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La Folie Baudelaire

ISBN: 9780374183349 | 0374183341
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pub. Date: 10/16/2012

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Seen together, Roberto Calasso's booksbeginning with The Ruin of Kaschconstitute an original and perceptive reconsideration of the great arc of literature, art, and mythology. In this lavishly illustrated book, Calasso turns his attention to the poets and writers of Paris in the nineteenth century who created what was later called "the Modern." His protagonist is Charles Baudelaire: poet of "nerves," art lover, pioneering critic, man about Paris. With Baudelaire's critical intelligence as his inspiration, Calasso ranges through Baudelaire's life and work, focusing on two paintersIngres and Delacroixabout whom Baudelaire wrote acutely, and then turns to Degas and Manet, who followed in the tracks Baudelaire laid down in his great essay "The Painter of Modern Life." In a mosaic of stories, insights, close readings of poems, and commentaries on paintings, Paris in Baudelaire's years comes to life. In the eighteenth century, a "folie" was a garden pavilion set aside for people of leisure, a place of delight and fantasy. Following Baudelaire, Calasso has created a brilliant and dramatic "Folie Baudelaire" a place where the reader can encounter Baudelaire, his peers, his city, and his extraordinary likes and dislikes, finally discovering that it is nothing less than the land of "absolute literature."

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