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The Flowers of Evil: Tableaux Parisiens
Transcript of The Flowers of Evil: Tableaux Parisiens
The Flowers of Evil: Tableaux Parisiens
Baudelaire's Tableaux Parisiens deals with the complexities of a modernized Paris, and the disillusion Baudelaire associates with it, through the structure of the cycle of a day, starting with Le Soleil and ending with Le Crépuscule du Matin; issues of alienation, a loss of innocence and familiarity, and the various forms of love and sexuality, set up the canvas that Baudelaire utilizes to convey his estrangement and rejection of new Paris.
Themes, Concepts, and Literary Strategies
Loss, estrangement, displacement
Various forms of love
Alienation from surroundings
Romanticizing the past
Imagery (natural, religious, sexual, etc.)
Juxtaposition of antiquity and modernity
Questions for Class Discussion
Which poem in Tableaux Parisennes do you think best characterizes 19th century Paris?
How can Tableaux Parisennes be tied in with ideals of the Enlightenment that we've previously discussed?
How does Baudelaire integrate the metamorphosis of Paris with his insinuations to sex, in order to create a sense of disillusion and discontent with the renovation of his birthplace?
Overall, does Tableaux Parisennes convey a sense of optimism and hope or a sense of pessimism and sorrow? Explain.
If put in a modern-day context, what issues would Baudelaire have discussed?
by Charles Baudelaire
19th Century Paris
Period of transition towards modernity
Redesigned the architecture and structure of Paris
Streets widened, building regulations, consideration of public parks, sewers, city facilities, and monuments
Improved the quality of life in Paris
Gave Paris its present-day structure organization
Second French Colonial Empire: France invaded Algeria in 1830
Second Empire (1852-1870)
Ruled by Napoleon Bonaparte III in a Constitutional Monarchy
Influence on urban Paris still relevant to this day
Era of Modernity, Imperialism, and Industrialism
Transformation perceived as destruction
France becomes a world power
Colonizing other nations similar to class struggles in Pre-Revolutionary France
Baudelaire as an Enlightened poet
not passive about current issues of the day
Poem: À une Mendiante rousse (To a Red-Headed Begger Girl)
“Pale girl with russet hair,
Tatters in what you wear
Show us your
And your beauty
For me, poor poet, in
Poem: Le Cygne (The Swan)
Uses imagery of nature and religion
Image of swan out of place
Juxtaposes fancy image of “white array of feathers” next to “dried out ditch”
Swans are associated with beauty, antiquity, and angelic qualities
The swan represents feeling of estrangement
Symbolic of a Frenchman displaced by his country
“A swan who had escaped from his captivity,
And scuffing his splayed feet along the paving stones,
white array of feathers
in the dirt.
Close by a
dried out ditch
the bird opening his beak,
, his wings in dust,
And said, with heart possessed by lakes he once had loved:
‘Water, when will you rain? Thunder, when will you roar?”
Background on Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire (1821 -1867)
The Flowers of Evil written during Haussmann's renovation of Paris and the rule of the Second Empire
Six poems were banned from being published until 1949
"Lesbos," "Femmes damnés (À la pâle clarté)" (Women Doomed (By the Dim Light), "Le Léthé" (The Lethe), "À celle qui est trop gaie" ("To Her Who Is Too Gay"), "Les Bijoux" (The Jewels), and " Les "Métamorphoses du Vampire" (The Vampire's Metamorphoses)
Tableaux Parisiens (Parisian Scenes) was not a part of the original publication, but the second edition published in 1861
“She-wolf” is a metaphor for grief
Compares his situation to others who are displaced:
“Negress” in Africa
Andromache, who lost her husband and was taken captive during Trojan War
Imperialism and progress are ruining both France and the countries it invades
Use of natural imagery
"Of all those who have lost something they may not find
Ever, ever again! who steep themselves in tears
And suck a bitter milk from that good she-wolf, grief!
Of orphans, skin and bones, dry and wasted blooms!"
Image of girl in poverty focuses on the elements of her natural beauty
“russet hair,” and “freckled skin”
Beauty in the poverty
Girl is representation old France
shows Baudelaire’s nostalgia and love for the old France
focuses on intrinsic beauty that can’t be bought