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Like all arts, literature evolves: a cyclical evolution with strictly determined
turns which become complicated by various modifications brought about by the
march of time and the upheavals of surroundings. It would be superfluous to
point out that each new evolutionary phase of art corresponds exactly to senile decrepitude,
to the inevitable end of the immediately previous school.
Two examples will suffice: Ronsard
triumphed over the impotence of the last imitators of Marot, Romanticism spread its
banners over the Classical debris that was poorly guarded by Casimir Delavigne and Etienne
de Jouy. It is that every manifestation of art fatally manages to impoverish itself, to exhaust
itself; then, from copy to copy, from imitation to imitation, what was once full of sap and
freshness dries out and shrivels up; what was the new and spontaneous becomes the
conventional and the cliche.