Les entrailles de la célébrité: le cadavre de Jacques Delille en 1813

Jacques Delille's funeral in 1813 made clear the extent of his fame and popularity. The poet's body was embalmed and exhibited at Collège de France, before being buried with pomp and circumstance at Père-Lachaise. Although it was not organized by the State, the ceremony's institutional support and the huge crowd that followed its procession gave it a national character, leading various historians to speak of a true "apotheosis" for Delille. The writer's remains received particular attention as well; not only did his skull attract phrenologists, but a young student stole a fragment of skin and used it to bind a copy of one of Delille's books. This article considers what these events reveal about how Delille—or rather his corpse—had come to embody (French) poetry, and how these symbolic acts of last homage were later reinterpreted, in order to deny Delille any link with true poetry. (In French)

Timothée Léchot
Université de Neuchâtel et Université de la Sarre
Volume 49.1–2