Baudelaire and Caricature: From the Comic to an Art of Modernity / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $74.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 12%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (9) from $74.99   
  • New (3) from $112.56   
  • Used (6) from $74.99   


Baudelaire's essays on caricature offered the first sustained defense of the value of caricature as a serious art, worthy of study in its own right. This book argues for the crucial importance of the essays for his conception of modernity, so fundamental to the subsequent history of modernism. From the theory of the comic formulated in De l'essence du rire to his discussions of Daumier, Goya, Hogarth, Cruikshank, Bruegel, Grandville, Gavarni, Charlet, and many others, Baudelaire develops not only an aesthetic of caricature but also a caricatural aesthetic—dual and contradictory, grotesque, ironic, violent, farcical, fantastic, and fleeting—that defines an art of modern life.

In particular, Baudelaire's insistence on the dualism and ambiguity of laughter has radical implications for such emblems of modernity as the city and the flâneur who roams the streets. The modern city is the space of the comic, a kind of caricature, presenting the flâneur with an image of dualism, one's position as subject and object, implicated in the same urban experiences one seems to control. The theory of the comic invests the idea of modernity with reciprocity, one's status as laughter and object of laughter, thus preventing the subjective construction and appropriation of the world that has so often been linked with the project of modernism. Comic art reflects what Walter Benjamin later defined as Baudelairean allegory, at once representing and revealing the alienation of modern experience. But Baudelaire also transforms the dualism of the comic into a peculiarly modern unity— the doubling of the comic artist enacted for the benefit of the audience, the self-generating and self-reflexive experience of the flâneur in a "communion" with the crowd. This study examines his views in the context of the history of comic theory and contemporary accounts of the individual artists. Complete with illustrations of the many works discussed, it illuminates the history and theory of caricature, the comic, and the grotesque, and adds to our understanding of modernism in literature and the visual arts.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Baudelaire's 1821-1867 three essays on caricature offered the first sustained defense of the value of caricature as a serious art, worthy of study in its own right. Hannoosh argues for the crucial importance of the essays for Baudelaire's conception of modernity, so fundamental to the subsequent history of modernism. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271008042
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1992
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Michele Hannoosh is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Davis. She has been a Fellow of the Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Columbia University, and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. She is the author of Parody and Decadence: Laforgue's "Moralites legendaires" (Ohio State, 1989).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction 1
1 Baudelaire's Theory of the Comic: De l'essence du rire 9
The Scope of the Comic 11
Le rire est satanique, il est donc profondement humain 15
The Theory of Superiority 26
Knowledge, Civilization, and the Comic 32
The Types of the Comic 38
Examples and Exempla 45
The Paradox of the Comic Artist 68
2 Quelques caricaturistes francais 75
Vernet, Pigal, and Charlet 84
Daumier 113
Monnier, Grandville, and Gavarni 152
Trimolet and Travies 181
3 Quelques caricaturistes etrangers 191
Hogarth, Seymour, and Cruikshank 193
Goya 210
Leonardo and Pinelli 224
Bruegel 235
Pieces retrouvees: Hood and Rethel 240
4 The Comic and Modernity 251
The Salon de 1846 255
The Dualism of Art 261
The Dualism of Man 268
Cosmopolitanism and Dedoublement 288
An Art of the City 299
Conclusion 309
Selected Bibliography 317
Index 335
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)