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case, and especially in their interaction and hierarchy, the sentiments are determinants of action, for they are the individual's organized emotions and desires. For the understanding of Gautier's creative imagination, thus, it will be necessary to arrive at the determination of his major sentiments. A second point where definition is desirable at the outset of the study is the meaning of the term plastic. It is Gautier's contention that he is "more plastic than literary"; his love for plastic beauty is paramount in the hierarchy of his sentiments. The author himself uses the phrase "arts plastiques" to denote both pictorial and sculptural art. A similar employment of the term is found throughout Romantic art-criticism, and in the discussion of Gautier's own particular talents, the word plastic has been applied by a large number of critics to his tendency to deal not only with sculptural but also with pictorial effects, to note colour as well as form in his literary renderings (2). It seems justifiable, then, to continue to use this term to include the two visual arts and their methods. Just what is "the plastic" in literature, however, is another question, one which will arise in the course of studying Gautier's creative imagination, and which will necessitate an attempt to establish certain psychological criteria by which this quality may be distinguished.

1. Op. cit., p. 419.

2. Cf., for example, Gautier's “Salon de 1837," fourth article, La Presse, 10 mars 1837:

. . Si l'on abandonne l'étude du nu, comme cela est à craindre, les arts plastiques tomberont dans une inévitable décadence; car diviniser le corps humain, sanctifier la beauté, a toujours été le but de la peinture et de la sculpture. . . .

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The definitions of the word plastic, offered by Littré and Darmsteter, and in distinction to the English usage, are interesting in this connection: "Arts plastiques-qui ont pour objet de reproduire les formes des corps" (Darmsteter).

Les arts plastiques, se dit de tous les arts du dessin. Fig. Il se dit de la poésie, quand elle s'efforce, par le vers, de peindre et de sculpter. . La plastique, nom donné, chez les Grecs, à toutes les branches de la sculpture et même à toute imitation du corps humain en y comprenant la graphique" (Littré).


Among the many traits which characterize an individual, there is none of greater importance than his interests. He has a certain initial equipment, he acts in a more or less typical way, and by this endowment and this behaviour he may be partially known. Certain forces, however, lie between endowment and behaviour: ambitions, ideals, drives to action. These are built up on the basis of original equipment, they are manifested in action, and by their specific organization each man may be differentiated from his fellows. The individual hierarchies of sentiments are distinctive. In one person the major sentiment will be, perhaps, a love for exploration in African jungles, in another attachment to a political party will serve as a guide in many ordinary, daily actions, in still a third there may be constant conflict between a personal ambition and a highly organized religious sentiment which inclines to a life of self-abnegation. Each individual will, all other things being equal, tend to bring his whole life into harmony with his particular organization of interests. Thus the definition of his sentiments, in so far as they may be abstracted from hindering or facilitating exterior circumstances and personal endowments (technical skill, opportunity for acquiring knowledge, physical and mental health and energy, etc.), is in large part the definition of the individual. The sentiments appear as determining factors in his general conduct, and his activities give evidence of their hierarchy. They have a similar determinative influence on his production if their possessor be in any sense creator, and this production, like other portions of his life, is in part characterized by them and without them cannot be fully understood. In any study of a creative imagination, then, the determination of the sentiments of the artist is of primary value for the distinguishing of his especial traits: for the comprehen

sion of Théophile Gautier as a literary personality, the part of his major sentiments in his production must be indicated.

'. . . Les caractères que l'artiste choisit dans le modèle pour les mettre en relief sont ceux qui correspondent à ses passions, à ses aspirations ou à ses curiosités. Qu'il le veuille ou non, ce qui l'attache dans les objets, ce qui l'intéresse, c'est leur rapport à lui-même, les aspects qui le font vivre en quelque sorte davantage, par sympathie ou par contraste. La moindre

invention oblige l'artiste à composer. Pour un artiste, composer c'est établir, entre les sensations choisies, un rapport tel qu'il en résulte une harmonie totale appropriée le mieux possible à son tempérament et, par suite, conforme le plus possible à son idéal . ."(1).

The temperament and the ideal of Théophile Gautier, thus, have their bearing on his artistic production; they, in turn, are made apparent in the organization of his sentiments and also in the types of sensations which he enjoyed or disliked. According to Sully-Prudhomme:

“. . . Un homme n'est pas un artiste si, chez lui, aucun sens n'est particulièrement délicat, si certaines couleurs, certaines lignes, certains sons ne l'affectent pas comme des caresses ou des blessures; si, pour lui, les impressions n'ont point de nuances; en un mot, s'il n'est sensuel à quelque degré.

"Nous usons du mot sensuel à dessein, pour bien marquer qu'un véritable artiste veut jouir des couleurs, des lignes, des notes pour elles-mêmes en tant que délectables aux sens; et alors même qu'il les emploie à exprimer les sentiments les plus sublimes, nous verrons qu'il ne les rend expressives qu'en exploitant la volupté physique qu'elles éveillent . . ."(2).


In this Théophile Gautier would agree, for to him the senses brought certain specific pleasures which lie at the foundation of his artistic production and are basic to the hierarchy of his sentiWhile some of these pleasure-reactions seem far removed from the æsthetic field, others have a direct bearing there. Perhaps none is without its significance for some phase of his creative imagination, for these characteristic elementary traits reappear, developed and extended, modified in their interactions, in the whole course of the author's critical and original writing.

