Une source bouddhiste possible d'un poème de Théophile Gautier

In 1838, at the age of twenty-six Théophile Gautier published, in his collection of poetry La Comédie de la mort, the poem "L'Hippopotame," which has many points in common with the chant "The Rhinoceros" (by an unknown author), which appears in an anthology of Buddhist Scriptures (ca. II-V century AD). This poem was translated into European languages, Nietzsche refers to it in an aphorism of Morgenröte. When we compare the Buddhist poem with Gautier's, we notice that the latter's is more exotic, in accordance with the romantic trend. In both works, the writers think that one should imitate the solitude and the courage of a pachyderm. In fact, Gautier's hippopotamus looks like a rhinoceros, with its thick skin and solitary walks. Gautier was always fascinated by Chinese culture and read extensively about it in his youth. He hired a Chinese professor for his daughter Judith who later published many books on Chinese literature. In conclusion, considering the points in common between the two poems examined, and the interest of Gautier for China, he may have known and used the above-mentioned Buddhist poem. (In French) (FB)

Bassan, Fernande.
Volume 1973-1974 Fall-Winter; 2(1-2): 24-28.