Aloysius Bertrand

Louis Jacques Napoléon Bertrand, better known by his pen name Aloysius Bertrand (20 April 1807 — 29 April 1841), was a French Romantic poet, playwright and journalist. He is famous for having introduced prose poetry in French literature,[1] and is considered a forerunner of the Symbolist movement. His masterpiece is the collection of prose poems Gaspard de la Nuit published posthumously in 1842; three of its poems were adapted to a homonymous piano suite by Maurice Ravel in 1908.

Aloysius Bertrand
Aloysius Bertrand -poète fr.(1807-1841)
A herma of Bertrand, exposed at the Jardin de l'Arquebuse, in Dijon
Louis Jacques Napoléon Bertrand

20 April 1807
Ceva, Piedmont, France (now in Italy)
Died29 April 1841 (aged 34)
Paris, France
Cause of deathTuberculosis
OccupationPoet, playwright, journalist
Notable work
Gaspard de la Nuit



Born in Ceva on 20 April 1807, Louis Jacques Napoléon Bertrand was the son of Georges and Laure (or Laurine-Marie) Bertrand, née Davico. Georges Bertrand was born on 22 July 1768 at Sorcy-Saint-Martin[2] (or Saulieu, according to other sources[3][4]) into a family of soldiers. A gendarmerie lieutenant, his parents wanted him to become a priest but he ran away from the seminary and enlisted in the 16e régiment de dragons of Orléans on 7 May 1785. His first marriage with Marie-Jeanne Rémond (born in Montbard on 23 February 1779) gave birth to a daughter, Denise, on 9 March 1800 but his wife died three months later. He married his second wife during his stay in the Department of Montenotte (now the Province of Cuneo), Laure Davico (born 2 August 1782), on 3 June 1806 in Ceva. After the birth of Louis, the eldest, in 1807, a second son, Jean Balthazar, was born on 17 July 1808.[5][6]

On 15 March 1812 Georges was appointed as gendarmerie captain in Spoleto, whose mayor was at the time Pierre-Louis Roederer. There, on 23 December, the poet's sister Isabella-Caroline (or Elizabeth) was born. On 3 September 1814 he was assigned to Mont-de-Marsan, where he made the acquaintance of Charles Jean Harel, then-prefect of the Department of Landes. Retiring at the end of August 1815, he left Landes and moved to Dijon, where on 19 March 1816 his fourth child was born, Charles Frédéric (who later became a journalist),[7][6] and where his daughter Denise from his first marriage got married on 11 January 1818.

A young romantic

Louis Bertrand studied from 1818 to 1826 at the collège royal of Dijon,[8] where he spent most of his life. Among his classmates were Lacordaire and Antoine Tenant de Latour, who would help him later. While in Dijon, Louis Bertrand developed an interest in the Burgundian capital. His father died on 27 February 1828 and he had to sustain the home on his own, receiving financial help from his aunt François-Marguerite also known as “Lolotte”. In the local literary paper “Le Provincial”, which had published the first verses of poet Alfred de Musset, he promoted his avant-garde aesthetic views and published around twenty works in prose and in verse.[7][8] Still in 1828, it seems he loved an anonymous young girl who might have died, traces of her existence can be found throughout Bertrand's entire works.[9][6]

First trip to Paris and return to Dijon

Encouraged by a laudatory letter from Hugo following a poem published in the journal that he had dedicated to him and by recognition from Sainte-Beuve, he moved to Paris at the beginning of November 1828. He met Sainte-Beuve at the salon of Émile Deschamps and read some of his prose to him. But he felt ashamed of his social status and could not find a place among the Parisian romantics. He got sick in January 1829 and during Spring found a publisher, Sautelet, to publish his poems, but he went bankrupt in August.[10][6] He then got interested in the theater and offered a play to the Vaudeville without success. After that, he decided to return to Dijon on 4 April 1830 and collaborated to the “Spectateur”, a newly-founded liberal newspaper. On 15 February 1831, under the name “Ludovic Bertrand”, he became chief editor of the newspaper “Patriote de la Côte-d’Or” until December 1832, in which he displayed his republican opinions with virulence[8][11]

