Baudelaire's Media Aesthetics: The Gaze of the Flâneur and by Marit Grøtta

By Marit Grøtta

Baudelaire's Media Aesthetics situates Charles Baudelaire in the course of 19th-century media tradition. It bargains an intensive research of the position of newspapers, images, and precinematic units in Baudelaire's writings, whereas additionally discussing the cultural historical past of those media as a rule. The publication finds that Baudelaire used to be no longer only encouraged by means of the recent media, yet that he performed with them, utilizing them as frames of conception and methods of experiencing the area. His writings reveal how diversified media reply to each other and the way the conventions of 1 medium could be paraphrased in one other medium. hence, Baudelaire's Media Aesthetics argues that Baudelaire may be visible basically as an recommend of "pure poetry," yet as a poet in a media saturated surroundings. It indicates that mediation, montage, and stream are beneficial properties which are significant to Baudelaire's aesthetics and that his modernist aesthetics could be conceived of, to a wide measure, as a media aesthetics.

Highlighting Baudelaire's interplay with the media of his age, Baudelaire's Media Aesthetics discusses the ways that we reply to new media expertise, drawing on views from Walter Benjamin and Giorgio Agamben. Combining distinct learn with modern conception, the booklet opens up new views on Baudelaire's writings, the determine of the flâneur, and modernist aesthetics.

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Accordingly, we may assume that Baudelaire did not learn everything he knew about Paris from strolling about the streets. As a dedicated newspaper reader, he took inspiration from the newspaper’s reports of modern life; he even acknowledged that modern life must be mediated in order to be noticed. In view of this, the following question could be put forward: perhaps Baudelaire was just as much of a newspaper reader as a flâneur? A letter to the editor Today, when we read Baudelaire’s prose poems in book volumes, their relationship to the newspaper medium is easily lost.

Baudelaire’s interaction with the newspaper could in fact be interpreted as the strategy of an avant-garde poet making use of popular forms in his writing. With this strategy, he questions the traditional boundaries of art. 65 As we have seen, the nineteenth-century newspapers presented the reader with a variety of genres having a semiliterary status. The boundary between fiction and nonfiction was often uncertain and so was the very purpose of the texts. Were they meant to inform, were they simply meant to entertain, or did they also convey a more profound meaning?

Accordingly, there are strong indications that the newspaper contributed to Baudelaire’s conception of modernity. It could indeed be argued that Baudelaire not only experienced life in Paris when strolling about in the streets, but that his experience was—at least partly—mediated through the newspaper. In this respect, Baudelaire may have learned something from Edgar Allan Poe, whom he translated into French. Poe’s stories, as well, were in dialogue with the newspapers. In “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt,” Poe’s detectives consistently use Paris newspapers, such as La Presse and the Gazette des tribunaux, as sources for information in their quests for the perpetrator, taking advantage of witness reports and the “psychology” of journalism.

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