy of Vigny's "Chatterton" he marked the sentence, "En toi la reverie continuelle a tue l'action", and in Renan he marked a comment that the Celts knew how to plunge their hands into a man's entrails and bring out secrets of the infinite. What he always thought of as his Celtic strain would have been fascinated by "La Tentation de St Antoine", in which Flaubert meticulously describes the saint's visions of strange and dreadful beings. Owen read the book with care, underlining frequently. Tailhade had also marked it, writing "cretin!" against a criticism by the editor of the novel's "grands defauts". Evidently agreing with Tailhade, Owen went on to read at least two more of Flaubert's novels, "Madame Bovary" and "Salammbo". "Flaubert has my vote for novel-writing!", he exclaimed to Gunston in July 1915, and he told his mother that he was reading "Salammbo" "with more interest than the Communiques".'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Wilfred Owen      Print: Book


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