Poetics en passant provides a cross-Channel poetics to redefine the connection among Victorian and glossy poetry. studying Charles Baudelaire with—and against—Christina Rossetti, Jamison is helping readers re-think the connection of nineteenth-century poetry to modernity. A wealthy re-assessment of poetic intersections emerges from this serious juxtaposition and exhibits how questions of gender, social and fabric context, position and poetic praxis spur debate and upend long-standing serious assumptions.
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Additional info for Poetics en passant: Redefining the Relationship between Victorian and Modern Poetry (Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters)
7 The irony implicit in the generic title underscores the kind of polar duality that Baudelaire everywhere inscribed into his writings. Tzvetan Todorov identifies “three different forms or figures the exploration of duality takes on” in the prose poems. com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromso - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-14 20 OF TH I S VE R S E 21 underscored by Baudelaire’s overt obsession with the double, naturally focuses critical attention on relations between the two genres of poetry Baudelaire wrote: the verse for which he is best known gets paired with the other genre that proclaims itself as poetry.
Baudelaire In his “Exposition Universelle de 1855,” Baudelaire gives his most radical presentation of an aesthetics that not only allows but valorizes transgression—not only of accepted norms established by academic convention, but of a more wide-ranging and elemental scope. It is not a position he will maintain with consistency throughout the remainder of his career. As late as 1859 he writes, in direct contradiction to this 1855 stance, that “les rhétoriques et les prosodies ne sont pas des tyrannies inventés arbitrairement, mais une collection de règles réclamés par l’organisation même de l’être spirituel”11 (“rhetorics and prosodies are not arbitrarily invented tyrannies, but a collection of rules required by the very organization of spiritual existence”).
Perhaps drawing on and revising Hugo’s geographic and cartographic rhetoric, Baudelaire here figures aesthetic experience as a visual confrontation between cultures. Far from denying the existence of a boundary between these cultures, however, Baudelaire’s critical project seems to rely upon it. The importance of the foreign culture lies in its difference, and the articulation of that difference is of great importance. The critical process appears as an invasion—a transformation of a kind, but one that occurs “par un phénomène de la volonté agissant sur l’imagination” (by a phenomenon of the will acting on the imagination) by which the critic must learn “de lui-même à participer au milieu qui a donné naissance à cette floraison insolite”21 (of his own accord to participate in the milieu that gave birth to this unusual flowering).