Grotesque Figures: Baudelaire, Rousseau, and the Aesthetics of Modernity

Overview

Charles Baudelaire is usually read as a paradigmatically modern poet, whose work ushered in a new era of French literature. But the common emphasis on his use of new forms and styles overlooks the complex role of the past in his work. In Grotesque Figures, Virginia E. Swain explores how the specter of the eighteenth century made itself felt in Baudelaire's modern poetry in the pervasive textual and figural presence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Not only do Rousseau's ideas inform Baudelaire's theory of the grotesque,...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $35.00   
  • New (4) from $38.80   
  • Used (2) from $35.00   
Sending request ...

Overview

Charles Baudelaire is usually read as a paradigmatically modern poet, whose work ushered in a new era of French literature. But the common emphasis on his use of new forms and styles overlooks the complex role of the past in his work. In Grotesque Figures, Virginia E. Swain explores how the specter of the eighteenth century made itself felt in Baudelaire's modern poetry in the pervasive textual and figural presence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Not only do Rousseau's ideas inform Baudelaire's theory of the grotesque, but Rousseau makes numerous appearances in Baudelaire's poetry as a caricature or type representing the hold of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution over Baudelaire and his contemporaries. As a character in "Le Poème du hashisch" and the Petits Poèmes en prose, "Rousseau" gives the grotesque a human form.

Swain's literary, cultural, and historical analysis deepens our understanding of Baudelaire and of nineteenth-century aesthetics by relating Baudelaire's poetic theory and practice to Enlightenment debates about allegory and the grotesque in the arts. Offering a novel reading of Baudelaire's ambivalent engagement with the eighteenth-century, Grotesque Figures examines nineteenth-century ideological debates over French identity, Rousseau's political and artistic legacy, the aesthetic and political significance of the rococo, and the presence of the grotesque in the modern.

Johns Hopkins University Press

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Scriblerian - Elisabeth Heard

This well argued text on pantomime offers a fascinating investigation of a subgenre of British theater.

L'Esprit Créateur - Patricia A. Ward

A fresh context for looking at Baudelaire.

Journal of Modern History - Johnson Kent Wright

Swain's wonderful explication of 'La Corde' alone is worth the price of the book.

Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association - Tammy Berberi

Her comparative analysis of Rousseau's writings and Baudelaire's prose poems are often breathtakingly original, themselves extraordinary hybrids of the social, the historical, the political, and the poetic.

South Atlantic Review - Thomas Cooksey

Swain's reading of Baudelaire's reception of Rousseau is provocative and stimulating.

French Forum

Grotesque Figures is an important work that rethinks the boundary between eighteenth and nineteenth century studies, offering nuanced interpretations of Rousseau, Baudelaire, and the modernity they represent.

Scriblerian
This well argued text on pantomime offers a fascinating investigation of a subgenre of British theater.

— Elisabeth Heard

Journal of Modern History
Swain's wonderful explication of 'La Corde' alone is worth the price of the book.

— Johnson Kent Wright

Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association
Her comparative analysis of Rousseau's writings and Baudelaire's prose poems are often breathtakingly original, themselves extraordinary hybrids of the social, the historical, the political, and the poetic.

— Tammy Berberi

South Atlantic Review
Swain's reading of Baudelaire's reception of Rousseau is provocative and stimulating.

— Thomas Cooksey

L'Esprit Createur
A fresh context for looking at Baudelaire.

— Patricia A. Ward

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Virginia E. Swain is professor of French at Dartmouth College.

Johns Hopkins University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 The grotesque : definitions and figures 9
2 Rococo rhetoric : figures of the past in "Le Poeme du hachisch" 26
3 Identity politics : "Rousseau" and "France" in the mid-nineteenth century 58
4 Baudelaire's Physiologie : Rousseau as caricature and type in the prose poems 75
5 Machines, monsters, and men : realism and the modern grotesque 107
6 The sociopolitical implications of the grotesque : "Opera" and "Les Yeux des pauvres" 139
7 Rousseau, trauma, and fetishism : "Le Vieux Saltimbanque" 167
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 BN.com 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

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com 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 BN.com. 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)