Conseil de lecture: Lisez d'abord les deux poèmes de Baudelaire, "Au Lecteur" et "Bénédiction" (pp.183-184 et 189-191, Godine edition; at the start of all other editions), et notez vos impressions quant à la forme poétique employée, quant aux images et thèmes qui dominent, selon vous. Puis, procédez à la lecture de Porter (n'oubliez pas que Porter présente une lecture, mais pas la seule lecture possible de Baudelaire).
I. L. Porter, The Crisis of French Symbolism, ch. 4 (pp.113-167)
1. (pp.113-116) How does Porter's theoretical framework help him view Baudelaire's work in an original way? What is important for Porter in examining Baudelaire's "fictive audiences"? For Porter, what makes Baudelaire's poetry interesting and also Symbolist?
2. (pp.116-119) How does Porter characterize Baudelaire's impulse for writing, and how does this provide an organizational structure for understanding Baudelaire's career? How does Baudelaire's early optimism translate into his literary production and political expression?
3. (pp.119-122) What is the importance of Baudelaire's use of the "alimentory metaphor," and how does this trait manifest itself in Baudelaire's works? What shifts does Porter trace in Baudelaire's perspective from 1846-1851, particularly in the poem "Le Guignon"?
4. (pp.122-124, 126-131) How does Porter characterize the writings during Baudelaire's "Symbolist crisis"? Why is the elegy such an appropriate form of expression for Baudelaire, and how does he modify this form? [124-126 Role of Sainte-Beuve] What are some of Baudelaire's strategies to establish contact with a virtual audience? Why is the use of "O" so important? What is the function of the imperative? What three phases of bereavement does Porter identify? To what forms of loss do Baudelaire's elegies respond, and how are Baudelaire's elegies distinctive vis-à-vis his precursors? What is the situation of Baudelaire's lyric self in the elegy?
5. (pp.131-139) What are some facet of Baudelaire's psychosocial development that Porter identifies? What are economic ramifications of this development? How did Baudelaire live a contradiction regarding his search for acceptance? What importance does Porter attribute to childhood regression in Baudelaire's art?
6. (pp.139-147) How does Porter assess Baudelaire's expressions of self-sufficiency, and how are these manifested in relation to the "loved woman"? What role does self-imposed frustration play in this poetic expression, and why does Porter single out "A une passante" as a particular example? Do you accept all the premises on which this analysis is based (consider why or why not)?
7. (pp.148-159) How does Porter situate "Harmonie du soir" and the Marie Daubrun cycle into this psychodynamic development of Baudelaire's poetry? Does Baudelaire's lyric self ever achieve peace, according to Porter, and why can't this be sustained? What forms of destruction does Porter suggest are manifested, and how does Porter explain the manifestations of rage? What is the crucial role played by "breasts" in this configuration, and how do these relate to the symbolic function of the "seductive woman," the vampire, and the "gouffre"?
8. (pp.160-167): What is the particular importance of the Spleen poems, and why does Baudelaire's poetry require the silence of the Other? What form of delicate equilibrium does this economy take between the poet and the Other? What role does self-love play in this process, and what textual examples and various forms of self-love does Porter identify? Why does Porter conclude thatBaudelaire's lyric self "remains in limbo, misunderstood and unloved" (167)?
II. Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, "Au Lecteur" et "Bénédiction"
(pp.183-184 et 189-191, Godine edition; at the start of all other editions)
A la lumière des pages que nous aurons lues de Porter,
quels éléments de l'analyse de ce premier poème
est-ce que vous trouvez importants? En dehors des termes que propose
Porter, comment pourrions-nous situer l'importance de ce premier
poème. Considérons aussi celui qui suit "Au
Lecteur," "Bénédiction," d'une part
pour les éléments que l'analyse de Porter nous suggère,
et d'autre part, pour notre propre compréhension de ce
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