Lonely wanderers, readers of Werther, all who did not want to be born. The “enchanted lives” of the authors of an overture for Parisian bohemians
The youth of nineteenth century Parisian bohemian authors was spent in the mundus melancholicus, Rousseau’s “enchanted world,” which was full of Werther’s mourning, Chateaubriand’s constant feeling of unfulfilment and Byron’s accursed rebellion. The never-ending loneliness of these individuals, the incurable disease of the spirit and the body, the eternal fever consuming the minds of the enfants du siècle continued for quite some time and made an indelible mark on the bohemian poet, instilling in him a desire to look for his own “self,” to fight for a semblance of being in the world of a Romantic homo viator. Successive generations of young bohemians continued this image of a young man suffering in his soul and body, for whom everything that had happened had gone forever, and what would happen was not there yet. A confrontation of such a way of creating one’s moi seul with emerging rules of bohemian being, a bitter note of living with the sweetness of Hernani’s triumph, creates a romantic mosaic of ambiguities, whirling and indefinable, like the mystery of Mussetean sorrows.