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Alfred Victor, Comte de Vigny (1797 - 1863) was a French poet and early leader of French Romanticism. He also produced novels, plays and translations of Shakespeare. As an army officer with conservative and royalist views, Vigny differed sharply from most other French Romantics. Although Vigny gained success as a writer, his personal life was not happy. His marriage was a disappointment; his relationship with Marie Dorval was plagued by jealousy and his literary talent was eclipsed by the achievements of others. He grew embittered. After the death of his mother in 1838 he inherited the property of Maine-Giraud, near Angoulême, where it was said that he had withdrawn to his 'ivory tower' (an expression Sainte-Beuve coined with reference to Vigny).
Alfred de Vigny has endured extraordinary vicissitudes in France. First he was lauded as the precursor of French romantic poetry and stately prose; then he sank in semi-oblivion, became the curiosity of criticism, died in retirement, and was neglected until the end of the 19th century. The genius of Alfred de Vigny now takes, for the first time, its proper place as one of the main illuminating forces of the nineteenth century.