A Whirlwind of Emotions in the Poetry of Marceline Desbordes-Valmore or the Poetisation of a Love Story


  • Kim Fuchs Godec




Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, poet, love poetry, biographical reading, Romanticism


The subject of this paper is not only the love poetry of Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, which belongs to her early creative phase, but also her personal story, which was marked by a stormy relationship that unfortunately did not come to a happy end. Sainte-Beuve, who knew Marceline personally, described her as a very gentle, instinctive, and emotional poet. Through selected verses we examine her gift of “weeping”, which she received with the departure of her lover, whose identity remains a mystery despite much speculation. Marceline established herself in the “Romantic school” with her simplicity and sincerity of expression, with poetry that boils with emotion. She even managed to approach the essence of lyrical poetry. While we can attribute pathos and sadness to her work, but there is no trace of artificiality in these verses. When analysing the motifs, we draw on episodes from her life, and at the same time look at her most important inspiration in the first years of her work, the power of love. We follow the effects that misunderstandings, confusion, disappointment, desolation, sadness etc. have left in the verses.  We consider the deliriums, dreams, and illusions in which she sees and hears her lover again, but without causing her physical exhaustion. Finally, our discussion touches on the gradual change of mood that prevails in the poems. They become dark and morbid, and herald a thematic break that occurs in her following collections.


Download data is not yet available.


AMBRIERE, Francis (1987) Le siècle des Valmore : Marceline Desbordes-Valmore et les siens, II. 1840- 1892. Paris : Éditions du Seuil.

BOULENGER, Jacques (1909) Marceline Desbordes-Valmore D’après ses papiers inédits. Paris : Arthème Fayard, éditeur.

DESBORDES-VALMORE, Marceline (1819) Élégies, Marie et Romances. Paris : Imprimerie de Richomme.

DESBORDES-VALMORE, Marceline (1825) Élégies et Poésies Nouvelles. Paris : Imprimerie de Firmin Didot.

DESBORDES-VALMORE, Marceline (1830) Poésies de Madame Desbordes-Valmore, tome I-III. Paris : A. Boulland, Libraire-Editeur.

DESBORDES-VALMORE, Marceline, (1860) Poésies Inédites de Madame Desbordes-Valmore, par M. Gustave Revilliod, Genève : Imprimerie de Jules Fick.

DESBORDES-VALMORE, Marceline (1820) Poèmes de Mme Desbordes-Valmore. Paris : François Louis, Libraire.

DESBORDES-VALMORE, Marceline (1833) Œuvres de Madame Desbordes Valmore. Bruxelles : E. Laurent, imprimeur-éditeur.

DESBORDES-VALMORE, Marceline (1833) Les Pleurs, poésies nouvelles. Paris : Charpentier, Libraire.

DESCAVES, Lucien (1910) La vie douloureuse de Marceline Desbordes-Valmore. Paris : Éditons d’art et de littérature.

GIRAUD, Victor (1935) « Revue littéraire : Marceline », Revue des Deux Mondes vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 218–230. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/44848411> (consulté le 15 juillet 2020)

LEMAITRE, Jules (1899) Les contemporains : Etudes et Portraits littéraire, septième série. Paris : Société française d’imprimerie et de librairie. pp. 1–46.

MONTEGUT, Emile (1860) « Portraits poétiques : Mme Desbordes-Valmore », Revue des Deux Mondes, Vol. 30, n°. 4. pp. 997–1016. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/44728016 > (consulté le 20 avril 2019)

POTEZ, Henri (1897) « La poésie de Marceline Desbordes-Valmore », Revue d’Histoire littéraire de la France, n° 4, pp. 481–523. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/40517691> (consulté le 20 juillet 2020)

RIVIERE, Benjamin (1896) Correspondance intime de Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, tome I. Paris : Alphonse Lemerre, Editeur. pp. 134–135.

ROGER-VASSELIN, Bruno (2004) « Louise Labé et l’écriture au féminin », L’information littéraire, Vol. 56, n°. 4, pp. 8–17. <https://www.cairn-int.info/revue-l-information-litteraire-2004-4-page-8.htm> (consulté le 3 novembre 2020)

SAINTE-BEUVE (1889) Portraits contemporains par C.-A. Sainte-Beuve. Paris : Calmann Lévy, Editeur. pp. 91–114.

SAINTE-BEUVE (1833) « Poètes et romancières modernes de la France. VII. Mme Desbordes-Valmore », Revue des Deux Mondes, DEUXIÈME SÉRIE, 3, n° 3. pp. 241–255. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/44688351> (cnsulté le 20 juillet 2020)



How to Cite

Fuchs Godec, K. (2020). A Whirlwind of Emotions in the Poetry of Marceline Desbordes-Valmore or the Poetisation of a Love Story. Journal for Foreign Languages, 12(1), 261–276. https://doi.org/10.4312/vestnik.12.261-276