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RealpoetikEuropean Romanticism and Literary Politics$
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Paul Hamilton

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199686179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686179.001.0001

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Chateaubriand’s Christian Eloquence

Chateaubriand’s Christian Eloquence

(p.98) (p.99) 4 Chateaubriand’s Christian Eloquence

Paul Hamilton

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that to read Chateaubriand after Constant is to be made to confront similarities in their expression of very different political allegiances, which are both grounded in religious understanding. But Chateaubriand is the example in this book of the most spectacular indulgence of the historical opportunities of the political imaginary. Both his Christianity and his eroticism, his Génie du Christianisme and the trope of the sylphide permeating his work, inspire him to invent the most encompassing of literary forms. Literary adequacy or eloquence is equated with political capability as Chateaubriand uses fiction to outmanoeuvre the ideas of revolution he has inherited and which he wants to revolutionize themselves, in shapes ranging from the early Récits, through history (Essai sur les revolutions, Génie), epic (Les martyres), travelogues, and impossibly posthumous memoire of his most presumptuous fiction, Mémoires d’outre tombe.

Keywords:   Christianity, revolution, historicism, sylphide, mélange

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