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The Ralston College Podcast

Oct 13, 2022

Ralston College presents a lecture by Marie Kawthar Daouda on the infamous French poet, Charles Baudelaire. Baudelaire published one collection of poems in his lifetime, 'Les Fleurs du mal,' which was met by outrage and led to a scandalous lawsuit because of some poems’ graphic content. The problem with Baudelaire was not so much that he was writing about sex, drunkenness, and violence; it was that he wrote about ugly things—at times horrible things—while using the classical perfection of the French verse, and merged the longing for a lost ideal with the modernity of Haussmanian Paris. As such, Baudelaire's art is not about gruesome indecency, but about acknowledging horror as a non-negotiable part both of the human condition and of the creation of the self. Dr Daouda’s lecture focuses on two particular sonnets, 'À une passante' and 'Recueillement,' which offer emblematic examples of Baudelaire’s poetic technique and his philosophical heritage, and help to explain why, although he died in utter misery, he was one of the most influential artistic figures of the century that followed.


This lecture and discussion were recorded with a live online audience on June 23rd, 2022.


Authors, Ideas, and Works Mentioned in this Episode

Charles Baudelaire
Eugene Delacroix, 'La Liberté guidant le peuple'
Benjamin Constant
Alphonse de Lamartine
Victor Hugo, 'Les Miserables'
George Sand
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Victor Hugo, 'Les Chansons des rues et des bois'
Édouard Manet
Blaise Pascal
Joseph de Maistre
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe, 'The Imp of the Perverse'
Charles Baudelaire, 'L’art romantique'
Charles Baudelaire, 'Les Fleurs du mal'
Carlos Schwabe, 'Spleen et idéal'
Oscar Wilde
Charles Baudelaire, 'À une passante'
Petrus Borel, 'Champavert'
Charles Baudelaire, 'Recueillement'
Charles Baudelaire, 'Le Spleen de Paris'
Michael Edwards, 'Bible et poésie'
Vladimir Jankélévitch, 'La Mort'
Carlos Schwabe, 'Les Noces du poete et de la Muse ou L’Ideal'
Gustav Maureau
Lord Byron

Links of Possible Interest

Dr Marie Kawthar Daouda's biography

Dr Stephen Blackwood

Ralston College

Ralston College Short Courses

Ralston College Humanities MA