Alfred de Vigny was born into an aristocratic military family in Loches, Indre-et-Loire, France on March 27, 1797. As a result of the French Revolution, the family’s circumstances had changed considerably. When King Louis XVIII took power in 1814, de Vigny joined the army. Although he at first planned on a military career, he began to write poetry. While serving in the military he had several poems published, noted for there stoical despair and pessimistic views.
After resigning his commission in 1827, he moved to Paris where he devoted himself to writing. When an English theater troupe visited Paris in 1827 with a Shakespearean production, de Vigny became interested in the stage. In 1831, he presented his first original play, "La Maréchale d’Ancre," a historical drama recounting the events leading up to the reign of King Louis XIII.
In 1835, he produced a drama titled "Chatterton," which is considered to be one of the best of the French romantic dramas. It made de Vigny famous and for a while, he was seen as Victor Hugo's literary rival.
Although Alfred de Vigny gained success as a writer, he experienced several personal setbacks. The Académie française rejected his application for membership five times and for several years he became a near recluse until the Académie finally accepted him almost twenty five years after his first poems were published and ten years after the publication of "Chatterton."
Several of his works were published posthumously.