Gautier's likes and dislikes in the matter of odours, temperature and tactile sensations may be easily formulated. For the first he expresses little fixed preference, unless it be his delight in the rose-laurels of Grenada; there are no definite odours which he always enjoys and which for him add greatly to the pleasure of any experience. So, too, there is none against which he seems

violently prejudiced. He is, to judge from his writings and from the records of his friends, relatively indifferent to sensations of smell although he notes their presence in various situations. The case is otherwise for temperature: from his childhood on he enjoys heat, and remarks upon its necessity for his comfort and pleasure. Paris seemed cold and desolate to him after his infancy in Tarbes; the poet of Albertus and the Premières Poésies congratulated himself on being able to remain warm and comfortable in his chimney-corner. In 1837 he discovered a new source of pleasure in the tropical conservatory of the Jardin des plantes:

"Quand je mis le pied dans le grand pavillon des plantes tropicales, j'éprouvai une espèce de vertige singulier. Je sortais d'un mois de mai parisien et j'entrais subitement, sans aucune transition, dans un été des régions torrides. Je me suis senti enveloppé tout d'un coup comme par le baiser d'une bouche tiède, d'une atmosphère chaude et humide, saturée de parfums âcrement sauvages, de parfums aussi violents que des poisons, de je ne sais quelles senteurs de forêts vierges et de jungle; rappelant Java, Sumatra, Batavia, les îles de la Sonde et tous ces climats voluptueusement mortels. O délice pour un frileux tel que moi; il faisait là-dedans trente-trois degrés de chaleur!" (3) So, in Russia twenty-five years later, the traveller is astonished to find that the still coldness of the country can be enjoyed even by him who, all through his life, had considered heat alone compatible with comfort (4). Cold and damp together were always disagreeable to him, and in the account of his trip to Constantinople he speaks of the depressing effect which an underground passage had upon him (5). On the other hand, there was a certain voluptuousness in fresh, cold water which delighted him (6), and while he bore with poor food in his journeyings, when the new scenes compensated for many discomforts, at his home he insisted upon well-prepared meals and was himself no mean cook; his ragoût milanais was famous among the dishes which he brought back to add to his pleasures. On the whole, indeed, comfort was a very real need to him, and he saw no virtue in asceticism.

"Qu'il gèle! et qu'à grand bruit, sans relâche, la grêle
De grains rebondissants fouette la vitre frêle!

Que la bise d'hiver se fatigue à gémir!
Qu'importe? n'ai-je pas un feu clair dans mon âtre,
Sur mes genoux un chat qui se joue et folâtre,

Un livre pour veiller, un fauteuil pour dormir?" (7)

The pleasures and discomforts of the senses were particularly apparent to Gautier, however, only where sound and sight were concerned, and it is not surprising to find that these "æsthetic were especially keen in the artist. He once described the characteristic actions of Gavarni's Enfants terribles, and, of their many offenses, those against beauty were to him most heinous :


Avec eux, plus de rêverie, plus de travail, plus de conversation possible. Ils choisissent le moment où vous cherchez une rime à oncle pour exécuter la plus stridente fanfare de trompette en fer blanc; ils battent du tambour, juste quand vous alliez trouver la solution de votre problème; ils égratignent vos meubles et prennent, à écouter le bruit que font en tombant les porcelaines de la Chine ou du Japon, le même plaisir que les singes. . . . Si vous avez un portrait de femme auquel vous teniez beaucoup, ils n'ont rien de plus pressé que d'y dessiner des moustaches avec du cirage

. ."(8).

Sound, in general, brought Gautier more discomfort than enjoyment. It is hardly necessary to recall his dictum on la Favorite as modified to suit British taste and sung in English, when he agreed with the geometrist who believed that “la musique est le plus désagréable et le plus cher de tous les bruits" (9). Bergerat, indeed, takes issue with tradition in this matter, and maintains that Gautier's rebelliousness to sounds was only a legend:

"... Mon maître était sensible, docte même, en musique; il aimait entre toutes celles de Weber et le premier article qui ait été écrit sur Tannhäuser, en France, est de sa plume et de son encre . . .”(10).

This view is, to a certain extent, supported by Reyer, who had collaborated with Gautier in the preparation of many musical feuilletons:

"C'est que Gautier était bien loin d'avoir, comme on l'a prétendu et répété souvent, l'oreille fermée à toute mélodie. . . Il l'aimait, au contraire, et faisait mieux que l'aimer: il l'écoutait avec intelligence, avec recueillement ; et, s'il n'en pouvait discuter en homme compétent, il en parlait en poète et savait traduire dans la langue la plus imagée les émotions et les jouissances qu'il en avait reçues . . ."(11).

Reyer, the professional musician, here differs from Bergerat in the matter of Gautier's technical training in music, although he agrees that the author found a certain enjoyment there. Gautier himself speaks of just what this was:

"Voilà comme nous aimons la musique; chez nous, par hasard, en pantoufles et sans cravate, un matin qu'on n'y songeait pas, et qu'on se sentait remuer

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