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Encyclopedia > Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly

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Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly

Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly (November 2, 1808 - April 23, 1889), French man of letters, was born at Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte[?] (Manche). His most famous novels are:
  • Une Vieille Maltresse (1851), attacked at the time of its publication on the charge of immorality
  • L'Ensorcelée (1854), an episode of the royalist rising among the Norman peasants against the first republic
  • Chevalier Destouches (1864)
  • and a collection of extraordinary stories entitled Les Diaboliques (1874).

Barbey d'Aurevilly is an extreme example of the eccentricities of which the Romanticists were capable, and to read him is to understand the discredit that fell upon the manner. He held extreme Catholic views and wrote on the most risqué subjects; he gave himself aristocratic airs and hinted at a mysterious past, though his parentage was entirely bourgeois and his youth very hum-drum and innocent.

In the 1850s, d'Aurevilly became literary critic of the Pays. Paul Bourget describes him as a dreamer with an exquisite sense of vision, who sought and found in his work a refuge from the uncongenial world of every day. Jules Lemaitre, a less sympathetic critic, finds in the extraordinary crimes of his heroes and heroines, his reactionary views, his dandyism and snobbery, an exaggerated Byronism.

Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly died in Paris on April 23, 1889 and was interred in the Cimetiere de Montparnasse in Paris. In 1926 his remains were transferred to St. Sauveur[?], le vicomte's cemetery, in Normandy.



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