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Flowers for Baudelaire: Urban Botany and Allegorical Writing

Flowers for Baudelaire: Urban Botany and Allegorical Writing <p>Abstract:</p><p>Since Walter Benjamin&apos;s characterization of flânerie as a kind of botanizing on the asphalt in "Das Paris des Second Empire bei Baudelaire," critics oft en have sought to compare Charles Baudelaire to the figure of the botanist, mobilizing the naturalist as a surrogate for the poet-in-the-city. In this essay, I re-cite Benjamin&apos;s initial recourse to the botanist in order to reread it. If Benjamin invites us to consider the activity of the flâneur in terms of (urban) botany, it is perhaps an opportunity to pursue the ways in which botanical praxis and the emergence of a properly modern mode of allegorical writing in Benjamin&apos;s reading of Baudelaire provide each other with representations of the operations that each manages to accomplish. Far from being an inconsequential metaphor, Benjamin&apos;s botanist figure can be seen to harbor a disruptive force that has more to do with an "extractive" and initially violent act of inscription than with any facile correspondence between "nature" and "poetry."</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nineteenth-Century French Studies University of Nebraska Press

Flowers for Baudelaire: Urban Botany and Allegorical Writing

Nineteenth-Century French Studies , Volume 49 (1) – Nov 24, 2020

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Nebraska Press
ISSN
1536-0172

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>Since Walter Benjamin&apos;s characterization of flânerie as a kind of botanizing on the asphalt in "Das Paris des Second Empire bei Baudelaire," critics oft en have sought to compare Charles Baudelaire to the figure of the botanist, mobilizing the naturalist as a surrogate for the poet-in-the-city. In this essay, I re-cite Benjamin&apos;s initial recourse to the botanist in order to reread it. If Benjamin invites us to consider the activity of the flâneur in terms of (urban) botany, it is perhaps an opportunity to pursue the ways in which botanical praxis and the emergence of a properly modern mode of allegorical writing in Benjamin&apos;s reading of Baudelaire provide each other with representations of the operations that each manages to accomplish. Far from being an inconsequential metaphor, Benjamin&apos;s botanist figure can be seen to harbor a disruptive force that has more to do with an "extractive" and initially violent act of inscription than with any facile correspondence between "nature" and "poetry."</p>

Journal

Nineteenth-Century French StudiesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Nov 24, 2020

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