Alphonse de Lamartine

Alphonse de Lamartine

Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine (Alphonse-Marie-Louis de Prat de Lamartine) (October 21, 1790 - February 28, 1869) was a French writer, poet and politician, born in Mâcon, Burgundy into French provincial nobility.

He 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. He was one of very few French literary figures to combine his writing with a political career. 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.

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 'député' in 1833, and was briefly in charge of government during the turbulence of 1848. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs from February 24, 1848 to May 11, 1848. Due to his great age, Jacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure, Chairman of the Provisional Government, effectively delegated much 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.

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

He ended his life in poverty, something of a literary hack. He died in Paris.

He 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.

His thoughts about Islam and Prophet Muhammad

Lamartine made official journeys through Europe and America, which gave him the opportunity to have been to Turkey, in the time of Sultan Abdülmecid. He was admitted in a friendly manner by the Ottoman Emperor, and was also presented with a farm within the city of Aydın, Turkey. He quotes about Prophet Muhammad in his book Histoire de la Turquie (History of Turkey) (1854) as follows:
- Was Muhammad a false prophet? We cannot think so after studying his works and history. For false prophethood means hypocrisy. As falsehood does not have the power of trueness, likewise hypocrisy does not have convincing capacity. |30px|30px | Histoire de la Turquie, Alphonse de Lamartine

- In mechanics the range of something thrown depends on the power of the thrust. By the same token, the power of a certain source of spiritual inspiration is assessed with the work it accomplishes. A religion, (i.e. Islam), which has carried so heavy a burden, which has spread to such distances, and which has maintained its full power for such a long time, cannot be a lie. It has to be genuine and convincing. Muhammad’s life; his efforts; his courage in attacking and destroying the superstitions and idols in his country; his bravery and valor in standing against the fury of a fire-worshipping nation; his thirteen year endurance to the various attacks, insults and persecutions inflicted on him in Mecca, among his own citizens; his migration to Medina; his incessant encouragements, preaches and admonitions; the holy wars he fought against overwhelmingly superior enemy forces; his spirit for victory; the superhuman confidence he felt at times of greatest afflictions; the patience and trust he displayed even in victory; the determination he showed in convincing others; his endless devotion in worships; his sacred communings with Allah; his death, and the continuation of his fame, honour and victories after his death; all these factual events (and many others untold) indicate that he was by no means a liar, but, on the contrary, an owner of great belief. |30px|30px | Histoire de la Turquie, Alphonse de Lamartine

- It was this belief and this trust in his creator that made him put forward a two-staged credo: The first stage consisted of the belief that ‘there is one eternal being, who is Allah;’ and the second stage inculcated that ‘idols are not gods.’ In the first stage he informed the Arabs about the existence of Allah, who is one and whom they had not known until that time; and in the second stage he shook from their hands the idols which they had looked on as gods until that time. In short, at a single stroke with the sword he broke the false gods and idols and replaced them with the belief in ‘One Allah’. |30px|30px | Histoire de la Turquie, Alphonse de Lamartine

- This is Muhammad, the philosopher, the orator, the Prophet, the law-giver, the warrior, the enchanter of human thoughts, the maker of new principles of belief, the great man who established twenty gigantic world empires and one great Islamic empire and civilization. |30px|30px | Histoire de la Turquie, Alphonse de Lamartine

- Let all the criteria used by humanity for the judgement and evaluation of greatness be applied. Will anyone be found superior to him? Impossible. |30px|30px | Histoire de la Turquie, Alphonse de Lamartine

Bibliography

  • Saül (1818)
  • Méditations poétiques (1820)
  • Nouvelles Méditations (1823)
  • Harmonies poétiques et religieuses (1830)
  • Sur la politique rationnelle (1831)
  • Voyage en Orient (1835)
  • Jocelyn (1836)
  • La chute d'un ange (1838)
  • Recueillements poétiques (1839)
  • Histoire des Girondins (1847)
  • Raphaël (1849)
  • Confidences (1849)
  • Geneviève, histoire d'une servante (1851)
  • Graziella (1852)
  • Les visions (1853)
  • Histoire de la Turquie (1854)
  • Cours familier de littérature (1856)

External links

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