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SIXTY YEARS OF THE "REVUE DES DEUX suppressions nor the alterations practiced by Bu
loz on his writers' prose, often said, "I write rarely in the Revue des Deux Mondes because Buloz is not fond of me " In this Michelet was mistaken; it was not the writers whom Buloz disliked, but the Revue which he preferred, and Michelet himself in the beginning had too "new" a style in the eyes of the majority of subscribers for Buloz to run the risk of alarming them. Do not forget, reader, the very reactionary color of Comte Mole, and certain early patrons of the Revue, who, as they were obliged to tolerate romantism in fiction and fantastic literature, were all the more resolute in expelling it from the historical domain. Certainly the period, thanks to the outburst of literary excellence which began to fill it, was the accomplice of the energy and organizing genius of a man like Buloz. With a whole staff of officers, the role of the leader is marvelously simplified. Yet, in spite of this, had it not been for the strong montaguard combativeness of the director, the Revue must have perished, as so many others perish, under the pressure of the nonentities imposed on them by shareholders or powerful protectors.
It was only natural that the Conservative supporters of the Revue, who tolerated certain writers of the Opposition, should do so on condition of furnishing a quota of their own shade of opinion, saying: "We will accept your Sand and Musset if you will accept our Sacy, St-Marc-Girardin," &c. This, however, came of itself later on and at successive dates, for the period of the representatives of the Journal des Debats was not simultaneous with the period or Alfred de Vigny, and other writers of the romantic school. Yet among the "romantics" a choice was made. The conservative
and governmental instinct of Buloz set those on one side who were "romantic" chiefly by spirit of rebellion, like Barbey d'Aurevilly: the sting resulting from this ostracism being so keenly felt by the object thereof, that as late as 1876 he contemptuously referred to the Revue as an "icy crypt," never having forgiven his exclusion.
In the comedies of olden time the dramatis persona were often named after their part: the "Abbe," the "Secretary," the "General." This is what might be done with regard to the contributors to the Revue des Deux Mondes. Ever since it has been in existence, and under all forms of government, the Revue des Deux Mondes, has always had its "philosopher," its "novelist," its "historian." its "sailor," its "officer," its "great lady," its "art critic," its "literary critic," its "politician." The novelist, the critic, or the politician made the review a paying concern, according as the scales of public opinion inclined to one or the other in the valuation of their talent. These designations, formerly more particularly adopted in theatrical spheres, crept into salons, a fact that explains their adaptability to the Revue des Deux Mondes, truly in itself the salon of Europe as it is the peristyle of the Academy.
Once admitted within its sacred precincts, the neophyte easily bends to what is required of him, and, under the shadow of his future electors, adopts the tone, manner and style of the academician he hopes one day to be. A day arrives when the young writer, who not unfrequently began by some modest exotic adaptation, abandons his deferential hesitations, and, if a critic, attains by degrees those heights of scathing irony, the inevitable reaction from early timidity. The Revue is firmly rooted in the purest romantism, which, added to its present decided academic color, gives it the somewhat hybrid appearance of a battlemented castle surmounted by an Athenian cupola.
Let us point to another contradiction, dating from the first hour, that of being at once separatist and unionist. Separatist on account of the very decided division of labor between writers having each their special literary domain; Unionist because, however isolated these writers may be in their own sphere of action, there is a bond which unites them all, the "spirit" of the Revue, which is nothing else than the spirit and soul of its founder. A spirit eminently conservative, whose essence has never been impaired by the most daring contribuions. The spirit of Francois Buloz it is which animates, and will continue to animate, the Revue des Deux Mondes. This spirit of conservatism is the safeguard of a literary group. It resists that stream of tendencies peculiar to each period, which, in carrying an organ along with it. deprives it of its original principle and individual power. This spirit, which boldly holds its own against the attacks of time, was necessarily during the life of the founder of the Revue inacceptable to many from its very intensity.
Michelet, for instance, who admitted neither the
When Charles Nodier and Gerard de Nerval had disappeared, only the great ones of the romantic movement remained, over whom the University sprinkled its holy water. The august procession of "Sorbonniens" represented by Villemain, Cousin, Vitet, Ampere, Remusat, &c., appeared, and it is perhaps in these facts, more than in the supposed want of tenderness in Buloz, that the true reason of Michelet's abstention should be sought. What could Tintoret himself do if he were shut up in the Acropolis! The refulgent fire of the historic ressuscitens could find no place amongst so many sage Platoniciens, so careful of the form, that for some, like Vitet and Ampere, the framework was more important than the persons it was to frame.
