"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 ten 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; currently represented are 1825, 1829–36 inclusive, and a supplementary anthology from 1838.


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. (Romanticist Annals: Anthology of Choice Morsels of Contemporary Literature) Ed. Charles Malo. (1830) Sole Edition. Louis Janet: Paris. Hardbound 32mo, 367 pp.

The 1830 volume collects work by 71 Romanticist writers submitted in the summer of 1829, and thus presents French Romanticism on the eve of the Battle of Hernani and the radicalization of the movement. The community's increasing self-assertion is manifested in various ways including Cyprian Desmarais' essay on the 'Character of Civilisation and Literature Since 1814'. The communal nature of the emerging avant-garde is subtly signaled by 'Bertrand of Dijon', aka Aloysius Bertrand (aka Louis Bertrand), in his prose poem 'Ma Chamière' ('My Cottage'), when after mentioning the king he adds in a footnote to the poem that, "The king will never read this piece; but my friends shall read it, and will know that I also dream in total wakefulness . . ." The most recent Romanticist icon, Joseph Delorme (Charles Saint-Beuve), appears with his own contribution and a dedication by Émile Deschamps. Rumblings of the revolution that would erupt within months of the book's publication appear, such as 'Liberty' by Nestor de Lamarque, together with the imperialist, ultra-Nationalist monarchist ode (awarded by the Royal Academy) by Anne Bignan, who was something of a laughingstock in intellectual circles for his slavishness for official honours. His militarist poem, which feels icily fascist, is an odd fit yet is the first piece in the whole volume, and may have been included as a 'balance' to the liberal material in a compromise with government censors, who were in the midst of a clamp-down as the anthology was being assembled.

The Orientalist thrust of the Annales volumes from the 1820s is continued here, in the form of poems on middle-eastern themes but also in a collection of traditional Arab maoual songs, preceded by a scholarly essay on Arab literature, with a footnote by Malo that this excerpt from a forthcoming volume was being printed here in advance for the advantage of "young orientalists" engaged in poetic research. Though Frenetic Romanticism remains just beyond the horizon, there are bubblings of the germanophilic gothic-fantastic Romanticism exemplified by Hoffman and Göethe (the subject of Paul Foucher's contribution), such as Dumas' 'The Sylph', Delavigne's 'The Bandit's Death', and Victor Pavie's treatment of the Wandering Jew legend, a staple of Gothic subculture.

Though books at the time were sold unbound, to then be taken to a binder, as literacy outpaced economic prosperity many people – especially students and young intellectuals in the Paris underground – could not regularly afford binding, leading to the development of paperbacks. Romanticist publishers such as Janet and Ladvocat began issuing some copies in lavishly designed paper wrappers. Though the owner of this volume did bind their copies quite nicely, they also preserved the wrappers at front and back and by preserving the spine of the paper wrapper at the rear of the textblock.


Annales Romantiques: Recueil de morceaux choisis de litterature contemporaine. (Romanticist Annals: Anthology of Choice Morsels of Contemporary Literature) Ed. Charles Malo. (1831) Sole Edition. Louis Janet: Paris. Hardbound 32mo, 368 pp.

With its deadline six months after the Romanticist watershed of Hernani and only weeks after the July Revolution, the work in this volume from 81 Romanticist writers represents the movement at the most confident and optimistic moment in its development. One outlet of this optimism was in the array of quasi-heretical liberal and socialist Christian movements that intersected with Romanticism, particularly the one led by the rapidly radicalizing Lammenais, who would be cast out of the Church within a couple years. The deadline was so close to the July Revolution that this volume essentially still wears the shackles of government censorship, and it is not until the next year that the celebrations of the revolution appear. Non-persecutable hints do appear here, such as "The Poet Prisonner by the obscure Norman poet Alphonse Le Flaguais

The Saint-Simonian Romanticist Léon Halévy contributes extracts of a translation of Macbeth, signalling Shakespeare's preeminent position in the Romantic dramatic canon. The Orientalist strain of the anthologies continues unabated with "The Banquet of Esther", written by the anthology's editor Charles Malo (which owes a good deal to Bechford's gothic Orientalist novel Vathek); "The Palace of Nagasaki" by by Denne-Baron. Medievalism also makes a strong showing, with pieces such as the arch-Medievalist Bibliophile Jacob's "Potency"; Charles Dovalle's "The Fairy of the Lake"; Himly's "The School of the Magician"; and Brès' avant-Mystery play "The Man Who Went to See the Devil".
The avant-garde shows its head in the Annales for the first time in this year; frenetic Romanticism again makes its presence felt in pieces such as Nestor de Lamarque's "Despair" and Adolphe Mathieu's "The Execution"; "The Vision" by the poet-archaeologist Boucher de Perthes; "A Night Scene in a Moastery" by the Baron Talairat, later elected mayor of Brioud, France; Henri de Latouche's poem on "The Last Day of Salvatore Rosa", the prototypical visual artist of Frenetic Romanticism (ironically, given Latouche's animosity toward the arch-frenetic Jeunes-France group); Auguste Desportes' frenetic 'imitation' (loose translation-as-rewriting) of a Hebrew song on "The Destruction of Sennacharib"; a Anglemont's morbid ballad "The Orphans"; Théodore Carlier's sonnet epigraphed by Byron; and the translation of Bürger's "Lenore," an iconic poem of French freneticism. The latter and/or the passage by Goëthe were likely translated (anonymously) by Gérard (later Nerval) of the Jeunes-France, who contributes an oddly-constructed lyric on "Disease" under his own name. Throughout the volume we see the proliferation of intertextuality that permeated the Romanticist avant-garde, in the form of many more epigraphs, dedications, and other intracommunal references than had appeared in the previous year. 

As usual in this series, the engravings are quaint, mainstream English prints in a compromise with the market (bourgeois households would buy them for the engravings, regardless of the often challenging literary content, which they simply ignored); however, this volume does contain one engraving reproducing a painting by Turner. As in the other two copies bound by this book's first owner, the wrappers have been preserved at front and back, with the spine of the original paper wrapper at the rear of the textblock.

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, while the monarchist Romanticist Nestor de Lamarque 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 has been so prominent is now 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'. 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. (Romanticist Annals: Anthology of Choice Morsels of Contemporary Literature) Ed. Charles Malo. (1835) Sole Edition. Louis Janet: Paris. Hardbound 32mo, 295 pp.
This volume collects work by 47 Romanticist writers. The anthology's editor, Charles Malo, contributes a weirdly experimental frenetic poem called "Nightmare!" that explores the theme of parricide in verses rhythmically and syntactically fractured by dozens of elipses and dashes, and dozens more semicolons and exclamation marks. The frenetic tendency dominates this year's anthology, with works such as Carlier's "Book of Death", Peyronnet's ode to "Misfortune", Anaïs Ségelas' meditation on "A Death's-Head", Gautier's long poem "Malancholia", and the macabre tale "The Cavern of the Cadavers," under the pseudonym Achille Jubinal. Liberal Nationalism – with both its progressive and its reactionary/Eurocentric problematics – is on the rise; Émile Deschamps contributes an ode to the liberal nationalist movement "Young Germany" and the socialist Alphonse Esquiros to the Greek rebellion against the Ottoman Empire, in which Byron had died. Gérard de Nerval is represented by a series of lyric "Odelettes", Emile Saladin by a short story (his only non-Orientalist piece in the entire series), and Auguste Bouzenot furnishes an essay on Hindu mythology.


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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