The final years in Paris

In January 1833, he went back to Paris. Soon after, the publisher Eugène Renduel agreed to publish “Gaspard”, announcing even it would come out in October. He became a secretary for baron Roederer. He wrote “Peter Waldeck ou la chute d’un homme”, a play with chants in 3 acts and 6 tableaux inspired by the “Adventures of Martin Waldeck” by Walter Scott. In Spring of 1834, he met Célestine F., to which he proposed. According to Jacques Bony, his mother did not agree to the union, according to Max Milner his love was one-sided. Between 1835 and 1837, he was in serious financial difficulties and had to borrow money from a lot of people. He contracted tuberculosis [8] and was admitted to Notre-Dame de la Pitié on 18 September 1838 where he remained until 13 May 1839 before being transferred to l’hôpital Saint-Antoine where he stayed until 24 November.[7] In October 1839, a publisher had agreed to publish “Gaspard de la Nuit” and even printed flyers announcing its upcoming publication but the project never came to end while Bertrand was alive. In 1840, he believed he was cured of the disease and started to write verse again. He tried at last to contact the publisher in hopes of finally publishing his manuscript on 5 October, but the publisher had stopped his activity.

Tombe Aloysius Bertrand, Cimetière du Montparnasse
Tomb of Aloysius Bertrand at the cemetery of Montparnasse in Paris, section 10.

Sickness forced him to go back to the hospital on 11 March 1841. He died there in the morning on 29 April 1841. His close family, mother and sister, did not come to the hospital, nor did they attend his funeral. His mother died in 1854.


Gaspard de la Nuit1842
Cover of the first edition of Gaspard de la nuit.

“Gaspard de la Nuit” was finally published in November 1842. It sold 20 copies. However, this edition was full of mistakes due to an inaccurate copy of the manuscript. In 1925, Bertrand Guégan published a new edition from an original manuscript that corrected most of the mistakes. It is only in 1992, when an original calligraphed manuscript was acquired by the Bibliothèque nationale, that the book could be published accordingly to the will of its author, with accurate display of the text and illustrations. In 1862, Charles Baudelaire admitted in a letter he was deeply influenced by Bertrand's work when writing “Spleen de Paris.[12] Théodore de Banville, an admirer and later rival of Baudelaire, also quoted Bertrand as a main inspiration in the opening of his book “La Lanterne Magique” in 1883. He became a cult author for the Symbolists, especially for Stéphane Mallarmé who discovered him at the age of twenty and referenced his work throughout his entire life. However, it is only in the 20th century that his work was really recognized. Max Jacob brought attention to Bertrand by making him the inventor of prose poetry.[13][14] Afterwards, the Surrealists contributed to his fame, especially André Breton who referenced him in his 1924 “Surrealist Manifesto”. René Magritte named of his paintings “Gaspard de la nuit”, as it was inspired by the poem “Le Maçon”. Maurice Ravel set to music some of his poems and “Gaspard de la nuit”. Since 1922, there is an Aloysius Bertrand street in Dijon.


