Writers’ interest in Lavaux is linked to the contemporary tourism industry labelling Switzerland as a new fashionable destination. “La Nouvelle Héloïse” from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, which takes place near Lavaux, boasts about the beauty of the lake and vineyards. Albrecht de Haller, Isabelle de Charrière and Lord Byron would follow in his footsteps.
Bards and reviewers
In the 19th Century, the Dean Philippe-Sirice Bridel and Juste Olivier were the bards of this viticultural region. Bridel returned to the beginning of Lavaux to recount the first human traces from the individuals who lived there to the legends the area inspired. Olivier used lyrical prose to describe Lavaux and the harmony between the geography and man’s intervention.
This interpenetration of nature and man was to become the focal point of Charles Ferninand Ramuz’ work, particularly within “Passage du poète” (1923): “God began, then we came and we finished…God created the slope, but we gave it function, solidity and sustainability: would he still, therefore, recognise it, he wonders under his stone coat? […] It is no longer natural, only man-made […]. This is no longer a slope; it is a structure, a tower, a fortress”.
Charles-Albert Cingria, Paul Budry followed by Jean-Pierre Schlunegger, François Debluë, Claire Genoux and Jean-Luc Benoziglio would also choose Lavaux to frame of their literary works.
Source : MAGGETTI, Daniel, « Littérature », in Lavaux, Vignoble en terrasses face au lac et aux Alpes, Lavaux World Heritage Site Application File for UNESCO, Cully, January 2006, p. 30.