Du poetique au politique: Transfiguration esthetique et depassement chez Baudelaire, Prevert et Cesaire
Van de Wiele, Aurelie
Aresu, Bernard; Harter, Deborah
Doctor of Philosophy
This study focuses on how the works of Charles Baudelaire, Jacques Prevert and Aime Cesaire respond to misery and existential anguish in the context of the shift to modernity, and particularly through the changes that modernity brings to philosophical discourses on the human and social condition. I argue that all three writers, although in different ways, explore the qualities of a particular perception of the world as a response to human alienation and social agony. This perception, based on "aesthetic transfiguration," goes beyond the appearance and usefulness of things to capture the aesthetic and metaphorical value of the world around us. I suggest that this vision, to varying degrees and with varying success, makes possible a certain relief from a social world of discontent for those able to achieve it; it also represents the first step toward a more political and collective reaction toward social and human dissatisfaction. My dissertation brings together the works of three very different poets, unveils the evolution of the role of literature in the past two centuries and serves, finally, to illuminate the concept of modernity.
Modern literature; Romance literature; Aesthetics