Elisa Mercoeur: The Poetics of Genius and the Sublime

Abstract: 

Elisa Mercoeur (1809-1835) was declared "la Muse armoricaine" and publicly recognized throughout France. In two odes "L'Avenir" and "Le Sublime" she becomes her own best publicist by promoting herself as a genius, By representing herself as genius, Mercœur affirms "feminine" qualities that were also part of Romanticism, such as flights of fancy and denigration of clarity and the closed systems of Classicism. Spontaneity is another key aspect of her genius, Mercoeur adopted the Romantic notion that a genius is some kind of elite being different from ordinary people, Even though the Romantics felt that male genius had certain feminine qualities, Romantic genius in general was not a unisex concept, In poems such as "L'Avenir" and "Le Sublime" Mercœur is overwhelmed by an anxiety of male influences, and in her zeal to follow old models, she failed to create new visions to insure her own immortality. (WNG)

Author: 
Greenberg, Wendy N
Release Year:
Volume: 
1995-1996 Fall-Winter; 24(1-2): 84-96