After the advent of the Empire the Revue became chiefly political; the stronghold of the Opposition; the palladium of Orleanism. Buloz remained as proof against the advances of the Tuileries as he was unshaken in his fidelity to the Orleans family. All this, however, did not prevent a legend from spreading - a legend chiefly due to the recriminations of "rejected contributors," which dwelt more on the aggressive side of the Bulozian energy than on its noble and generous nature. Has not Plautus always exercised greater fascination over the multitude than Tacıtus, and is it not the multitude who make reputations- while envy traces the portrait? Thus are explained those sketches in which the claws of the great founder are emphasized, whilst in reality he had no other claws than those of an overworked Titan, whose serenity sometimes gave way under the pressure of multiple responsibility. Much too little has been said about the vigor and many-sided beauty of his character. The assiduous manner in which the Emperor laid siege to the Revue, and the firmness and noble-mindedness with which Buloz, who personally liked Napoleon III. as much as he execrated the Empire, resisted the attack, has never been sufficiently brought forward. The founder of the Revue des Deux Mondes displayed rare energy in hardening himself against his own sympathy, and at once ceased his visits to St. Cloud when he realized the nature of the ascendency exercised.
With Napoleon III. it had been personal fascination, with Cavour vain glorious baubles—such as a Count's title, which the founder of Italian unity offered the director of the Revue. A case in which Cavour showed a decided lack of psychological insight. No living being was so entirely indifferent to all worldly vanity as this great worker, fated to fall at his post.
To see Buloz on the eve of a number, would have sufficed to show him entirely wrapped up in the fate of his magazine. Nights spent poring over proofs, reading, re-reading, and working them over again; the genius-like manner (the expression is not exaggerated in this case) with which this cast-iron Savoyard availed himself of his instinctive knowledge of the reader, to draw from the writer the very essence of his talent; the ardent love, the lover's patience and self-sacrifice he had for "his" Revue, excluded entirely any hold over him by anything in the world, save what might benefit his work.
the question; the reader is the product of his surroundings, and it was that reader's tastes which always served as a guide to Buloz.
Considering that one of the glories of Francois Buloz was that prescience which made him feel every vibration of the public, it is easy to understand that, as the Revue began in romantism, it repudiated naturalism, although both are branches of the same psychological trunk. It was the perspicacity of the founder of the Revue which settled
The romantic movement had been created by what remained of the soldierly traditions of the Empire, added to the troubadourism of the Restoration. Thereader of the Revue of 1838 was as fitted for the perusal of "Lelia" and "Indiana," as well prepared by Rene and Delphine for the exaggerations of emotional transports as the sane reader of our pages is prepared by the business-like atmosphere he breathes to read Bourget, Hervieu, and the most ruthless psychologists of that school. If Buloz refused to admit a certain naturalism of the coarser kind, his refusal was caused by a profound knowledge of his public, the science of the laws of evolution and flexibility, without which no magazine can live.
The salon of Alfred de Vigny, where the inspiration of Marie Dorval was felt under the visible grace of Mme. de Vigny, furnished many contributors to the founder of the Revue, Ste. Beuve amongst others-not the Ste. Beuve of the Port Royal and the seventeenth century, but Ste. Beuve the poet author of "Joseph Delorme" and the "Consolations."
Another bond of union between the men of that period was their disinterestedness. No sooner had it been known that a new review was about to appear, than everyone was anxious to participate in its production, without asking or caring how much they would be paid, or whether they were to be paid at all, the only ambition being to gain the public ear. This indifference to money outlived the time of the first romantic writers. The author of these pages remembers in her childhood to have seen Cousin and Villemain, both old men at that time, walk about the Luxemburg Gardens with her father for hours together. The child remembers the ever recurrent names of Racine, Conde, Richelieu, which reached her ears, as she trundled her hoop backwards and forwards. In re-memorating these informal conversations, the conclusion is evident; the time spent by those true literati in critical discussions would be spent by our contemporaries in prose-making, either by writing or lecturing; but in any case remunerative prose. Such was the prestige of Buloz's directorship in the eyes of men like Cousin, that far from objecting, as Michelet did, to the pruning and cutting of his articles, he often said: "When Buloz wishes to sacrifice a passage, I always consent; for if I resisted, I know that it is I who would be wrong."
