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ADSactly Literature: Charles Baudelaire: foundational writer of modern lyrics (and III) by adsactly

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ADSactly Literature: Charles Baudelaire: foundational writer of modern lyrics (and III)
<center>https://i.imgur.com/X5sGrHE.jpg</center><center><sub>"The Death of Sardanapalo" (1827), by Eugène Delacroix, painter admired by Baudelaire [Source](https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eug%C3%A8ne_Delacroix#/media/File:Ferdinand-Victor-Eug%C3%A8ne_Delacroix,_French_-_The_Death_of_Sardanapalus_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg)</sub></center>

### <center>Charles Baudelaire: foundational writer of modern lyrics (and III)</center>

#
<div class="text-justify">

In [part II](https://steemit.com/literature/@adsactly/adsactly-literature-charles-baudelaire-foundational-writer-of-modern-lyrics-part-ii) of this work dedicated to the founder of modern lyrics, we announce that we would address four fundamental aspects of the conception of Baudelaire's literary work. We were able to advance one: **Analogy and irony. We will now present the remaining three, with which we will close our article.

### *Satanism and the ideal

This characteristic has been studied by several specialists in Baudelaire's work; one of them, Hugo Friedrich, approaches it with great acuity. Let's see. 

He emphasizes that in Baudelaire two opposite poles converge: the evil and the ideal; with the first the satanic is associated, and with the second, a Christianity in ruins, that would be characterized as void. These poles would become complementary. It is the coincidence of opposites that is present in the dissonant phrase (oxymoron, it is called in rhetoric) that titles his most famous book: **flowers of evil**. 

Baudelaire, in *My naked heart*, of the so-called *Intimate diaries*, published posthumously (1909), reflects: 

>In every man there are, at any moment, two simultaneous postulates, one toward God and the other toward Satan.
The invocation to God, or spirituality, is a desire to rise; that of Satan, or animality, is the joy of descent.

#
<center>https://i.imgur.com/F5SsRoO.jpg?3</center><center><sub>Satan descends upon Earth (Illustration by Gustave Doré of *The Lost Paradise* -1866- by John Milton) [Source](https://i.imgur.com/F5SsRoO.jpg?2)</sub></center>

#

Friedrich contributes the following ideas: 

>(...) Baudelaire's Satanism is the perfecting of the merely animal evil (and thus of triviality) by the evil conceived by the intelligence, in order to make the leap towards the ideal, thanks to that supreme degree of malignancy.

And later:

>Man (...) is driven upwards by a spiritual fever; but he is also essentially divided, *homo duplex*, and has to satisfy his satanic pole in order to find the way to his heavenly pole.

Baudelaire seems to turn evil into an independent force, which gives him his mood of abnormality. His scrutinizing thought of life and the world leads him to disturbing formulations for ordinary consciousness, such as that "in evil is found all voluptuousness. He allies this with cruelty, conceiving them as "identical sensations, like the extreme hot and the extreme cold." He even goes so far as to say that melancholy (**"spleen"**) and pain are "illustrious companions of Beauty".

#

<center>https://i.imgur.com/XMtmc3l.jpg?2</center><center><sub>"The Garden of Earthly Delights" Right panel - Hell (between 1504 and 1510), by Hieronymus Bosch [Source](https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hieronymus_Bosch,_Hell_(Garden_of_Earthly_Delights_tryptich,_right_panel).JPG)</sub></center>

#

Likewise, it is not possible to imagine Baudelaire without the imprint of Christianity; although he is no longer a Christian, his imprint is on his conscience, both by the general influence of society and by that of his individual life. Even the figure of Satan reveals it. Also in *Rockets* we find: "(...) the most perfect type of virile Beauty is Satan, -in the manner of Milton", alluding to the author of *The Paradise Lost*.

Regarding this aspect, we can refer to the poem that opens *The Flowers of Evil*, the "Epigraph for a condemned book":

>Peaceful and bucolic reader,
Naive and sober man of good,
Throw away this saturnian book,
Melancholic and orgiastic.

>If you did not follow your rhetoric
With Satan, the cunning dean,
Throw it away! You'll never understand.
Or you'll judge me hysterical.