  1. ^ Stuart Friebert and David Young (eds.) Models of the Universe: An Anthology of the Prose Poem. (1995)
  2. ^ Cargill Sprietsma, Louis Bertrand dit Aloysius Bertrand, 1807-1841 : Une vie romantique, 1926, p. 3.
  3. ^ Henri Corbat, Hantise et imagination chez Aloysius Bertrand, José Corti, 1975, p. 22
  4. ^ René Gibaudan, La Lyre mystérieuse : Gérard de Nerval, Aloysius Bertrand, Maurice de Guérin, Théophile Gautier, Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, éditions du Scorpion, 1965, p. 46.
  5. ^ Fernand Rude, Aloysius Bertrand, P. Seghers, 1971, p. 182
  6. ^ a b c d Voir la chronologie de Gaspard de la Nuit, présentation de Jacques Bony, Garnier-Flammarion, 2005, p. 428-430.
  7. ^ a b c Chronologie de Gaspard de la nuit, présentation de Max Milner, Garnier-Flammarion, 2005, p. 303-308.
  8. ^ a b c d Felizitas Ringham, « Bertrand, Aloysius (Louis) - 1807-1841 » in Christopher John Murray (dir.), Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era, 1760-1850, p. 83-85.
  9. ^ Henri Corbat, Hantise et imagination chez Aloysius Bertrand, José Corti, 1975, p. 169
  10. ^ Jean Bonnerot, Bibliographie de l'œuvre de Sainte-Beuve, L. Giraud-Badin, 1952, p. 303.
  11. ^ Fernand Rude, Aloysius Bertrand, P. Seghers, 1971, p. 27, and Cargill Sprietsma, p. 234
  12. ^ Charles Baudelaire, Lettre à Arsène Houssaye, Noël 1861, Correspondance, tome II, éd Cl. Pichois, Gallimard, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1973, p. 208.
  13. ^ Fernand Rude, Aloysius Bertrand, P. Seghers, 1971, p. 60
  14. ^ Marvin Richards, Without Rhyme Or Reason, p. 122.
  • Max Milner (1960). Le Diable dans la littérature française de Cazotte à Baudelaire. José Corti., 2 volumes.

External links

1842 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1842.

Adrian Maniu

Adrian Maniu (February 6, 1891 – April 20, 1968) was a Romanian poet, prose writer, playwright, essayist and translator.

Born in Bucharest, his father Grigore, a native of Lugoj, was a jurist and professor of commercial law at the University of Bucharest; his paternal grandfather was the historian Vasile Maniu. His mother Maria (née Călinescu) was the descendant of an old Oltenian boyar family, with ancestors attested to the time of Matei Basarab; an artistically inclined woman, she cultivated a love of music, painting and poetry within the family. All five children displayed marked intellectual and artistic leanings, while two devoted their careers to the arts: Adrian and his sister Rodica, a well-known painter during the interwar period. He had a city childhood, interrupted by brief vacations in a rustic natural setting at the Șopârlița estate on the banks of the Olteț River. Following primary school in his native city, he entered Gheorghe Lazăr High School. In the fourth year of high school, he was transferred to Matei Basarab High School, where he was classmates with Șerban Bascovici and where his teachers included Nicolae Coculescu, Ioan Nădejde, Theodor Speranția and Constantin Banu. While still a student, he made his published debut in the high school magazine Răsăritul in 1906. Following graduation in 1910, he enrolled in the law faculty of Bucharest University, graduating in 1913.Maniu's genuine debut took place while he was at university, in 1912, in Insula magazine; signing as Adrian Gr. Maniu, he contributed the prose poem "Primăvară dulce". The same year, he published his first book, Figurile de ceară, a collection of prose poems. He read extensively but not systematically, which drew him to Charles Baudelaire, Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam and Aloysius Bertrand (whom he also translated), but he quickly moved beyond his Symbolist phase toward modernism. In the summer of 1913, he served as a volunteer in the Second Balkan War; he finished as a sergeant in the reserves, but was dismissed for health reasons. He travelled to France in 1914. He contributed to Noua revistă română and to Cronica, the magazine run by Tudor Arghezi and Gala Galaction, whose humanitarian and pacifist outlook he shared. He was attracted to socialist ideas, probably through N. D. Cocea, with whom would run unsuccessfully on an "independent popular" list in the 1919 parliamentary election. He took part as a frontline volunteer in World War I between 1916 and 1918. In the closing months of the war, he re-entered literary life: his first play, Fata din dafin (co-written with Scarlat Froda), was staged; also with Froda, he co-edited Urzica magazine, which appeared in seven editions between May and July 1918; he was an editor for Dimineața and a contributor to Chemarea, Fapta, Socialismul and Hiena; his book Din paharul cu otravă appeared in 1919. In 1920, he moved to Cluj, capital of the Transylvania province that had recently united with Romania; while there, he worked as a clerk at Banca Agricolă and an editor at Voința newspaper. Together with his new friends Lucian Blaga, Cezar Petrescu and Gib Mihăescu, he helped found Gândirea magazine, where he published Războiul poem cycle and part of the verses that would appear in the 1924 summary volume Lângă pământ. Through 1930, he was heavily involved in the theatre: he adapted Carlo Gozzi's version of "Puss in Boots"; wrote Meșterul (1922), Rodia de aur (with Păstorel Teodoreanu, 1923), Dinu Păturică (with Ion Pillat an adaptation of Nicolae Filimon's Ciocoii vechi și noi, 1924), Tinerețe fără bătrânețe (1925) and Lupii de aramă (successfully played by Maria Ventura, directed by Victor Ion Popa and with music by Sabin Drăgoi, 1929); and was a director at the National Theatre Craiova (1926-1927).Upon his return to Bucharest, Maniu re-entered the press medium, working as an editor at Dimineața from 1931 and contributing to Rampa, Adevărul literar și artistic, Viața literară, Universul literar, Boabe de grâu, Revista Fundațiilor Regale and Muzică și poezie. He was inspector general in the Arts Ministry (1928-1946), director of the spoken program for Romanian Radio (1930-1933), and literary adviser at Fundația Regală pentru Literatură și Artă from 1932. He was elected a corresponding member of the Romanian Academy in 1933. His 1930s work included the poetry books Drumul spre stele (1930), Cartea țării (1934) and Cântece de dragoste și moarte (1935). He published Versuri, a definitive edition of his poems, in 1938, the same year he won the national prize for poetry. He also edited selections of poetic and fantastic prose: Jupânul care făcea aur (1930) and Focurile primăverii și flăcări de toamnă (1935). After 1946 and with the rise of the Romanian Communist Party, he underwent a difficult period, living off an excruciating work of translation (among which, Basme de Pușkin, 1953; Balade populare ruse, 1954; Cântecul Niebelungilor, 1958) while wracked by illness. In 1948, the new communist regime stripped him of Academy membership. In 1965, in a slightly more relaxed political environment, he was able to publish two books, Cântece tăcute and Versuri în proză, a pair of not always inspired reworkings of older texts. Shortly before his death, he revised and published his entire lyrical work as the two-volume Scrieri (1968). A lucid art critic, he was equally attracted by modern manifestations as well as by old and folk Romanian art, the structures of which informed his own lyrical vision. In 1965, the Romanian Academy awarded him its Mihail Eminescu Prize.


