"Annales Romantiques" Collection

One of the most influential anthologies of the first-generation avant-garde, the Annales Romantiques were yearly compendia of work by the Romanticist underground, published from 1823–1838 and sporadically thereafter, and thus covered nearly the whole period of the concentrated Romanticist assault on culture. It provides the most textured and complete window into the Parisian Romanticist community of the time, when that community was still in the process of defining itself; for rather than focusing like retrospective anthologies on the few most canonized representatives of the movement, the Annales printed work by between 60 and 80 Romanticist writers each year, and provide a comprehensive glimpse of the entire community, including avant-gardists who never published complete books and represented only here and in various journals that have lain nearly unread since 1835. The Avant-Garde archivist Charles Asselineau devoted two chapters to the series in the first bibliography of avant-garde literature, his 1866 Miscellanies Drawn from a Small Romanticist Library (see 'Bibliography' Tab), to the Annales for this very reason, with an eloquent appeal for greater awareness and respect for the totality of creative communities involved in collective efforts for cultural change.

The book was visually and bibliographically progressive as well, with bizarre juxtapositions of exaggerated typefaces designed by the Romanticist typographer Fermin Didot, who played experimented with extreme variations in stroke-width and in vertical/horizontal orientation of the letter-forms. Didot pioneered the use of moveable type to mimic the human hand in calligraphic writing; this was often extended beyond letter-forms to create abstract ornaments of loops and arabesques, as well as textured fields and other graphic elements created through the use of moveable type. These ornaments, in addition to the combination of multiple typefaces in title material, including exaggerated and visually insistent fonts, became staples of Romanticist book design and were important elements of other Romanticist keepsake anthologies published by Janet.
While the bulk of writers represented in it have been entirely forgotten today, there are many names which still resonate, especially in France (Hugo, Dumas, Balzac, Chateaubriand, Vigny, etc.). This, plus the beautiful and experimental design of the books and typography, ensure that the Annales Romantiques are highly valued by collectors and thus difficult to acquire on the Revenant Archive's tiny budget. Nonetheless, by dint of bibliographic hunting and luck, and a willingness to buy less-than perfect copies, it currently contains seven of the at least 15 volumes (several volumes collected two years' work each and an unknown number supplementary volumes thereafter), supplemented by two handwritten notes by Charles Malo, the anthology's editor from 1829 on. (Malo went on to edit the influential Romanticist journal Revue de Paris, also represented in the archive under the "Periodicals" tab). It is hoped that a full set will eventually be accumulated.


Annales Romantiques: Recueil de morceaux choisis de litterature contemporaine. (Romanticist Annals: Anthology of Choice Morsels of Contemporary Literature) Ed. J.A. Frontispiece by Achille Devéria. (1825) Sole Edition. Urbain Canel: Paris. Hardbound 32mo, 364 pp. w/ Bookplate of Léon Duchesne de la Sicotière.

This volume of the Annales Romantiques contains work by 62 French Romanticists, and was the first to be published by Urbain Canel (though still edited by the original, unidentified editor "J.A."), and there are several differences between it and the later volumes edited by Charles Malo and published by Janet. Unlike later volumes which were adorned with unrelated English engravings, this bears a frontispiece by one of the Devéria brothers, future founders of the Bouzingo group. Also unlike future editions, it is proceeded by a calendar with historical concordance, schedule of eclipses, and list of Saints Days–reminders that the "Anthology" was still a new form (of which the Annales' later publisher Janet is sometimes credited as the main developer), still called "keepsake anthologies" at this time, and was groping its way out of other formats of heterogeneous materials, such as the Almanac. Several manifestos and theoretical essays contribute to the theorising of an increasingly self-conscious and polemical Romanticism, including the volume's preface, "The Romantic Genre," by Servière, and "Classical Impromptu" by Cénacle founder Charles Nodier, who also contributed a "Goodbye to the Romanticists" which merits closer scrutiny. Published before the definitive shift of Romanticism to the left, this anthology includes political pieces from both Monarchists and Republican revolutionaries, the latter including an essay by the fanatical Romantic Casimir Delavigne on "The Misfortunes of Modern Greece" and an anti-slavery story by L.M. Fontan set in Martinique. Represented here are some of the first-generation French Romantics who had pulled from back from the movement's extremes by the 1830s and are not represented in later volumes, such as Benjamin Constant, Chateaubriand, Vigny, Scribe, and future Bouzingo enemy Henri de Latouche. But the roots of radical-gothic Frenetic Romanticism are also already strong with examples such as Maame Tastu's "Death," Campenon's "The Sick Young Girl, an Elegy," Chênedollé's "The Torment of Suicides, a Lament," and a couple translations of Byron's more misanthropic poems. This copy was owned by Léon Duchesne de la Sicotière, a local historian, bibliophile, and politician in Normandy.


