Just as vigorously opposed to capitalism, wage labor/slavery, and worker exploitation were a seemingly quite different crowd of Autotelics: French aesthetes and dandies like Théophile Gautier and Gérard de Nerval. As the literary critic Gene H. Bell-Villada has argued, the idea of l’art pour l’art was particularly attractive to French writers.
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend, the mentally ill poet. Émile Nelligan, age 20 in First published at this French-Canadian poet suffered a mental breakdown the same year this photograph was taken. He never recovered.