Baudelaire and Photography
Finding the Painter of Modern Life

Timothy Raser

Research Monographs in French Studies 45

Legenda

9 October 2015  •  132pp

ISBN: 978-1-909662-51-3 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99

ModernFrenchArtPoetry


While Baudelaire’s Le Peintre de la vie moderne is often cited as the first expression of our theory of modernism, his choice of Constantin Guys as that painter has caused consternation from the moment of the essay’s publication in 1863. Worse still, in his Salon de 1859, Baudelaire had also chosen to condemn photography in terms that echo to this day. Why did the excellent critic choose a mere reporter and illustrator as the painter of modern life? How could he have overlooked photography as the painting of modern life? In this study of modernity and photography in Baudelaire's writing, Timothy Raser, who has written on the art criticism of Baudelaire, Proust, Claudel and Sartre, shows how these two aberrations of critical judgment are related, and how they underlie current discussions of both photography and modernism.

Timothy Raser is Professor of French at the University of Georgia, USA.

Reviews:

  • ‘Writing on the cusp of modernity, runs Raser’s overarching argument, Baudelaire is struggling to leave behind the traditional world, abandoning a search for beauty in a quest for a theory of modernity.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 52.4, October 2016, 476-77
  • ‘Highlights exciting aspects of Baudelaire’s work and illuminates his stance on modernity. One of Raser’s achievements is to take seriously the fact that Baudelaire transcended the boundaries between various arts and media. Exploring the relations between painting, poetry, engravings, and photography, he shows to what degree Baudelaire’s work is characterized by intertextual and intermedial tensions.’ — Marit Grøtta, Modern Language Review 112.1, January 2017, 254-56 (full text online)
  • ‘As always with Raser’s writing, this is an intelligently and cogently argued book. His deep knowledge of Baudelaire’s art criticism firmly grounds his arguments about aesthetic theory. Raser’s literary interpretations, such as that of Hugo’s poem, are interesting and thought-provoking... This slender and elegant book has set me to thinking about Baudelaire’s “aesthetics” of the modern as I read his works — it has given me a new perspective on his poetry.’ — Dorothy Kelly, H-France 16.125, July 2016

Bibliography entry:

Raser, Timothy, Baudelaire and Photography: Finding the Painter of Modern Life, Research Monographs in French Studies, 45 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2015)

First footnote reference: 35 Timothy Raser, Baudelaire and Photography: Finding the Painter of Modern Life, Research Monographs in French Studies, 45 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2015), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Raser, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Raser, Timothy. 2015. Baudelaire and Photography: Finding the Painter of Modern Life, Research Monographs in French Studies, 45 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Raser 2015: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Raser 2015: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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