Aloysius ( AL-oh-ISH-əs) is a given name. It is a Latinisation of the names Louis, Lewis, Luis, Luigi, Ludwig, and other cognate names (traditionally in Medieval Latin as Ludovicus or Chlodovechus), ultimately from Frankish *Hlūdawīg, from Proto-Germanic *Hlūdawīgą ("famous battle"). In the US, the name is rare, with babies receiving the name less than 0.001% since the 1940s and mainly among Roman Catholics, according to Social Security Administration data.

Anthony Gilbert (composer)

Anthony Gilbert (born 26 July 1934) is a British composer.

Bertrand (name)

Bertrand is a given name and surname. In German, the name derives from berht ("bright") and hramn ("raven") or rand ("shield").


The Bouzingo were a group of eccentric poets, novelists, and artists in France during the 1830s that practiced an extreme form of romanticism whose influence helped determine the course of culture in the 20th century including such movements as Bohemianism, Parnassianism, Symbolism, Decadence, Aestheticism, Dadaism, Surrealism, the Lost Generation the Beat Generation, Hippies, Punk rock, etc.

Eugène Renduel

Eugène Renduel (18 November 1798 – 19 October 1874) was a 19th-century French publisher.

Gaspard de la Nuit (poetry collection)

Gaspard de la Nuit — Fantaisies à la manière de Rembrandt et de Callot (English: Gaspard of the Night — Fantasies in the Manner of Rembrandt and Callot) is a compilation of prose poems by Italian-born French poet Aloysius Bertrand. Considered one of the first examples of modern prose poetry, it was published in 1842, one year after Bertrand's death from tuberculosis, from a manuscript dated 1836, by his friend David d'Angers. The text includes a short address to Victor Hugo and another to Charles Nodier, and a Memoir of Bertrand written by Sainte-Beuve was included in the original 1842 edition.