>But safe spells,
Your gaze tempts the abyss,
Read me and you'll know how to love me;

>Curious soul that you suffer
And after you go to your paradise,
take pity on me!... or else I'll curse you!

#

<center>https://i.imgur.com/Ms2SOoW.jpg?2</center><center><sub>The Fall of Satan (Illustration by Gustave Doré of *The Lost Paradise* by John Milton) [Source](https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paradise_Lost_13.jpg)</sub></center>

#

We can observe that Satan appears as bearer or representation of a wisdom, expression of pain, and challenges the reader, object and subject of that abysmal experience that wants to transcend (in search of its paradise), that is to say, of the ideal.

The ideal is conceived in classical and Christian philosophy as transcendence towards the superior, ascension. There is a poem by *The Flowers of Evil* that already by its title places us in this aspect: "Elevation". Let us quote the two final stanzas:

>Beyond ennui, past troubles and ordeals
That load our dim existence with their weight, 
Happy the strong-winged man, who makes the great 
Leap upward to the bright and peaceful fields! 

>The man whose thoughts, like larks, take to their wings 
Each morning, freely speeding through the air, 
-Who soars above this life, interpreter 
Of flowers' speech, the voice of silent things!

#
<center>https://i.imgur.com/5y7vpYD.jpg?3</center><center><sub>"Spleen and ideal" (1907), by Charles Schwabe [Source](https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spleen_et_ideal.jpg)</sub></center>

#

In Baudelaire, however, the elevation does not seem to reach its end, since it is an empty ideal. This also implies a downward tension, hence the abyss ("le gouffre"). We can read in *My heart to the naked* (of his *Intimate journals*):
 
> Morally as physically, I have always had the sensation of the gulf, not only of the gulf of sleep, but the gulf of action, of revery, of memory, of desire, of regret, of remorse, of beauty, etc.

At the summit of the ideal is the concept of death. Thus, he writes it in the beautiful poem "The Journey", which closes his book [*The Flowers of Evil*](http://www.gutenberg.org/files/47032/47032-h/47032-h.htm#THE_FLOWERS_OF_EVIL). As it is a little long, we will ciaremos only three very expressive stanzas:

>How bitter, what we learn from voyaging! 
The small and tedious world gives us to see 
Now, always, the real horror of the thing, 
Ourselves-that sad oasis in ennui!

(…)
#
<center>https://i.imgur.com/aoaur3E.jpg?3</center><center><sub>"The musings of the solitary walker" (1926), by René Magritte [Source](https://www.wikiart.org/es/rene-magritte/the-musings-of-the-solitary-walker-1926)</sub></center>

#

>O Death, old captain, time to make our trip! 
This country bores us, Death! Let's get away! 
Even if sky and sea are black as pitch 
You know our hearts are full of sunny rays! 

>Serve us your poison, sir, to treat us well! 
Minds burning, we know what we have to do, 
And plunge to depths of Heaven or of Hell, 
To fathom the Unknown, and find the new!
  
In the poem all attempts at evasion lead to death, which saves him because it leads to the "new", which is the indeterminate, the void. It is a tension without solution, a mystery without object, absolute. 

The two poles serve to keep awake that excitement that makes possible the escape from the world of triviality, of boredom. When one appreciates the rigor of the spiritual world and the intensity of Baudelaire's vision, one can understand that his purpose was to intensify his internal division.


### *The prose poem and the city

#
<center>https://i.imgur.com/QhzBeZp.jpg?2</center><center><sub>Cover of an edition of *The Spleen de Paris* in English [Source](https://www.mightyape.co.nz/product/paris-spleen-paperback/19865613)</sub></center>

#

As we pointed out in previous posts, Baudelaire is the great promoter of this renewing modality of poetry, the **poem in prose**. Influenced by his repeated reading of the book *Gaspard of the night* by Aloysius Bertrand, he wrote another of his important works:  [**The Spleen of Paris**](https://books.google.co.ve/books?id=15craP5h4O4C&pg=PR5&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false), with the subtitle *Small poems in prose*. In his presentation we find an indirect way to characterize that poetic form:

>Who of us has not dreamed, in moments of ambition, of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical without rhyme, subtle and staccato enough to follow the lyric motions of the soul, the wavering outlines of meditation, the sudden starts of the conscience?