Annales Romantiques: Recueil de morceaux choisis de litterature contemporaine. (Romanticist Annals: Anthology of Choice Morsels of Contemporary Literature) Ed. Charles Malo. (1829) Sole Edition. Louis Janet Librarie, Paris. Hardbound 32mo, 367 pp. w/Slipcase.

(above: slipcase.  below: book)

The 1829 anthology prints work by 74 members of the Romanticist community, including several obscure forebears whose work they wished to share. The most influential writers represented this year are Charles Nodier (see "Literature"), Victor Hugo (see "Literature"), the Deschamps brothers, and Marceline Debordes-Valmore, an influence on Paul Verlaine, Alfred Jarry, and Frederich Nietzsche. Assembled while the Romantic community was feverishly laying the groundwork for their cultural assault at Hugo's Hernani, and less than a year before the July Revolution, it is the first number of the anthology to be edited by Charles Malo, one of the most influential Romanticist editors (see "Personal Artifacts" & "Historiography"). The work in the anthology is intensely political, with many pieces addressing odes of Liberty and of armed resistance to tyranny in the name of Greek independence, a cipher for more generalised revolutionary goals in the face of Royal censorship. Byron is repeatedly cited in this politicised connection, including specifically his poem The Bride of Abydos (see 'Literature'). The leading sub-current in the avant-garde at this time seems to have been the Orientalist strain, exemplified by Hugo, Delacroix, and Boulanger (see 'Biographies'); by the time of the 1835 edition (below), this tendency had given way to Frenetic and Medievalist Romanticism. The book itself, put out by the same publisher who had printed the future Bouzingo member Alphonse Brot's avant-garde manifesto five years earlier, is cited by several Romantics as a central influence on Romanticist bibliography and Romanticist typography. This copy retains its original slipcase, which is elaborately gilt and has preserved the book in virtually perfect condition for 183 years. It is insanely colourful for book of this period, with bright green covers, ornate gilding and pink lining. Inside, the typography is equally radical for the time, using typefaces usually reserved for commercial signage, several typefaces on a page, and a different typeface for the title of each entry.


Annales Romantiques: Recueil de morceaux choisis de litterature contemporaine. (Anthology of Choice Morsels of Contemporary Literature) Ed. Charles Malo (1832) Ed. Charles Malo. Sole Edition. Louis Janet Librarie, Paris. Hardbound 32mo, 351 pp. w/Slipcase.

This year's copy of the Annales Romantiques anthology is more cheaply bound and much more worn--this likely more thoroughly read--than the 1829 and 1834 copies in the archive, though its binding remains tight. 1832 was the gothic-inflected height of Frenetic Romanticism, as reflected in the titles of many of the contributions from 74 contributors: 'Fortune and Misfortune,' 'The Infernal Ball', 'Disenchantment and Aridity', ''Complaint', The Primitive Man', 'The Last Man,' 'The Bastard', 'Nothing, Plus Nothing,' 'My Epitaph,' 'Nostradamus,' 'A Legend', 'Fantasy', 'A Vision,' 'A Hallucination', etc. Highlight contributors include Bouzingo co-founders Petrus Borel, Gérard de Nerval, and Théophile Gautier'; a self-described 'hallucination' by Balzac, and poems by Dumas and Musset, all beginning to achieve notoriety; work by the major Romanticists Chateaubriand, Vigny and Hugo; and poems by the frenetic poets Bibliophile Jacob and Eduard d'Anglemont, and Saint-Félix, and by ultra-Romanticist publisher Cordellier Delanoue and the anthology's editor, Charles Malo.

Annales Romantiques: Recueil de morceaux choisis de litterature contemporaine. (Anthology of Choice Morsels of Contemporary Literature) Ed. Charles Malo. (1833) Sole Edition [re-bound]. Louis Janet Librarie, Paris. Hardbound 32mo, 351 pp.
Published at the height of 1st generation avant-garde activity in Paris, this year's anthology includes Théophile Gautier's story about his fellow Bouzingo, Célestin Nanteuil, entitled 'Elias Wildmanstadius'; Frenetic work by the virtually unknown female avant-gardist Madame Abrantès as well as the equally obscure S. Henry Berthoud and Victor Fleury and regular Annales contributors Erménégilde André-Verre, Eduard d'Anglemont and Jules de Saint-Félix. The latter's story stars Robbespierre, and Nestor de Lamarque (who probably later became Nestor Roqueplan of the Bohême Doyenné group) also responds to 1833's many anti-monarchist uprisings with 'The Revolutions' and the exiled radical Polish poet Mickiewicz is included as well.