The poems themselves are expressed with a strong romanticist verve, and explore fantasies of medieval Europe.

Gaspard de la nuit

Gaspard de la nuit (subtitled Trois poèmes pour piano d'après Aloysius Bertrand), M. 55 is a suite of piano pieces by Maurice Ravel, written in 1908. It has three movements, each based on a poem or fantaisie from the collection Gaspard de la Nuit — Fantaisies à la manière de Rembrandt et de Callot completed in 1836 by Aloysius Bertrand. The work was premiered in Paris, on January 9, 1909, by Ricardo Viñes.

The piece is famous for its difficulty, partly because Ravel intended the Scarbo movement to be more difficult than Balakirev's Islamey. Because of its technical challenges and profound musical structure, Scarbo is considered one of the most difficult solo piano pieces in the standard repertoire.The manuscript currently resides in the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas at Austin.

List of Romantic poets

The six best-known English authors are, in order of birth and with an example of their work:

William Blake – The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

William Wordsworth – The Prelude

Samuel Taylor Coleridge – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

George Gordon, Lord Byron – Don Juan, "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"

Percy Bysshe Shelley – Prometheus Unbound, "Adonaïs", "Ode to the West Wind", "Ozymandias"

John Keats – Great Odes, "Hyperion", "Endymion"

Notable female poets include Felicia Dorothea Hemans, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Charlotte Turner Smith, Mary Robinson, Hannah More, and Joanna Baillie.

Louis Bertrand

Louis Bertrand may refer to:

Louis Bertrand (saint) (1526–1581), Spanish Dominican priest

Louis Bertrand (Quebec seigneur) (1779–1871), Canadian politician and businessman

Aloysius Bertrand (1807–1841), French poet

Louis Bertrand (novelist) (1866–1941), French novelist, historian, and essayist

Louis Bertrand (politician) (1856–1943), Belgian politician, author, and Minister of State

Paul Verlaine

Paul-Marie Verlaine (; French: [vɛʁlɛn]; 30 March 1844 – 8 January 1896) was a French poet associated with the Decadent movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French poetry.

Petrus Borel

Joseph-Pierre Borel d'Hauterive, known as Petrus Borel (26 June 1809 – 14 July 1859), was a French writer of the Romantic movement.Born at Lyon, the twelfth of fourteen children of an ironmonger, he studied architecture in Paris but abandoned it for literature. Nicknamed le Lycanthrope ("wolfman"), and the center of the circle of Bohemians in Paris, he was noted for extravagant and eccentric writing, foreshadowing Surrealism. He was not commercially successful though, and eventually was found a minor civil service post by his friends, including Théophile Gautier. He's also considered as a poète maudit, like Aloysius Bertrand, or Alice de Chambrier.

Borel died at Mostaganem in Algeria.He was the subject of a biography by Enid Starkie, Petrus Borel: The Lycanthrope (1954).

Prose poetry

Prose poetry is poetry written in prose form instead of verse form, while preserving poetic qualities such as heightened imagery, parataxis, and emotional effects.

Thomas Ligotti

Thomas Ligotti (born July 9, 1953) is a contemporary American horror author and reclusive literary cult figure. His writings have been noted as being rooted in several literary genres – most prominently weird fiction – and have overall been described by critics such as S.T. Joshi as works of "philosophical horror", often written as short stories and novellas and with similarities to gothic fiction. The worldview espoused by Ligotti in both his fiction and non-fiction has been described as profoundly pessimistic and nihilistic. The Washington Post called him "the best kept secret in contemporary horror fiction."

Tähtifantasia Award

Tähtifantasia Award is an annual prize by Helsingin science fiction seura ry for the best foreign fantasy book released in Finland.

Undine (novella)

Undine is a fairy-tale novella (Erzählung) by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué in which Undine, a water spirit, marries a knight named Huldebrand in order to gain a soul. It is an early German romance, which has been translated into English and other languages.

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