Pétrus Borel : background reception and interpretation
Petrus Borel was a minor, French Romantic author who was involved with a small group of artists, the 'Petit cenacle', writing and working in early 1830s Paris. They styled themselves on the more famous 'Cenacle', but were more than imitators of the great names of the Romantic movemement. Members of the 'Petit cenacle', which included the young Gautier and Nerval, took their cues from the major figures of the movement, but often pushed the enthusiasm for aesthetic reform, the colorful exoticism and the rebelliousness of Romanticism far beyond what the major figures were willing to attempt. The 'Petit cenacle' became associated in the mind of the public with a small number of groups of political and artistic militants, whose period of greatest activity coincided with the upheaval in the few years following the July Revolution, and with the Romantic battles in the theatre. Borel's group was often confused with the bousingos,  a species of young political conspirator, and was at times synonymous with the jeunes-France, young men whose Romantic and medievalist literary pretensions were often nuanced with Utopian socialism or republicanism. The 'Petit cenacle' was well known and documented for its use of provocative political rhetoric, in addition to the group's tendency to express its ideals through raucous behaviour and outlandish costumes. In recent years, these minor Romantics have been considered important for having brought the aesthetic principles of Romanticism into play in everyday life. They were at turns idealistic, violently polemical and republican, or aggressivelyfatalistic as suited their ever-changing desire to shock the middle-class and the reading public. [Continues in thesis] 1There are a number of spellings of the word bousingo: bousingot. and bouzingot are both common variations. I shall discuss the etymology later in the first chapter. Throughout the thesis, I will employ the form that was agreed upon by the members of Borel's literary group, bousingo.