Charles Baudelaire: Poems

Baudelaire and the Urban Landscape in ‘The Flowers of Evil’: ‘Landscape’ and ‘The Swan’ 12th Grade

Charles Baudelaire’s ‘Parisian Scenes’ is as much an exploration into the role of the poet as an illustration of a man’s wanderings through the streets of Paris. The poems ‘Landscape’ and ‘The Swan’ show a definitive evolution in Baudelaire’s perspective, his internal conflict developing alongside his relationship with the city. ‘Landscape’, as an opening poem to the collection, sees an optimistic Baudelaire struggle to find a coexistence between the harmony of the natural world and the constant flux of the rapidly urbanizing environment he finds himself in. It is from this we see the poet move into the city’s bowels in ‘The Swan’ in an attempt to challenge the urban in a more direct manner, though even this seems to provide little comfort, Baudelaire leaving his journey more alienated from his own city than ever before. It is from these poems we can understand the means in which Paris becomes a vector through which Baudelaire can explore to what extent the poetry of the city can truly represent his relationship with the urban environment, whilst simultaneously exploring the reality of the modern poet, one of dissatisfaction and chaos.

Baudelaire’s interpretation of Paris within ‘Landscape’, as an ethereal fantasy saturated...

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