Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Any research done in relation to the period of Les Misérables, whether for fanfiction or fanart purposes or otherwise.
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Gervais
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Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby Gervais » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:13 am

Alternatively titled "Gervais is told to make a thread that she isn't able to contribute to."

This came up in one of the chat threads--How did the Romantics perceive male beauty?
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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby Acaila » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:16 am

I'm setting up camp here because I'm very interested to know more about this if anyone has something to contribute :) It's something I've tried looking into before in relation to Les Mis, but google doesn't seem to appreciate that capital R :D (much like Enjolras....sorry, I couldn't resist :D)
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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby freedomlover » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:17 am

In the Romantic Era you have the frail looking, slender men with the pallor skin and the blond hair held in high esteem.
ImageTime Machine Theory:According to some people, Hugo had a time machine and based Enjolras on this user but made a male version of this user.

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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby Acaila » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:20 am

Skin is *pallid*, adjective. Pallor is a noun. ;)
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:19 am

Girlishness? That tends to come up more than once, particularly with Marius, Montparnasse, and Enjolras.
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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby Gervais » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:05 pm

Our school library actually has books on Romanticism. :shock: :mrgreen: They finally have something!
The book I found isn't overly detailed in this subject, though.
Aurelia Combeferre wrote:Girlishness? That tends to come up more than once, particularly with Marius, Montparnasse, and Enjolras.

What the book does say on this would say that, I think, at least as far as Burke is concerned.
Schneider wrote: In [Burke's] discussion, he dismissed Enlightenment views, which looked to Ancient Greek and Roman statues or a depiction of beauty. In his view, Classical art forms appealed too much to reason. he suggested beauty should be associated with the image of the "ideal woman" and the softer virtues of compassion and kindness.

This is all I can find at the moment, but will share if I find more.

ETA: Found an interesting article on male beauty through the ages. http://historicromance.wordpress.com/20 ... -the-ages/ Doesn't specify Romanticism, but it agrees with what's been said.
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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby between4walls » Thu May 02, 2013 12:49 am

Gervais wrote:Our school library actually has books on Romanticism. :shock: :mrgreen: They finally have something!
The book I found isn't overly detailed in this subject, though.
Aurelia Combeferre wrote:Girlishness? That tends to come up more than once, particularly with Marius, Montparnasse, and Enjolras.

What the book does say on this would say that, I think, at least as far as Burke is concerned.
Schneider wrote: In [Burke's] discussion, he dismissed Enlightenment views, which looked to Ancient Greek and Roman statues or a depiction of beauty. In his view, Classical art forms appealed too much to reason. he suggested beauty should be associated with the image of the "ideal woman" and the softer virtues of compassion and kindness.

This is all I can find at the moment, but will share if I find more.


How influential was Burke on the French Romantic movement, though? (I know he spent a lot of his political life supporting the war with France.)
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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby Gervais » Thu May 02, 2013 1:05 am

That, I don't know. Probably not extremely.
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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby between4walls » Thu May 02, 2013 1:49 am

Gervais wrote:That, I don't know. Probably not extremely.


It's still a useful quote in that it shows some of what the Romantics were reacting against in classicism, though.

I'm sure Byron plays into this somehow, but how?

There's a lot out there on gender in Romanticism and the ideal male and female characters/personalities, but not so much on physical appearance.
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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby MmeBahorel » Thu May 02, 2013 2:40 am

@between4walls, I was about to say, surely Byron has something to do with it, right? :)

But really, Byron has to have something to do with it.

Anne Martin Fugier, in ed. Michelle Perrot, A History of Private Life, Volume Four: From the Fires of Revolution to the Great War, says "In the Romantic Era, gentlemen preferred brunettes" in the caption to an engraving by Nicolas-Eustache Maurin from c. 1835. Unfortunately, I have no idea where she came up with that.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby between4walls » Thu May 02, 2013 3:05 am

@MmeBahorel

Thing is, all I know about Byron's appearance is that he had a clubfoot and fluctuated between obesity and starving himself. He may be the Ideal of Male Romantic Hotness, but so much more because of his attitude than his appearance that I don't know how much it has to do with Gervais's inquiry. And those of his writings I've read contain many hot male characters, but again not much in the way of physical description. (His play Cain is amazing- though Cain himself is not an especially attractive person in any sense of the word.)

Dark/black hair and pale skin has Romantic era associations for me (Marius and Montparnasse both have black hair), though I can't point to a particular source.
Here day embraces night, and says: I will die with you and you will be reborn with me. From the heavy embrace of all desolations springs faith.

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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby MmeBahorel » Thu May 02, 2013 3:17 am

I'm thinking Byron from the engravings. No sign of his bad foot and definitely no sign that he got fat *g*.

This one is by Maurin after Byron's death in 1825 - a very popular one based on the 1813 lithograph by Westall. The Maurin was done for a French audience in memoriam. I'm also going to guess that engravings based on the Phillips portrait in Albanian costume are very likely for French distribution as well.

I think the important thing in terms of beauty would actually be to go back to Polidori's physical descriptions of Lord Ruthven. Pale skin, dark hair (so high contrast). I don't think Hugo was the only one obsessed with the high forehead.

This is conjecture based on how key Byron was to Romanticism as a totem as much as an actual influence.
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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby between4walls » Thu May 02, 2013 3:24 am

@MmeBahorel- I almost mentioned The Vampyre and then thought it was too weird to mention. Except this is Romanticism. And you're totally right about the totemic influence.

Aurelia Combeferre wrote:Girlishness? That tends to come up more than once, particularly with Marius, Montparnasse, and Enjolras.


Interesting to group those three together- Montparnasse and Marius are both so much products of the Romantic sensibility (and both are on the receiving end of a fair amount of irony from the omniscient Romantic narrator- eg when Montparnasse gets lectured at by Valjean and just the idea of killing to be a dandy), whereas Enjolras is classical in the extreme, but viewed through and romanticized by a Romantic narrator.

Okay, definitely not the most rigorous analysis, just a dichotomy I found interesting to play with. Familiarity breeds contempt, perhaps.
Here day embraces night, and says: I will die with you and you will be reborn with me. From the heavy embrace of all desolations springs faith.

The real name of devotion is disinterestedness.

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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Thu May 02, 2013 7:49 am

I personally love that dichotomy too. I agree that Enjolras also hails from the classical look favored in years gone by (cue in 1789??)
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Re: Romantic Perspections of Beauty

Postby Gervais » Thu May 02, 2013 4:10 pm

Thank you both! :mrgreen:
Aurelia Combeferre wrote: I agree that Enjolras also hails from the classical look favored in years gone by (cue in 1789??)

Another agreement here.
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