By Patricia Clements
This examine of Baudelaire and English modernism observes his protean impression on poets from Swinburne, who wrote the 1st English evaluate of Les Fleurs du Mai, to T. S. Eliot. Documenting Baudelaire's influence on Swinburne, Pater, Wilde, Arthur Symons, Aldous Huxley, Edith and Osbert Sitwell, D. H. Lawrence, the Imagists, John Middleton Murry, Eliot, and others, Patricia Clements describes the Baudelaire who's the construction of the English poets and identifies a few significant traces within the improvement of modernism in English literature.
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Additional resources for Baudelaire and the English tradition
62 It is not for its attempt at balance in an argument about mo rality and the independence of poetry that Swinburne's review of Baudelaire is usually remembered, however, but for its pre sentation of the "perfect artist" as the type of the decadent poet. " He is drawn "Not [to] the luxuries of pleasure in their first simple form, but [to] the sharp and cruel enjoyments of pain, the acrid relish of suffering felt or inflicted, the sides Je ne veux ... Let there be no misunderstanding: I do not mean to say that poetry does not ennoble manners—that its final result is not to raise man above the level of squalid interests; that would clearly be absurd.
28 CHAPTER 1 that a poet's business is presumably to write good verses, and by no means to redeem the age and remould society. No other form of art is so pestered with this impotent ap petite for meddling in quite extraneous matters; but the mass of readers seem actually to think that a poem is the better for containing a moral lesson or assisting in a tangible and material good work. The courage and sense of a man who at such a time ventures to profess and act on the con viction that the art of poetry has absolutely nothing to do with didactic matter at all, are proof enough of the wise and serious manner in which he is likely to handle the materials of his art.
Permettez-moi. . ' But after reading the poetry printed in the same number . . expressing feelings at once so real and so subtle, I was no longer at all surprised; only poets can properly understand poets. pedants . . pedants at least the equal of our own at ceaselessly calling artists back to antique beauty, at cross-questioning a poet or a novelist on the morality of his aims and the quality of his intentions (¢,189-90). " (II, 321)—was to have refused to subscribe to error: Un semblable milieu social engendre necessairement des erreurs litt£raires correspondantes.
Baudelaire and the English tradition by Patricia Clements