An Atmospherics of the City: Baudelaire and the Poetics of by Ross Chambers

By Ross Chambers

What occurs to poetic attractiveness while historical past turns the poet from person who contemplates average attractiveness and the elegant to 1 who makes an attempt to reconcile the perform of paintings with the hustle and noise of the city?

An Atmospherics of the town lines Charles Baudelaire's evolution from a author who practices a kind of fetishizing aesthetics during which poetry works to decorate the standard to 1 who perceives history noise and disorder-the city's model of a transcendent atmosphere-as proof of the malign paintings of a transcendent god of time, historical past, and supreme destruction.

Analyzing this shift, relatively as evidenced in Tableaux parisiens and Le Spleen de Paris, Ross Chambers exhibits how Baudelaire's disenchantment with the politics of his day and the coincident upward push of overpopulation, poverty, and Haussmann's modernization of Paris prompted the poet's paintings to conceive a poetry of allegory, one with the facility to alert and disalienate its differently inattentive reader whose senses have lengthy been dulled by way of the din of his environment.

Providing a totally new and unique figuring out of either Baudelaire's ethics and his aesthetics, Chambers unearths how the shift from subject matters of the supernatural in Baudelaire to ones of alienation allowed a brand new method for him to articulate and for his fellow Parisians to appreciate the quickly altering stipulations of town and, within the strategy, to invent a "modern beauty" from the area of discomfort and the abject as they embodied different types of city event.

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Additional resources for An Atmospherics of the City: Baudelaire and the Poetics of Noise (Verbal Arts)

Sample text

But if, like rivers, streets make manifest the noisy process of passingby that is the movement of duration, they differ from rivers in that, as sites of human life, they are also places where sometimes, out of the flux of process, an can emerge. History can happen in the streets, whether it be in the form of the poet’s strange encounters with spectral old men, stray swans, or elegant widows whose glance strikes like a hurricane—encounters that can lastingly change an individual’s existence—or of the collective political uprisings whose memory still remains associated, in French, with the very word and the street’s riotous, surging crowds: events that change the life of a society, and in Baudelaire’s eyes, rarely if ever do so for the better.

History can happen in the streets, whether it be in the form of the poet’s strange encounters with spectral old men, stray swans, or elegant widows whose glance strikes like a hurricane—encounters that can lastingly change an individual’s existence—or of the collective political uprisings whose memory still remains associated, in French, with the very word and the street’s riotous, surging crowds: events that change the life of a society, and in Baudelaire’s eyes, rarely if ever do so for the better.

If, as Heraclitus famously put it, no one steps twice into the same river, the same is true of streets, those noisy urbanized channels and arteries that are sites of pedestrian flow and vehicular chaos, and where also the city’s atmosphere—readable in the eyes of the poor and the litter of seedy humanity with whom Baudelaire associates the poet and the work of poetry— becomes palpable in the electric energy of the crowd. But if, like rivers, streets make manifest the noisy process of passingby that is the movement of duration, they differ from rivers in that, as sites of human life, they are also places where sometimes, out of the flux of process, an can emerge.

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