Baudelaire and the English Tradition

Baudelaire and the English Tradition

PATRICIA CLEMENTS
Copyright Date: 1985
Pages: 454
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7ztqpz
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    Baudelaire and the English Tradition
    Book Description:

    This study of Baudelaire and English modernism observes his protean influence on poets from Swinburne, who wrote the first English review of Les Fleurs du Mai, to T. S. Eliot. Documenting Baudelaire's impact on Swinburne, Pater, Wilde, Arthur Symons, Aldous Huxley, Edith and Osbert Sitwell, D. H. Lawrence, the Imagists, John Middleton Murry, Eliot, and others, Patricia Clements describes the Baudelaire who is the creation of the English poets and identifies some major lines in the development of modernism in English literature.

    Originally published in 1986.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5761-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-9)

    The most striking feature in an account of Baudelaire’s posthumous literary life is that he has by so many poets, novelists, and critics of art and literature been regarded as a progenitor. Most of the important developments in French literature in the generations between the 1860’s and the 1920’s defined themselves in relation to him, and the act of tracking backwards to a source in his work furnishes a recurrent scene in modern French writing. Huysmans’A Reboursprovides the best-known instance: its decadent, scholarly, origin-seeking protagonist, Des Esseintes, finds inLes Fleurs du Malthe source of all that...

  5. 1 SWINBURNE: TRADITION AND THE TASTE OF THE GREATER NUMBER OF READERS
    (pp. 10-76)

    When Swinburne recognized Baudelaire as his elder “brother,” he changed the course of the main current of the English tradition, altering in a most unusual way the ideal order against which the individual English talent must define itself. In this history of Baudelaire’s affiliation by English poetry, Swinburne has the importance not merely of a beginner, but of a powerful originator. He opened the long conversation with a statement so enduring that when Eliot came to describehisBaudelaire, several generations later, it was to Swinburne he turned as antagonist. If Baudelaire is, as Michel Butor says, the pivot around...

  6. 2 PATER: ALLUSION, ALLEGORY, AND AESTHETIC COMMUNITY
    (pp. 77-139)

    Pater’s major allegorical works, which are what he said Morris’s poems were not, “a disguised reflex of modern sentiment,” all attach a special, originating, importance to French literature.¹ The “Preface” toThe Renaissancetakes pains to justify the inclusion in that “series” of the essays on French subjects with insistence that the Renaissance itself began and ended in France and that its essential spirit came from the French middle ages.Marius the Epicureanreaches out of its time to link Flavian’s Euphuism to the concern for language that characterizes the “modern French romanticists.”²Gaston de Latourpresents Ronsard, the focus...

  7. 3 OSCAR WILDE: THE TRUE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ARTS
    (pp. 140-183)

    Wilde’s position in the development of modern poetics is as reversible as the lines in Wittgenstein’s celebrated drawing or as the identities of some of his own heroes. His criticism can seem either merely eclectic, a noisy summary of current aesthetic ideas, or “the basis for many critical propositions . . . which we like to attribute to more ponderous names,”¹ his work either a cluster of period themes or a rich legacy to Yeats, Joyce, Edith Sitwell, Aldington, Eliot and the others. His Baudelaire shares in that historical doubleness. Wilde made Baudelaire a model for his outraging paradoxes and,...

  8. 4 SYMONS: THE GREAT PROBLEM: TRUTH TO LIFE AND TRUTH TO ART
    (pp. 184-217)

    Arthur Symons’s poetry can seem little more than a late skirmish in the art-for-art’s-sake cause. Attacked on familiar grounds, he produced familiar defenses. WhenLondon Nights“was received by the English press with a singular unanimity of abuse,” Symons placed himself in the line of Gautier and Swinburne: “I contend on behalf of the liberty of art.”¹ “However you may try to convince yourself to the contrary,” he said in 1896, “a work of art can be judged only from two standpoints: the standpoint from which its art is measured entirely by its morality, and the standpoint from which its...

  9. 5 EDITH SITWELL & SOME OTHERS: DEPARTURES FROM DECADENCE
    (pp. 218-259)

    In 1917 Camille Mauclair, a poet admired by some of the Imagists, wrote with relief that it was at last possible to look clearly at Baudelaire. Until then, he maintained, evaluation of Baudelaire’s work had been rendered impossible by the phenomenon, as much sociological as literary, of “baudelairism”:

    Sous Ie nom de “baudelairisme”—que j’emploierai toujours en ce livre dans un sens péjoratif—nous avons dil subir

    l’exposé indigné [sic] et la condamnation pharisaique d’un état psychologique falsifié, caricaturé. La moindre facétie

    paradoxale, prise à la lettre, devint un chef d’accusation. Cet état fut encore moins affirmé par Ies détracteurs...

  10. 6 THE IMAGISTS
    (pp. 260-299)

    For a long time, supported both by Eliot's remark that the Imagists were thepoint de repèreof modern poetry and by anthologists of Imagist verse, literary historians took the “modernism” of that English school as given. William Pratt, anthologizing Imagist poems in 1963, adopted Eliot’s line: they wrote, he said, “the first ‘modern’ poems in English.” Peter Jones, presenting them anew for Penguin ten years later, said that their ideas “still lie at the centre of our poetic practice.”¹ The Imagists themselves, of course, made “modernism” a key element in their platform, and they defined it largely as reaction....

  11. 7 JOHN MIDDLETON MURRY: THE PROBLEM OF SYNTHESIS
    (pp. 300-331)

    John Middleton Murry’s early work receives little attention. That is partly because of the excess of praise and blame heaped on him by some of his contemporaries. Disproportionate praise, such as Rayner Heppenstall's in an early “prospectus of Murry’s qualifications as leader,”¹ and extraordinarily cruel criticism, such as Huxley's inPoint Counter Point,dominate discussion of Murry’s early years and divert attention from his work to his personal life. The shadow of Lawrence, furthermore, obscures Murry’s independent achievement, so that even his great admirer, Richard Rees, who believed him to have been equalled in sophistication only by a very few,...

  12. 8 T. S. ELIOT: “POET AND SAINT . . .”
    (pp. 332-388)

    Eliot is both the object and the analyst of Baudelaire’s influence, and his claims for Baudelaire’s importance both to his own work and to his time have drawn copious attention.¹ Baudelaire’s voice sounds in his poetry almost from the beginning, and it remains a defining note through all the stages of his maturity. Only Dante figures with so much power in what he wrote. Moreover, Eliot made Baudelaire a central figure in his criticism, citing him frequently in the years betweenThe Love Song of J. Alfred PrufrockandAsh Wednesday,naming him explicitly as progenitor, proposing him as the...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 389-428)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 429-442)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 443-443)