Baudelaire's Le Spleen de Paris: Shifting Perspectives

1st Edition

Maria C. Scott

Published June 10, 2019
Reference - 246 Pages
ISBN 9781138379046 - CAT# K398224
Series: Studies in European Cultural Transition

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Maria Scott's study of the operation of irony in Baudelaire's Le Spleen de Paris contends that the principal target of the collection's spleen is its own readership. Baudelaire, as one of the most perceptive cultural commentators of the nineteenth century, was naturally very keenly aware of the growing dominance of the bourgeoisie in France, not least as a market for art and literature. Despite being dependent on this market for his own writing, the poet was highly critical of bourgeois values and attitudes. Scott builds on existing criticism of the collection to argue that these are indirectly mocked in Le Spleen de Paris, often in the person of the poet's supposed textual alter ego. The contention is that the prose poems betray the trust of readers by way of an apparent transparency of meaning that functions to blind us to their embedded irony. Though focused on Le Spleen de Paris, Scott's study engages with the full range of Baudelaire's writings, including his art and literary criticism. Her book will be of interest not only to Baudelaire scholars but also to those engaged more generally with nineteenth-century French culture.

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