Théophile Gautier: Social Historian

Poet, novelist, journalist and international commentator; Joanna Richardson portrays Théophile Gautier, a man who typifies the restless energy of the social period in which he lived.

On October 23rd it will be a hundred years since the death of Théophile Gautier. Energetic, romantic, versatile, and immensely gifted, he is one of those figures, larger than life, which symbolize the spirit of mid nineteenth-century France.

Born in 1811, he began his career as a student of art: his meeting with Victor Hugo, and the bataille d’Hernani, turned him, finally, to literature. Romantic poet, romantic novelist (he wrote Mademoiselle de Maupin), he was also the author of several ballets, including Giselle, and of travel books of lasting interest.

His complex domestic life obliged him to earn his living as a journalist, and in 1836 he entered the newspaper world. His journalism would take him from salon to concert to theatre, among the most distinguished men and women of the age; it would carry him to London, Munich and Berlin, to Spain, Algeria and Italy, to Turkey, Denmark, Russia, Greece, and Switzerland and Egypt.

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