French Literature Of The 19th Century:
Literature Under The Empire 1852-1870
The Rise Of Realism
Literature Under The Republic-1870-1899
Read More Articles About: French Literature Of The 19th Century
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
In sharp contrast with Zola stands his contemporary, Alphonse Daudet (184o-1898). Born at Nimes of Gascon blood, his first utterance was a book of verse, "Les Amoureuses." To this succeeded plays and novelettes, in which he introduced public men and topics with playful satiric touches. The story, afterward dramatized, which gained his popularity was "Fromont Jeune et Risler Ain?' (1874). This became fame after "Le Nabab" (The Nabob) appeared in 1878. It was an undisguisedly scattering satire of public characters under the Empire, much of it gratuitous and cruel slander. In better vein are his delightful short stories in "Letters from My Mill," and his entertaining books, the lively adventures of "Tartarin de Tarascon," of which there are three. They may take a permanent place alongside the D'Artagnan and Mousquetaire romances, and perhaps Don Quixote. "L'Evangeliste" (1883) satirizes the Salvation Army, and "L'Immortel" (1888) the Academy, on which he vents considerable personal spleen. With all his satirical power Daudet preserved a charming gentleness, a grace of blended poetry and humor, which beautifies his work as a whole. He shows nature, Zola shows it up. For this reason Daudet is and will be read with a slightly alloyed delight, where Zola is tolerated for the fascination of his experiments in social vivisection.