Musset began his novel in the summer of 1835, hastily dealing with other literary orders, and in February 1836 the novel was already published. This shows that Musset, as the author of poems, plays and novels that came out from under his pen one after another, was very prolific, and how quickly he was printed in France. Like Balzac, Hugo, and George Sand, Musset, despite his habits of a free lifestyle, had an amazing power of imagination and great efficiency.
Musset’s “Confession of the Son of the Century” really became a kind of altar erected in memory of his relationship with George Sand, however, not only about her. The first part of the novel is the life of Musset before his meeting with George Sand. His literary hero Octave leads a bohemian lifestyle. He is the “son of the century”, one of those who remembers the glory of Napoleon, lost in the past.
Disillusionment with politics makes him look like Julien Sorel from Stendhal’s Red and Black, but this is perhaps the only thing that brings them closer: Julien lacks Octave’s noble birth, and Octave lacks Julien’s iron will. Octave becomes a victim of a frivolous mistress who cheated on him with his best friend. Since then, Octave has been subject to bouts of uncontrollable cynicism, then bouts of crushing jealousy. Octave Dejean’s friend, trying to cure him of despair, inspires him with an aversion to love.
His anti-romantic sermon at the beginning of the book takes us back to the XVIII century, to Versace from “Delusions of the Heart and Mind”, to Valmont from “Dangerous Connections”, coinciding with the pessimistic views on love of the philosopher Schopenhauer. Dejene scolds Octave for believing in love, “as novelists and poets describe it.” To strive for perfect love in real life is madness. It is necessary to accept love as it is, whether it is the love of a treacherous courtesan or a devoted philistine. If you are loved, then “what do you care about everything else”. For a while Octave tries to follow his instructions, but, in the end, these sermons do not add to his joy of life.