From Baudelaire to Apollinaire
In the second half of the 19th century, poetry experienced transformations which were not unrelated to those of the world. New links between the world, language and poetry were thus created. This is the adventure we shall recount, starting with
Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire, the “master book” of French poetry, published in 1857, to end with Alcools by Guillaume Apollinaire, published in 1913. These two collections of poems will be the main focus of our attention, but, on the way, we shall make other stops, musing on the side of Verlaine, Rimbaud or Mallarmé. Modernity featured a rupture with the external signs of the genre with verses becoming less rigid and even dislocated. A revolution happened which gave rise to new forms such as prose poetry and free verse. Such transformations went hand in hand with a revolution in painting in the 19th century: impressionism, which became established in 1874, the date of the first exhibition of Impressionists. Our approach will strive to combine intellectual rigor and reverie, acquisition of knowledge and pleasure of reading. There will be exercises in the French academic tradition such as the “explication de texte”, the “commentaire composé” or the “dissertation”, this will allow us to further our understanding of the texts and enjoy their originality and beauty. We shall thus hopefully be better prepared to receive this fabulous gift from the poets, guiding our steps in life, language and literature.
Texts: Baudelaire : Les Fleurs du mal, Classiques Hachette, ISBN : 978-2-0101-9081-0
Apollinaire : Alcools, La Bibliothèque Gallimard, ISBN : 2-07-040632-6
There will be a handout available at the College bookstore with theoretical and pedagogical documents as well as a compilation of poems by Rimbaud, Verlaine and Mallarmé.
N.B. The course includes a methodological perspective. Students can validate their credits in methodology (equivalent to 6525) by electing specific exercises (French type) for their evaluation or they can choose standard evaluation without validating the methodology unit.