Chapter

Childhood and Youth: The Formation of an Intellectual and Aesthete

Judith Chazin-Bennahum

in René Blum and the Ballets Russes

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780195399332
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897025 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195399332.003.0001
Childhood and Youth: The Formation of an Intellectual and Aesthete

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This chapter sets the stage by informing the reader about Blum’s family and friends, their influence on his life, his education, and his development as a critic and writer. His older brother Léon was an editor for the journal Revue Blanche and René spent hours in that publication’s offices with Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, André Gide, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Paul Valéry. La Belle Époque featured the Dreyfus affair, and Blum’s brother Léon, as well as their close friends such as Marcel Proust, all sought to vindicate Dreyfus and prove his innocence. René was twenty years old in 1898 when Dreyfus was retried by the French military. The chapter also emphasizes that Blum was courted by some of the most influential socialites of his time, attending the salons of Mesdames de Caillavet and Geneviève Straus, widow of Georges Bizet, and frequenting the home of Robert de Montesquiou, a flamboyant poet and colorful character.

Keywords: Third Republic; Dreyfus Affair; anti-Semitism; La Belle Époque; French education; Revue Blanche; Literary Salons; Madame Straus; Robert de Montesquiou; André Gide

Chapter.  8527 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Dance

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