Auguste Marseille Barthelemy - Encyclopedia


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AUGUSTE MARSEILLE BARTHELEMY (1796-1867), French satirical poet, was born at Marseilles in 1796. His name can hardly be separated from that of his friend and compatriot, J. P. A. Mery (1798-1866), with whom he carried on so intimate a collaboration that it is not possible to distinguish their personalities in their joint works. After having established some local reputation as a poet, Barthelemy went to Paris, where by one of his first efforts, Le Sacre de Charles X (1825) he gained the favour of the court. His energies, however, were soon enlisted in the service of the opposition party. In 1825 appeared a clever political satire, Les Sidiennes, followed by La Villeliade ou la prise du chateau de Rivoli (1827), La Corbiereide (1827), La Peyronneide(1 8 27),the joint productions of Barthelemy and Mery. The success was immediate and pronounced; fifteen editions of the Villeliade were called for during the year. A rapid succession of political squibs and satires was now poured forth by the authors, among the most remarkable being Biographic des quarante de l'academic francaise (1826) and [[Napoleon]] en Egypte (1828), which passed through nearly a dozen editions in a year. In 1829 Barthelemy was imprisoned and fined 1000 francs for the publication of their Fils de l'homme, a poem on the duke of Reichstadt, Napoleon's son. The Revolution of 1830 liberated him; and in company with Mery, he celebrated the triumph of the people in one of their most brilliant efforts, L'Insurrection. From March 1831 to April 1832 they produced a series of verse satires issued weekly, the [[Nemesis]], attacking the government and ministers of Louis Philippe. The small pension of which Barthelemy was the recipient was stopped. When the publication ceased there was a strong suspicion that Barthelemy had been paid for his silence. In 1832 he published an anonymous poem, supporting some acts of the government which were peculiarly obnoxious to the Liberal party. This change of front destroyed his influence and his later writings passed unnoticed. For the next few years he enjoyed a handsome pension from the government and refrained from all satirical writing. He again resumed his old style in 1844 but without the former success. From that date he contented himself with merely occasional poems. Barthelemy died on the 23rd of August 1867 at Marseilles. Joseph Mery was an ardent romanticist and wrote a great number of stories now forgotten. He produced several pieces at the Paris theatres, and also collaborated with Gerard de Nerval in adaptations from Shakespeare and in other plays. He received a pension from Napoleon III. and died in Paris on the 16th of June 1866.

The of Barthelemy and Mery were collected, with a notice by L. Reybaud, in 1831 (4 vols.). See also Barthelemy et Mery etudies specialement dans leurs rapports avec la legende napoleonienne, by Jules Garsou in vol. lviii. of the Memoires of the Academie Royale. .. de Belgique, which contains full information on both authors.

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