Romantism may be defined as naturalism with emotional developments. Naturalism was a more physiological form of romantism. The romantism of Dumas pere incarnated inself in Anthony, who
kills because he is resisted; the naturalism of Dumas fils takes form in Claude, who kills because there was not resistance enough. As far as moral initiative is concerned it is the same thing, and in a reasonably constituted society neither the outraged husband nor the exasperated lover will have the right to kill. Whether it be the impulse of passion, as in Anthony's case, or of retributive justice, as with Claude, it is always impulse; and Claude who kills in invoking considerations furnished by anger is no whit less romantic, less passionate, less impulsive than Anthony. It may, then, be said that the distinction is only in words, and that a so-called "naturalist" like Goncourt is only a variety of the romantist. Hence, if the Revue accepted Indiana and Lelia, whilst it refused to admit naturalism, it was chiefly because the framework and style of Mme. Sand, poetical and high-flown to an intense degree, avoided the disagreeable realism of our contemporary "naturalists," or to speak more clearly, because the naturalism of romantism was idealist, taking pleasure in expressing the finer movements of disinterested passion, whilst the naturalism of our days prefers to contemplate Nature in her lower aspects. The difference is felt rather from an æsthetic than from a moral standpoint. The reader of the Revue is neither a St. Vincent de Paul nor a pathologist; he does not profess to read for anything beyond his information or his pleasure. He can have no professional reasons to descend with Nana into those depths which are reputed true to life in proportion to their filth. Being neither a "fisher of men" nor an apostle, what would the modern abonne find to interest him in reading of this kind? What Buloz tried to avoid was not the violence of the subject, but its unæsthetic treatment. In refusing to admit the Goncourts the founder of the Revue was not actuated by a systematic want of appreciation of their talent, but by the certainty that his subscriber, even supposing him to admire "Germinie Lacerteux" and her congeners, would cease subscribing publicly as a kind of salve to his conscience for buying the volume privately. Personally, Buloz appreciated wit wherever it was to to be found, even in the "Nain Jaune." He had charged his brother-in-law, Henry Blaze, to act as an intermediary between him and Rochefort, as also between him and Dumas fils. Rochefort in the Revue des Deux Mondes! This bomb was transformed by the Prussians into a soap-bubble.
Prepared for everything during the siege, through which he passed with stoic endurance, Buloz had taken his precautions in Holland, and after having emigrated with the Chambers to Versailles during the Commune, he was ready for any event, and neither the siege nor the "Federates" ever caused an hour's delay in the publication of the fortnightly number. When "naturalism," real
ism and "actualism" presented themselves under the frock coat of "M. de Camors," our hero did not hesitate to accept the same.
Romantism was all over in 1838, even in such satirical brains as Loeve-Veimars (one of the most brilliant at that time). We find in Loeve's “Nepenthes" (miscellaneous Merimeean stories) a decidedly romantic tone! In like manner Octave Feuillet, the Berquin of the "Jeune Homme Pauvre," was finishing his career in writing "Julia de Trecœur," and "M. de Camors." The influence of environment was making itself felt again. Naturalism had told on Feuillet, as romantism had on Merimee; when the clever Mephistopheles of Arsene Guyot and the Venus d'Iles wrote "Colomba" and "Carmen."
A majestic muse floating her flag over the two hemispheres! Such was the illustration designed by Johannot for the heading of the numbers of 1838-a muse, a flag, two globes! No one will deny that to moderns this is a decoration infinitely more antiquated than any shaft of a pillar dating from Sesostres. The trinity of the Revue de Paris, Revue des Voyages, and Francois Buloz had given birth to this pictorial inspiration, Over two corpses -the Revue de Paris was no more, the Revue des Voyages was expiring-over these two dead bodies the undaunted montagnard had breathed life. Henceforth, draped in a sun-colored covering the nymph pursued her way, carried along by every zephyr, and directed in her course by all kinds of mariners-here borne towards the heights of criticism or of art by Beule and Ampere, there soaring to the realms of history with Vitet; yet again, rising to the regions of imagination and poetry--this muse, from Merimee to Loti, from Michelet to Duruy, from Montegut to Lemaitre, has every known fortune except the bad.
At the time of which we are writing the wealth of this Golconda was, however, more apparent on the title page of the Revue than in its cash-box, or in the shareholders' dividends. It was an unrivalled literary orchestra. The music-stands were all occupied by musicians of the first order. Its "philosopher" gormandizing Lerminier, whose "menus" were the delight of "Paris qui s'amuse," whilst "Paris qui travaille" attended his lectures at the Sorbonne. Poetry was represented by Lamartine, de Vigny, Musset. When Lamartine received from Buloz two bank-notes of a thousand francs each, for a few verses, he exclaimed, "I thought the Revue did not pay for poetry." "Yes, when it is Jocelyn's." It is true that Musset's Proverbes"-those proverbs which now give the
*One of Lerminier's friends, celebrated for his wit, saw him sit down to dinner just as he himself was going to hear the "Dame Blanche": when he returned, he found Lerminier at his dessert. "Lerminier's dinner is an opera comique," he said.
poet's heirs an annual income of 40,000 francstrue it is these proverbs were then paid for at 25 louis each! This is quite exact, but what is not -less so, and not so well known, is that Musset never found himself in pecuniary embarrassments (which was often the case) without Buloz helping him out of them for the time being.
