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A Brief Bio of Alfred de Musset

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Musset, Alfred de, the premier poet of modern French literature, born in Paris of good parentage; wayward and impulsive in youth, he would settle to no occupation, till his already awakened taste for poetry receiving a powerful stimulus through contact with Victor Hugo, led him to embrace the profession of letters; two volumes of poetry were published before he achieved, in 1833, his first signal success with the dramas "André del Sarto" and "Les Caprices de Marianne"; in the same year began his famous liaison with George Sand (q. v.), involving him in the ill-fated expedition to Venice, whence he returned in the spring of 1834 shattered in health and disillusioned; from one unhappy love intrigue he passed to another, seeking in vain a solace for his restless spirit, but reaping an experience which enriched his writings; "Confessions d'un Enfant du Siècle" appeared in 1836, and is a significant confession of his life at this time; two years later he was appointed librarian at the Home Office, and in 1847 his charming comedy, "Un Caprice," was received with enthusiasm; in 1852 he was elected to the Academy, but his work was done, and already an ill-controlled indulgence in alcohol had fatally undermined his never robust strength; his writings, besides possessing the charm of an exquisite style, heightened by an undertone of true tenderness, are chiefly remarkable for the intense sincerity of feeling, albeit of a limited range, which animates them, and which finds its highest expression in his four great lyrical pieces, "Les Nuits"; his fine instinct for dramatic situation and gift of witty dialogue are manifest in the dramas already mentioned, as also in many others; of his prose works, "Le Fils du Titien," "Mademoiselle Mimi Pinson," and the "Confessions" are his best; he was a handsome man, with fascinating manners (1810-1857).


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