Formal Revolution in the Work of Baudelaire and Flaubert by Kathryn Oliver Mills
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Overview: In Formal Revolution in the Work of Baudelaire and Flaubert, Kathryn Oliver Mills argues that despite the enduring celebrity of Baudelaire and Flaubert, their significance to modern art has been miscast and misunderstood. To date, literary criticism has paid insufficient attention to these authors’ literary form and their socio-cultural context. In addition, critical literature has not always adequately integrated individual works to each author’s broader oeuvre: on the one hand critics do not often maintain rigorous distinctions among texts when discussing Baudelaire and Flaubert, and on the other hand scholars of Baudelaire and Flaubert have not consistently considered the relationship of individual texts to either writer’s corpus. Furthermore, critical focus has been on the modernity of Les Fleurs du mal, Madame Bovary, and L’Education Sentimentale. Addressing these lacunae in scholarship, Mills puts forth the argument that Baudelaire’s collection of prose poems, Le Spleen de Paris, and Flaubert’s short, poetic tales, Trois contes, best embody the modern aesthetic that Baudelaire develops in Le Peintre de la vie moderne and that Flaubert elaborates in his correspondence.
Genre: Non-Fiction, Literary Criticism