Jules Vallés and the Anarchist Novel

Vallès’s anarchism has often been seen in terms of his sensibility, his biography, and particularly his relationship with Proudhon. His writing and his theory of literature, however, have very little to do with Proudhonian æsthetics. Instead, Vallès’s writing is best understood in the context of Bakunin’s theories on literature and politics, as well as a current of literature in the second half of the nineteenth century that Jacques Dubois termed instantanéisme. Anarchist æsthetics and instantanéisme both reject politics; they are not based on the political commitment of the writer or the work, but rather on rupture and singularity. Vallès’s work thus has to be distinguished from the various strands of realism and naturalism in the nineteenth century – from the mimetic tradition in general – and viewed within the much more tenuous current of the anarchist novel in the nineteenth century. (AN)

Nematollahy, Ali.
Volume 2007 Spring-Summer; 35(3-4): 575-89.