Alphonse de Lamartine

Alphonse de Lamartine
Alphonse de Lamartine.PNG
Alphonse de Lamartine by François Gérard (1831)
Member of the National Assembly
for Saône-et-Loire
In office
8 July 1849 – 2 December 1851
Preceded byCharles Rolland
Succeeded byEnd of the Second Republic
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
24 February 1848 – 11 May 1848
Prime MinisterJacques-Charles Dupont
Preceded byFrançois Guizot (also Prime Minister)
Succeeded byJules Bastide
Member of the National Assembly
for Bouches-du-Rhône
In office
4 May 1848 – 26 May 1849
Preceded byNew constituency
Succeeded byJoseph Marcellin Rulhières
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
for Saône-et-Loire
In office
4 November 1837 – 24 February 1848
Preceded byClaude-Louis Mathieu
Succeeded byCharles Rolland
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
for Nord
In office
7 January 1833 – 3 October 1837
Preceded byPaul Lemaire
Succeeded byLouis de Hau de Staplande
Personal details
Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine

(1790-10-21)21 October 1790
Mâcon, Burgundy, France
Died28 February 1869(1869-02-28) (aged 78)
Paris, Île-de-France, French Empire
Political partySocial Party[1] (1833–1837)
Third Party (1837–1848)
Moderate Republican (1848–1851)
Mary Ann Elisa Birch
(m. 1820; her d. 1863)
Marie Louise
EducationBelley College
ProfessionWriter, poet
Writing career
Period19th century
GenreNovel, poetry, history, theatre, biography
SubjectNature, love, spiritualism
Literary movementRomanticism
Notable worksGraziella (1852)
Years active1811–1869


Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine, Knight of Pratz (French: [alfɔ̃s maʁi lwi dəpʁa də lamaʁtin]; 21 October 1790 – 28 February 1869), was a French writer, poet and politician who was instrumental in the foundation of the Second Republic and the continuation of the Tricolore as the flag of France.


Early years

Lamartine was born in Mâcon, Burgundy, on 21 October 1790.[2] His family were members of the French provincial nobility, and he spent his youth at the family estate. Lamartine is famous for his partly autobiographical poem, "Le lac" ("The Lake"), which describes in retrospect the fervent love shared by a couple from the point of view of the bereaved man. Lamartine was masterly in his use of French poetic forms. Raised a devout Catholic, Lamartine became a pantheist, writing Jocelyn and La Chute d'un ange. He wrote Histoire des Girondins in 1847 in praise of the Girondists.

Lamartine made his entrance into the field of poetry by a masterpiece, Les Méditations Poétiques (1820), and awoke to find himself famous.[3] He was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1825. He worked for the French embassy in Italy from 1825 to 1828. In 1829, he was elected a member of the Académie française. He was elected a deputy in 1833. In 1835 he published the "Voyage en Orient", a brilliant and bold account of the journey he had just made, in royal luxury, to the countries of the Orient, and in the course of which he had lost his only daughter. From then on he confined himself to prose.

Political career

Around 1830, Lamartine's opinions shifted in the direction of liberalism.[1] When elected in 1833 to the National Assembly, he quickly founded his own "Social Party" with some influence from Saint-Simonian ideas and established himself as a prominent critic of the July Monarchy, becoming more and more of a republican in the monarchy's last years.[1][4]

He was briefly in charge of the government during the turbulence of 1848. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 24 February 1848 to 11 May 1848. Due to his great age, Jacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure, Chairman of the Provisional Government, effectively delegated many of his duties to Lamartine. He was then a member of the Executive Commission, the political body which served as France's joint Head of State.

Lamartine was instrumental in the founding of the Second Republic of France, having met with Republican Deputies and journalists in the Hôtel de Ville to agree on the makeup of its provisional government. Lamartine himself was chosen to declare the Republic in traditional form in the balcony of the Hôtel de Ville, and ensured the continuation of the Tricouleur as the flag of the nation.

On 25 February 1848 Lamartine said about the Tricolored Flag: "I spoke as a citizen earlier, well! Now listen to me, your Foreign Minister. If I remove the tricolor, know it, you will remove me half the external force of France! Because Europe knows the flag of his defeats and of our victories in the flag of the Republic and of the Empire. By seeing the red flag, they'll see the flag of a party! This is the flag of France, it is the flag of our victorious armies, it is the flag of our triumphs that must be addressed before Europe. France and the tricolor is the same thought, the same prestige, even terror, if necessary, for our enemies! Consider how much blood you would have to make for another flag fame! Citizens, for me, the red flag, I am not adopting it, and I'll tell you why I'm against with all the strength of my patriotism. It's that the tricolor has toured the world with the Republic and the Empire with your freedoms and your glory, and the red flag was that around the Champ-de-Mars, dragged into the people's blood."[5]

During his term as a politician in the Second Republic, he led efforts that culminated in the abolition of slavery and the death penalty, as well as the enshrinement of the right to work and the short-lived national workshop programs. A political idealist who supported democracy and pacifism, his moderate stance on most issues caused many of his followers to desert him. He was an unsuccessful candidate in the presidential election of 10 December 1848, receiving fewer than 19,000 votes. He subsequently retired from politics and dedicated himself to literature.

Final years and legacy

Lamartine photographed in 1865

He published volumes on the most varied subjects (history, criticism, personal confidences, literary conversations) especially during the Empire, when, having retired to private life and having become the prey of his creditors, he condemned himself to what he calls "literary hard-labor in order to exist and pay his debts". Lamartine ended his life in poverty, publishing monthly installments of the Cours familier de littérature to support himself. He died in Paris in 1869.

Nobel prize winner Frédéric Mistral's fame was in part due to the praise of Alphonse de Lamartine in the fortieth edition of his periodical Cours familier de littérature, following the publication of Mistral's long poem Mirèio. Mistral is the most revered writer in modern Occitan literature.

Lamartine is considered to be the first French romantic poet (though Charles-Julien Lioult de Chênedollé was working on similar innovations at the same time), and was acknowledged by Paul Verlaine and the Symbolists as an important influence.

Other Languages
Lëtzebuergesch: Alphonse de Lamartine
српски / srpski: Алфонс де Ламартин
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Alphonse de Lamartine
Tiếng Việt: Alphonse de Lamartine