Annales Romantiques: Recueil de morceaux choisis de litterature contemporaine. (Anthology of Choice Morsels of Contemporary Literature) Ed. Charles Malo. (1834) Sole Edition. Louis Janet Librarie, Paris. Hardbound 32 mo., 342 pp.

The 1834 anthology includes work by 47 members of the Romanticist community, and demonstrates the evolution of the avant-garde over the course of the five years since the 1829 edition (above), particularly under the dual influences of the July Revolution of 1830 and re-esablishment of the Monarchy, and the advent of Frenetic Romanticism and the Jeunes-France / Bouzingo group in particular. The Orientalist Romanticism which was so prominent in 1829 is less visible, and has mostly evolved into translations or explications of Eastern religious texts; Medievalist work is much more prominent, and Gothic Freneticism familiar to us through the Bouzingo is everywhere. The Jeunes-France member Theophile Gautier (see "Literature") is represented twice (the previous year's issue contained his fictionalised portrait of fellow Bouzingo Célestin Nanteuil (see elsewhere in archive); so are several close allies of the group such as Bibliophile Jacob, Alfred de Musset, and Jules Janin; more fascinating are the many Gothic and Frenetic works by people who have been even more forgotten by history--making this collection one of our very few concrete relics of the broader avant-garde context in which the Bouzingo operated, the flesh of the avant-garde community itself who defined the atmosphere from which the Jeunes-France and their close collaborators emerged. There are a large number of pseudonyms reminiscent of those used by the Bouzingo, mostly attached to Frenetic, Gothic texts: 'Jean Polonius', 'Schlegel', 'Émile Saladin', and the intriguing 'Auguste Bouzenot' which raises a number of speculations. This copy lacks the slipcase, and while the binding remains very tight the front cover is nearly detached; the design-work has noticeably evolved since 1829, replacing the statelier and more squared-off motifs of the earlier edition with arabesques with a strong Eastern influence, resulting in a border design that look remarkably like art nouveau designs of 60 years later, and with the elimination of all lettering from the exterior of the book.

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Annales Romantiques: Recueil de morceaux choisis de litterature contemporaine. (Anthology of Choice Morsels of Contemporary Literature) Ed. Charles Malo. (1836) Sole Edition [re-bound]. Louis Janet Librarie, Paris. Hardbound 32mo, 315 pp.

This is the final "official" volume in the series of Annales Romantiques anthologies (though one-off anthologies continued to be published as adjuncts to it); it collects work by 43 members of the French Romanticist community. Malo went on to edit other Romanticist anthologies as well as the journal Revue de Paris (see below for issues & collections in the archive).
Contrary to the assertions of much subsequent criticism, Frenetic Romanticism appears to have been alive and well, and dominates the collection.
A masterpiece of avant-garde Romanticist book design, the typography and text-decorations are pushed even farther than in the previous volumes.

La Corbeille d'Or: Annales Romantiques (The Golden Basket: Romanticist Annals). ed. Charles Malo or Louis Janet? Undated (1838). Sole Edition. Urbain Canel: Paris. Hardbound 32mo., 315 pp. w/original board slipcase.


Most bibliographies, including the seminal work of Charles Asselineau compiled while most of the Romantics were still living, state that the important Annales Romantiques anthology ended in 1836. This volume and others are sometimes mentioned as adjunct to the series, but not counted as a full part of it; moreover, they mention only the 1837 anthology. However, it appears that its publisher Janet in fact continued it under this and other altered titles until at least 1838, as this rare volume proves. It is unclear what the distinction was between the 'canon' series of 1823–36 and the anthologies of 1837-38 (or later?). It is unclear whether Charles Malo was still editing, but the publisher, format, and contributors are fully contiguous with the series, as are the design and typographic experimentation, which is pushed even farther than in previous volumes.

This volume collects work by over 40 Romanticist writers including Alphonse Esquiros, Delphine Gay/ Girardin, Émile Saladin, Marceline Debordes-Valmore, Heinrich Heine, Alexandre Dumas, Alphonse de Lamartine, Émile Deschamps, Paul Hédouin, Paul de Musset, Jules Rességuer, and Charles Saint-Beuve.


Charles Malo, Romanticist publisher, writer & theorist. Letter to Mme. Gimes [?] & Languillon [?] w/ envelope. 16 March, 1841.

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