Baudelaire and Rimbaud essay example

Baudelaire and Rimbaud Free Essay Example

In the nineteenth century, several different waves in the literature that were mostly influenced by the dynamic historical period in France appeared. Romanticism was followed by Realism, while the last one – by Naturalism and Symbolism. The style of each of them as well as its writers’ and poets’ contradicts one another. However, literature of both these periods has pretty much the same main thesis taken from the poem by Charles Baudelaire To the Reader. In this thesis, the poet says that most human vices are inspired by boredom. Can this be true? Can boredom be claimed as a sin? How does this philosophy can be shown in one realist’s work, for instance, in Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary? Is it possible at all to find some elements of Symbolism in the writing of the Realism?

Baudelaire’s poem To the Reader is considered as a poem-preface to his famous anthology The Flowers of Evil. In this poem, the poet emphasizes not only his disappointment about the way most people live, but also expresses his disgust at the way people are using themselves and at the remorse they are feeding themselves with. By using the thesis from To the Reader, Baudelaire wants to show the degradation and destruction that most people are putting themselves into again and again. No one can be redeemed for the sins made to his individuality just through regrets or better to say never through regrets. Moreover, reading To the Reader, one can easily imagine everything that was written about with the help of the elements of Symbolism presented through the very emotive picture that was so common for Romanticism ( Arthur Rimbaud in his turn followed not only Baudelaire’s emotive style in literature, but also his not less emotive and impressive style of life. Everything written by these two poets can be characterized as something full of symbols and emotionally extreme. They both lived in the way only rock stars could and wrote in the way only Symbolists could.

It has to be mentioned that in comparison to Symbolism, Realism was stricter in its writing even though the topics were much more the same. For instance, the novel Madame Bovary written by Gustave Flaubert tells its readers the story about one housewife, who in her desperate running from her daily life is eventually getting tired of it. She is tired of people; she is tired of her common provincial nineteenth century life. However, in one more Realist work, Hedda Gabler, which was written by Henry Ibsen, one can see a woman who is simply driven into her desperation not by life as it is, but mostly by the dramatic issues concerning her family and by regret and remorse she is feeling towards herself. Hedda in Ibsen’s novel is rampant, hysteric, illogical, while Madame Bovary is not so emotive about her boredom and life (Bal 4).

Both these works of Realism, Madame Bovary and Hedda Gabler, have many details taken from Symbolism as well as not fully interpreted characters that were so familiar to Realism. Although the Symbolists’ theory of fast living and young-dying can be considered as a lifestyle, Realists will not accept such strategy of life as marathon sprinting.