"Figaro" Collection

The satirical journal Figaro played a fraught but defining role in the history of the Bouzingo group--indeed, they were given that name in the articles contained in the archive copies of Figaro. Founded in 1826, the journal had helped to lay the groundwork for oppositional satire in France and was closely tied to Romanticism. However, its editor, Henri de Latouche, opposed the excesses of the nascent Romanticist avant-garde, attacking the Petit-Cénacle / Jeunes-France group with a series of outrageous humurous stories in the winter of 1831, in which the group's extreme public persona (Gothic, Revolutionary, Blasphemous, Rowdy) was pushed to extreme limits. This seems to be the first time that the name 'Jeune-France' was applied to the group in print, and may have been the genesis of the name, though they deliberately misspelled it when claiming it for their own. They adopted the wild legends with glee in their internal mythology, public personas, and self-referential poems and stories.

Latouche was attacked in turn by Petrus Borel in his Preface to Rapsodies, but had already, in January 1832, beens replaced as editor, and The Figaro became a right-wing legitimist organ overnight. Searching for a satirical symbol for the political & cultural radicalism they now wished to attack, they settled on the Jeunes-France, several of whom had been arrested in the street in the middle of the night the previous year, singing a song which declared that they "were doing" or "making the bouzingo". The Figaro thus created a stock-caricature of the mad, godless, rabidly anti-government "Bousingot" and published another series of comic stories, accentuating the group's political radicalism and mapping the resulting stereotype onto a larger segment of radicalized youth culture. Again, the group (temporarily) adopted this term of intended abuse; their attempt to publish a group anthology of Tales of the Bouzingo never came about, but several stories about avant-garde life--themselves satirizing the Figaro's satires--were published  in 1833. The issues collected here contain many of those "Bousingot" satires, alongside others of Saint-Simonist socialism, with which the group critically engaged. 


Figaro. Year 7, No. 253 (Sept. 10, 1831). Sole Edition: Paris. Paperback Quarto, 4 pp.   (online HERE)

Figaro. Year 7, No. 40 (Feb. 9, 1832). Sole Edition: Paris. Paperback Quarto, 4 pp.   (online HERE)


Issue No. 40 contains a parody 'Manifesto' of the Bouzingo, entitled simply,"Le Bousingot," and an article arguing against the "fantastique" or frenetic genre (associated with the nascent avant-garde) as anti-French.
Figaro. Year 7, No. 57 (Feb. 26, 1832). Sole Edition: Paris. Paperback Quarto, 4 pp.   (online HERE)

This issue contains the satirical story "Banquet du Bousingot," an article supporting Charles Nodier (ironically, the father of Frenetic Romanticism) for the Academie Français, one on public arts funding, and an account of a meeting of the Chamber of Deputies.


Figaro. Year 7, No. 79 (March 19, 1832). Sole Edition: Paris. Paperback Quarto, 4 pp.   (online HERE)

This issue contains, among other things, a satirical essay on "Le Bousingot fashionable," (The Fashionable Bousingot).

Figaro. Year 7, No. 83 (March 23, 1832). Sole Edition: Paris. Paperback Quarto, 4 pp.   (online HERE)

This issue contains an essay against "Le Bousingot Rouge" (Red [radical revolutionary] Bousingot) that identifies them explicitly with the Jeunes-France group and criticizes the avant-garde theory of Camaraderie (revolutionary friendship), and another article attacking the Saint-Simonist socialists.


Figaro. Year 7, No. 95 (April 4, 1832). Sole Edition: Paris. Paperback Quarto, 4 pp.   (online HERE)
This issue contains the satirical story,  "Déséspoir du Bousingot" ("Bousingot Despair,") and a satire of people's reactions to the ongoing cholera epidemic.


Figaro. Year 7, No. 103 (April 17, 1832). Sole Edition: Paris. Paperback Quarto, 4 pp.   (online HERE)

This issue contains the satirical story,  "Un Bousingot en bonne fortune" ("A Lucky Bousingot,") next to an essay on the Saint-Simonist socialists relationship to Romanticist art (which was occurring under the aegis of the Bouzingo and broader Romanticist avant-garde).


Figaro. Year 7, No. 115 (April 24, 1832). Sole Edition: Paris. Paperback Quarto, 4 pp.   (online HERE)

This issue contains the satirical story,  "Mésaventure du Bousingot rouge en tournée" ("Misadventure of a Red [far-left] Bousingot on Vacation,") and an article about "The Danger of Washing the Hands" during the cholera epidemic then ravaging Paris.


Figaro. Year 7, No. 127 (May 6, 1832). Sole Edition: Paris. Paperback Quarto, 4 pp.   (online HERE)
Figaro. Year 7, No. 199 (July 17, 1832). Sole Edition: Paris. Paperback Quarto, 4 pp.   (online HERE)

This issue contains a parody 'Manifesto' of the Bouzingo, "Maladresse des publicistes Bousingots," and an article about a feud between the popular Romantic composers Meyerbeer & Taglione.

Léon Halévy, Saint-Simonist Activist, Publisher & Playwright. Letter to Désirée Eymery. May 23, 1838. Handwritten on folded blue octavo stationary w/ Letterhead of Le Figaro.

This addition to the archive ties together, in the person of Léon Halévy, several important threads in the historical fabric of the early avant-garde. Halévy was the personal secretary of the proto-socialist Claude-Henry Saint-Simon, and was with him on his deathbed; afterward, he became involved with Romanticist subculture, writing many plays including adaptations of novels by Georges Sand, Jules Janin, and others. As such, he provided a social link between his close collaborator and fellow Saint-Simonist Olinde Rodrigues, who coined the term "avant-garde" in 1826 (see his anthology of self-taught proletarian poets in the "Anthologies" tab), and his good friend Petrus Borel, co-founder of the avant-garde Bouzingo group.

These two threads are neatly tied up with a third in this note, for it was written very shortly after the start of Halévy's short-lived tenure as editor of Figaro, the satirical journal that had generated both the name "Jeune-France" and "Bousingot" (détourned by the group to become "Jeunes-France" and "Bouzingo"). The journal had been as an opposition newspaper until 1832, when they were taken over as a government mouthpiece, then sold to a series of editors both Left and Right, until finally re-established as a conservative newspaper later in the century, which still exists. (See the Revenant Archive's collection of Bouzingo-related issues of Figaro).

In this note, Halévy suggests changing the title of a survey of literary history he has written for the Bibliothèque d'Education series issued by the female publisher Désirée Eymery, and offers her the use of the Figaro's pages to promote her books. Little is known of this intriguing woman, though she inherited the press from her father (still alive but retired when the note was written), who had published several of Nodier's books decades earlier. Halévy's mode of address shows that she was apparently still single at this time, suggesting either that either she was remarkably young to be running her own bookshop and press, or that she was purposely remaining single in order to maintain her economic autonomy. It is not surprising, given the central role of Feminism in Saint-Simon's thought, that Halévy would be in collaboration with a strong, enterprising single woman working in a traditionally gender-determined public role. This, plus her educational activism (as seen in the titles in her bibliography) goad the question of whether she had roots or connections with the Saint-Simonist community, in which the ultra-Feminist wing had played a leading role in the establishment of a number of Free Schools set up in working-class areas in Paris. She might also possibly be the future mother of the gender-bending Decadent author Rachilde, born Marguerite Eymery, whose mother was, it seems, heavily involved with Spiritualism.

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