Lerminier, whose epicurianism and dandyism equalled, to say the least of it, his philosophy, has left us a fine book on "Les Lois." His style was good, and he possessed a strong power of evoca tion; the manner in which he depicts the baptism of Clovis reminds one of Michelet, and the volume contains upon the spectacular exhibitions of Catholicism, fragments of an immortal color and vivacity. Yet, with what forgetfulness these secondary glories of romantism have fallen! Secondary only with regard to their surroundings; for in a less elysian period they would have taken their place at the head of the movement, and not in the secand rank. 2.II "2"} tado de 92% 22
In the summary of the same years we find Amadee Thierry and his "Attila" (the conqueror of men preceded the conqueror of souls). "Attila" was followed in the same review (and by the same author) with a whole procession of saints of the Thebaid S. Jerome, S. Paula, S. Eustachia, &c. By the side of Thierry we find Merimee, archæ ologist, æsthete, and story teller in turns, as he describes in the countries he visits the stones with which cathedrals are built, or the stones to be found at the bottom of Carmen's heart. 29/ ...We now approach the fateful date which, thanks to an accident, gave birth to the most popularized love story of the century. A duet was contemplated with: Dumas, chance brought about a meeting with Musset. A fall to Pagello, from Pagello to Chopin, that is how Vulcan manages when he touches love affairs. Ste. Beuve gave a supper at Puissot; instead of Dumas who was expected, it was Musset who came; from that circumstance sprang "Elle et Lui" and "Lui et Elle," with all the detractors of "Elle" and all the brawlers against "Lui." In spite of its many storms and fluctuations, nothing could be more common place in reality than this love story. Two imaginative beings meet, and pass from love to execration, from execration to insult, from insult to love again, separating to come together once more; all these phases being accentuated by endless caprices. This is the alphabet of love, and in this case lovers offer supreme excuse, or justification the merit of having written "Rolla" and "Indiana." Why, then, so much tumult and outcry over a liaison in which, after all, the only exceptional element was the genius of those engaged in it, but which was decidedly banal as a love drama. The capricious. ness and violence, the versatility and monotony in these changes shown by, Musset and Mme. Sand
in their alternate loves and hates are to be seen every day in the amative processes of lovers excited and enervated by too vivid imagination, or too intense cerebral pressure. Those cerebral workshops, in constant ebullition, which produce in a state of fever and recruit their strength in a mirage, all this has been foreseen in the order of evolution-why then' was such a fate especially reserved to these particular lovers?
At this period of the Revue's existence, Mme. Sand had been the only writer of fiction, when suddenly and incognito with the "Peche de Madeleine" opened leine" opened wide to Mme. Caro the path of 4ľaj 2'' ** 016 2591 2 opt! fame. 1 ́ til gai Victor Hugo sent verses to Guernsey which were the exile's lament, accompanying Ste. Beuve, Edmond About, and Octave Feuillet in their march towards St. Cloud. Three new converts to imperialism, of whom, however, it cannot be said that they followed in the wake of Merimee; the imperialism of Merintee really resolving itself into "Eugenism." The author of "Carmen" could well have paraphrased what Thiers said in speaking of Catholicism: "I am not for the spiritual, but the temporal Merimee would have expressed himself in saying: "I am for the Empress, the Empire „T! ot if r is nothing to me.""
But to return to Buloz and his love for the "Revue." A few verses of Musset, written as a pastime, 'remain one of the best sketches to depict this energetic and ardent nature so entirely absorbed by his work. Wishing to estimate properly the extent of Buloz's uneasiness when the fate of his creation was at stake, Musset shows him to us during the summer at a moment when all his staff are dispersed, the "number" is near, and manuscripts absent:
Buloz est sur la greve: Pale et decolore,
Mme. Sand had stepped progressively from "Lelia" to the subtle dissertations of "Mlle. de la Quintinie" and the "Marquis de Villemer," to finish by the apotheosis of the hearth after she had begun by the "Meunier d'Angibault." Feuillet, on the contrary, passed from the somewhat insipid berquinades of his first manner to the violent impetuosity of M. de Camors" and "Julia de Trecœur." Camors was in truth the synthesis of the time; he presented himself to society covered with paternal blood, as Napoleon III. presented himself splashed from head to foot by the 2d of December.