The great object of his book will be the modern city, which becomes a fascinating source for Baudelaire; its misery, degradation, artificiality, its evil, give off a radiance, function as a mystery. Thus he points out in the preface quoted: "It is from the frequentation of enormous cities, from the encounter of their innumerable relationships, that this obsessive ideal is born". With this, too, Baudelaire inaugurated a relevant path for the coming poetry.

#
<center>https://i.imgur.com/WH8RDxj.jpg?2</center><center><sub>Streets of Paris  [Source](https://erasmusu.com/es/erasmus-montpellier/experiencias-erasmus/un-flaneur-a-montpellier-631821)</sub></center>

#

And to do so, he turns to a figure of great relevance to his vision and experience: the walker ("flâneur"), the walker who wanders aimlessly through the streets of the city and watches attentively. Let's see what he says in *The painter of modern life*: 

>(...) to see the world, to be the center of the world and to remain hidden from the world, such are some of the least pleasures of those independent, passionate, impartial spirits, that language can only define clumsily. The observer is a *prince* who enjoys being incognito everywhere. The lover of life makes the world his family (...)

Inspired by the artist Constantin Guys, it enhances this attractive figure. From the poem "The crowds" in the aforementioned book, we will quote some fragments: 

#
<center>https://i.imgur.com/ruxVnAx.jpg?2</center><center><sub>Street of Paris, rainy day (1877), by Gustave Caillebotte [Source](https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fl%C3%A2neur#/media/File:Gustave_Caillebotte_-_Jour_de_pluie_%C3%A0_Paris.jpg)</sub></center>

#

>It is not given to every man to take a bath of multitude: to play upon crowds is an art; and he alone can plunge, at the expense of humankind, into a debauch of vitality, to whom a fairy has been bequeathed in his cradle the love of masks and disguises, the hate of home and the passion of travel.

>Multitude, solitude: equal terms mutually convertible by the active and begetting poet. He who does not know how to people his solitude, does not know either how to be alone in a busy crowd.
>The poet enjoys this incomparable privilege, to be at once himself and others (...)
>The solitary and thoughtful walker derives a singular intoxication from this universal communion.


Let us take advantage of the point to emphasize - since we will not be able to deal with it extensively - that the reflection on the process and the aesthetic and poetic act has in Baudelaire one of its main initiators. It can be said that, in his poetry as well as in his essays and artistic criticism (such as the one dedicated to Delacroix), a large part of the aesthetic consciousness of modernity was delineated, converted into a theory of self-reflexivity or metafiction.



### *Dissonance with modernity

#
<center>https://i.imgur.com/SUn9xBu.jpg?2</center><center><sub>"Collins St., 5 pm" (1955), by John Brack [Source](https://historia-arte.com/obras/brack-collins-st-5-pm)</sub></center>

#

Baudelaire's relationship with modernity is contradictory, ambivalent, and even, in some respects, divergent. If modernity (which he has baptized and delineated) vivifies beauty, it is what makes it possible from its transience and contingency, it is also the mark of death, as Peace states. 

His critique of Progress manifests this nonconformity. In several of his texts we will find it. For example, in his article on the 1855 Universal Exhibition of Fine Arts, we read:

>Also very fashionable is a mistake that I want to avoid like hell: me
I'm talking about the idea of progress. That dark beacon, invention of current philosophy,
patented without guarantee in the name of nature or the Divinity, that lantern
rnoderna throws darkness over all objects of knowledge; freedom
it vanishes, the punishment disappears. Whoever wants to see history clearly must,
first of all, turn off that perfidious beacon.

The new will not have in Baudelaire that absolute value that the modern gives it; there is no idolatry to the new in it, but rather a melancholic and desperate sense, as Compagnon notes. 


### *Baudelaire by himself

#
<center>https://i.imgur.com/e4Fra8Z.jpg?1</center><center><sub>Charles Baudelaire by Nadar [Source](https://www.inquisitr.com/5150218/the-1845-suicide-letter-of-french-poet-charles-baudelaire-has-just-sold-for-267000-at-auction/)</sub></center>

#

Finally, we can take a look at what Baudelaire says about himself in *Rockets* and *My Naked Heart*, where he presents self-reflexive thoughts, which are a sample of how he thought, in the midst of those tensions that marked him, his inner split, his melancholy and his hedonism.

