Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve

1804 (Boulogne-sur-Mer, France) – 1869 (Paris)

Sainte-Beuve met Hugo following a review he wrote while still studying, and through him met Vigny, Lamartine and other members of the Cénacle literary circle. He later became his friend Vigny’s sternest critic, coining the term ‘ivory tower’ to illustrate his condemnation, and lost Hugo’s friendship through an affair of sorts with his wife. He was close to Châteaubriand, corresponded with Mérimée, socialised with Flaubert, did Gautier’s daughter a favour, and knew Turgenev from before the Russian settled in Paris. Meeting Baudelaire (ever keen on the influential critic’s favour) on a brothel stairway, they decided they’d rather go away and talk.