By Baudelaire, Charles; Baudelaire, Charles; Marchi, Dudley M
This booklet complements our knowing of France and the USA via concentrating on their intercultural family. Baudelaire and Emerson have on the middle in their pondering the very suggestion of ways to reconcile person and collective event, a topic that's pervasive in French-American relatives. A historic point of view to modern concerns in regards to the French-American connection is helping us to come back to phrases with a few of the urgent difficulties presently dealing with France and the U.S. and to view a few key literary texts in a brand new gentle
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Extra resources for Baudelaire, Emerson, and the French-American Connection: Contrary Affinities
Although Baudelaire’s and Emerson’s circumstances were very different, their cultural politics have much in common. Their idealism, at the core, is a call for the secular spiritual regeneration of individuals, not new social orders. After 1848, they increasingly criticized the socialists, as well as the conservative bourgeoisie, for being superficial. They proposed a larger transformation as the solution to the problem of human cooperation and happiness. Both Baudelaire and Emerson developed their aesthetics under the influence of Swedenborg’s theory of “correspondences”—the hidden relation between the world of objects and the world of spirit, the symbols of nature that can be interpreted only by the poet-thinkers, deciphering in their works the mysteries of the universe for human edification.
At the time, Baudelaire was eagerly trying to meet as many Americans visiting or residing in Paris as he could, in order to gather information about Poe while he worked on his translations of Poe’s Tales. Although Emerson, during a visit to Paris, was invited to the home of Tocqueville and met Michelet and other faculty at the Collège de France, Baudelaire, for whatever reasons, did not meet him. Most likely, Baudelaire did not know that Emerson was in Paris, for he surely would have sought him out.
Even so, Baudelaire had nothing but contempt for socialism, as many passages of Pauvre Belgique demonstrate, such as his sarcastic treatment of “citoyen Lafargue,” Marx’s son-in-law and one of the pioneers of Marxist theory and practice in France. What Baudelaire did to establish his oppositional ideology was to posit himself as the absolute individualist, an outsider beyond the workers, the bourgeoisie, revolution and reaction, left and right. qxd 6/6/2011 4:12 PM Page 26 26 contrary affinities of futility: “Le canon tonne…les membres volent…des gémissements de victimes et des hurlements de sacrificateurs se font entendre…C’est l’humanité qui cherche le Bonheur” (I, 371).