The Impersonal Sublime: Hugo, Baudelaire
The question of the sublime, which links the idea of aesthetic force with rhetorical impact and moral law, has been an important topic in discussion of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art and the shift between them. This book argues that the sublime is equally important in understanding the shift from romanticism to modernism later in the century. The author studies the work of three French authors conventionally considered pivotal figures in the trajectory from romanticism to modernism: Hugo, father of romanticism; Baudelaire, precursor of symbolist modernism; and Lautreamont, hero of (post) modernism. She traces this literary-historical as Hugo's Quatre-vingt-treize and L'Homme qui rit, Baudelaire's Spleen de Paris and Petits poemes en prose, and Lautreamont's Chants de Maldoror and Poesies - all seen from a perspective of the aesthetics of the sublime. This perspective is developed through analyses of the treatises on the sublime by Longinus, Boileau, Burke, and Kant.
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addition aesthetic already appears associated Baudelaire Baudelaire's beauty becomes beginning Burke calls Chants de Maldoror concerning context contradiction crime critical Critique describes desire difference discourse double drama Ducasse effect emphasis enunciation essay evil exaggeration expression face figure force French function genius gives grotesque grotesque and sublime grounds Gwynplaine Hugo Hugo's human ideas identification imagination implies includes infinite interpretation judgment Kant Kantian kind L'Homme qui rit language Lautréamont limit literal literary Longinian Longinus Maldoror marks meaning metaphor moral narrative narrator nature novel opening operates opposition original pain Pascal play Poésies poetry posed positions precisely Preface presents principle production prose poem question reader reason refers relation repeats repetition representation reversal rhetorical seen sense Shakespeare signifies status structure sublime suggests symbol taste thing thyrsus tion transgression translation truth writes