*The Secretary of the Revue.
The war of Italy was strenthening an already existing friendship between Count Cavour and Buloz. Under the signature of Albert Blanc, later on Ambassador of France in Italy, the Revue gave to the world a great deal of what Victor Emanuel's minister was planning. Albert Blanc's articles were historical. He spoke of Victor Amadee, but under this leitmotir of past times every one understood the transparent allusions to things of the day where the plan of the morrow was clearly indicated. Albert Blanc seemed to speak only of Charles Albert; in reality it was Cavour who took this means of communication with Napoleon III.
In 1859 the Revue des Deux Mondes, now flourishing and powerful and able to give big dividends to the shareholders, had migrated from the rue des Beaux Arts to the rue St. Benoit, a characteristic habitation with a general savor of Jansenism and the seventeenth century. The offices, situated on the first floor, opening on the garden, gave one the idea of a house in Marais (the fashionable neighborhood of Pascal's time) quite appropriate to the collaboration of Ste. Beuve. The distance is great between the official decorum of the present building in the rue l'Universite, and the bu colic aspect of the study where Forcade used to write his "political chronicle"; the chronicle which influenced the march of European politics, the chronicle so eagerly awaited by ministers of every country.
A dandy, deriving a considerable fortune from his directorship of the Semaine Financiere, Eugene Forcade had no hesitation in declaring that he would gladly write his chronicle without the smallest remuneration, so highly did he appreciate the situation and notoriety it gave him. But Forcade's success was precisely the cause of his ruin. Like Balzac, carrying everything to excess, he forced his instrument, and broke it. On the 14th and 30th of each month he was to be seen alighting from his carriage about eight in the morning before the Revue des Deux Mondes. Until 10:30 he went over the heap of daily papers awaiting him on his table. At eleven he sat down to a lunch as formidable as Lerminier's dinners, which he discussed alone with two bottles of Burgundy, brought from his own cellar. After his coffee and cigar, he began his task at 12:30, having as sole witnesses of his labor two decanters of fine champagne. At six he rose, with the task accomplished and the bottles empty. His pen had run over the paper from 12:30 to 6 without a single interruption, without the slightest correction or erasure. His sheets, thrown on the ground beside him, were taken away every two hours by a messenger from the printing office.
This fortnightly production, at high pressure,
lasted ten years. The machine exploded in 1868. The very day after the publication of one of his chronicles Forcade went mad. We have before writing on the subject here read over those pages which speak of events long since past, of facts long since accomplished. Such an intense and living force animates them that they can only be compared to some pages of Theophile Gautier. There are parts of this chronicle, those written during the war of Italy and the affairs of Schleswig-Holstein, which reach the heights of history, and form, moreover, the most valuable documents of the period,
Living in a train, every month Buloz left Paris in the morning of the 1st and 15th and returned on the 26th and 10th; fifteen hours to go and fifteen to return, which made sixty hours a month. This tiring life, carried on for many years, would soon have ruined a less robust constitution. Buloz was not long ill; he was taken off by a chronic disease which had exhausted his general health. The fatigue of traveling would have been nothing without the anxiety occasioned by the "number." Imagine the continual agitation of the telegraph between Paris and Ronjoux (on Lake Bourget), the delay in promised papers, the fear of running short of matter to fill the Revue!-all these cares rendering life in the country still more worrying perhaps than life in town. He died quietly, his proofs in his hand, without ever having failed in the production of a single number.
None could be less like the founder of the Revue than his son Charles Buloz: affable, hospitable as much as his father had been stern and austere. The new reign was an Elizabethan age of courtliness and grace, and purely literary prestige.
Renan was at his highest-the Renan of MarcAurele and the "Apotres," in the full bloom of his evangelical-philosophical career.
Around the young editor gathered a cluster of contemporary romancers and historians: Duruy, Delpit, Henry Houssaye; academicians in the bud, as yet only lively and brilliant "chums" of the new chief, no less than well-appreciated writers.
After the war and Commune there survived no "Opposition"; hence no more waves of politics to be raised or calmed by a Forcade.
Charles de Mazade, the "fortnightly" politician, and Emile Montegut remained, under the amicable new reign, the principal representatives of former times.
Under a body so frail that his hearers often feared to see it break during the violent gesticulation and vivacity of his speech, Montegut hid a true artist's soul, a soul subtle, delicate and ardent, excellently expressed in the following lines in which the critic describes friendship: "Contrary to love, friendship possesses its greatest charm and value only when two beings understand each