>As for me, who sometimes feel in me the ridicule of a prophet (…). Lost in this vile world, jostled by the crowds, I am as a tired man who sees behind him, in the depths of the years, only disillusion and bitterness and ahead, only a storm that carries nothing new, neither knowledge nor grief. The evening that man Stole from fate a few hours of pleasure, cradled in his digestion, forgetful—as far as possible—of the past, content with the present and resigned to the future, intoxicated with his sangfroid and his dandyism, proud of being less base than those who passed (…)

>Feeling of solitude, from my childhood. Despite my family, and in the midst of my comrades above all,—feeling of an eternally solitary destiny.
Withal, an intense desire for life and for pleasure.

### Bibliographic references

Balakian, Anna (1969) *The Symbolist Movement*, Spain: Eidt. Guadarrama.
Baudelaire, Charles (1973). *The Flowers of Evil / Artificial Paradises / The Spleen of Paris*. Spain: Edit. Bruguera.
Baudelaire, Charles (1979). *Complete poetry* (7th edition). Spain: Libros Río Nuevo.
Baudelaire, Charles (1999). *Salons and other writings on art* (2nd edition). Spain: Edit. Visor.
Baudelaire, Charles (2008). *Intimate diaries*. Venezuela: Edit. The dog and the frog.
Compagnon, Antoine (1993). *The five paradoxes of modernity*. Venezuela: Monte Ávila. 
Friedrich, Hugo (1974). *Structure of modern lyrics*. Spain: Edit. Seix Barral.
Todó, Lluís (1987). *The Symbolism*. Spain: Edit. Montesinos.
Paz, Octavio (1985). *The sons of the limo*. Colombia: Edit. The Black Sheep.


#### Note: You can access English, Spanish or French versions of poems from Baudelaire's work in the following links: [1](http://www.gutenberg.org/files/47032/47032-h/47032-h.htm) and [2](http://www.baudelaire.cz/works.html?aID=200).

### Written by @josemalavem





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@aurodivys ·
$0.39
Excellent publication to finish the series that brought us closer to Charles Baudelaire and his work. A man whose life was not the most peaceful; a rebel with a lot of sensitivity. A bold and daring poet for his time, whose poetic work transcended through time, making him a classic of universal literature.
Grateful for these extraordinary publications, @josemalavem. 
Thanks to @adsactly for the dissemination of quality content.
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@josemalavem ·
Always grateful for your reading and comment, @aurodivys. Baudelaire was a man of hard life and daring, it is true, but of a special sensitivity. His importance goes beyond the quality of his poetic work. He is definitely the founder of modern poetry; from him poetry began to be and to be made in another way. Greetings.
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@nancybriti ·
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I read Baudelaire's poems and I can't see how immoral and provocative they are. Yes, the words of a man who was fascinated by the beauty in evil, the grotesque: to see beauty in rugged subjects. Perhaps the twisting to the society of the time some of its weaknesses and false, and putting some characters in the center of the poem, made him win destroyers and enemies. This post is very well and beautifully illustrated. You close this series of Baudelaire and you have been perfect, @josemalaven. Thank you for sharing.
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@josemalavem ·
$0.39
I appreciate your always attentive reading of my posts, @nancybriti. It is hard to understand from our epochal and cultural situation the censorship and denial to which Baudelaire's poetry was subjected in his time by certain persons, who, in addition to a fine, forced him to eliminate some poems (which were published in later editions of *The Flowers of Evil*). Already a poem like *A Carrion* is a boldness for the time. Baudelaire's positions are not at all timorous, as when we read what he says to those who judge him (now I don't have the time to quote). His very life was considered "immoral" (his consumption of hashish and opium, his public relationship with prostitutes, etc.). Baudelaire was for many of his time a sort of contemporary incarnation of Satan, even though he was a man of a profound human condition. Greetings.
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root_title"ADSactly Literature: Charles Baudelaire: foundational writer of modern lyrics (and III)"
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