Lot n° 204
300 - 350
SAINTE-BEUVE Charles-Augustin (1804-1869) [AF 1844, 28e f].
L.S. " Sainte-Beuve ", September 26, 1866, to Louis RATISBONNE; dictated to his secretary Jules TROUBAT; 4 pages in-8.
A long letter about Alfred de VIGNY and the Académie française.
He lavishes compliments on the defender of the illustrious cantor of Eloa, whose article in the Débats has touched him a lot. But in drawing his last "portrait", Sainte-Beuve yielded to the need to put all the truth concerning the reception of the poet to the Academy, and he relies on the opinions of Legouvé, Viennet, Noailles and Sacy: "it is contrary to the uses of the Academy that the director communicates his speech to the recipient. There is no parity or equality between them on this point until after this moment of reception. The recipient hands over his speech, when he has finished it, to the director who must answer him"... A committee meets the day before the reception and only then does the recipient, after having read his speech, know the answer that will be given to him. He explains the reasons for this practice. "Well, these facts, so simple and customary, the illustrious poet, stranger as he was to reality, never admitted nor wanted to acknowledge them. As for seeing in M. Molé the instrument of a political vengeance, I cannot tell you to what extent this seems chimerical. M. Molé was not at all concerned [...] that there should be in M. de Vigny's speech compliments to Louis-Philippe: he was very concerned about that! He assures Ratisbonne that the letter he quoted was not "from M. de Lamartine, as you have conjectured, but from a person closer to Victor Hugo and gifted by nature of a sweet impartiality which does not exclude the accuracy of judgments"...
Provenance : former collection Daniel SICKLES (XX, n° 9140).
Correspondence, t. XV, n° 4955.
Return to catalogue