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postgraduate thesis: The dandy and the historical ragpicker : a study of contrary responses to modernity of Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin

TitleThe dandy and the historical ragpicker : a study of contrary responses to modernity of Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Vogt, CR
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Guan, B. [关贝贝]. (2014). The dandy and the historical ragpicker : a study of contrary responses to modernity of Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5328042
AbstractThe period of “modernity” has shaped the artistic and intellectual works of both Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin and – as a result – has informed our understanding of this formative period of European history. While both writers engage with the period in 19th century Paris, both arrive at fundamentally different appraisals of some of its artefacts: the commodity, the roles of the “flâneur”, and the prostitute. Tracing the difference of both author’s experiences through their writing, this thesis argues that Baudelaire escapes the confines of the experience of modernity which Benjamin erects. Offering a fresh interpretation of the original works, this paper takes Baudelaire’s dandyism and his theory of “art for art’s sake” as a theory of art and pleasure that conceived of Paris as the stage —an artistic opportunity —for playing with the stimuli of evil and pain. I will argue that in building this artistic world, Baudelaire forcefully rejects the moralization and politicization of art. By contrast, as a Marxist and moralist—all political animal —Benjamin positions himself as the ragpicker collecting the ruins behind the phantasmagoria and commodity of pre-modern times. Paris- to him – becomes a case-study for the aberrations of capitalism. Through a critical discussion of Benjamin’s theories of artistic production, allegory and shock – the sources that make him see Baudelaire as the last lyric poet—a fresh view of Baudelaire as an artist and dandy is proposed. While literary posterity owes greatly to the insights of the “Benjaminian” Baudelaire, I argue that a comprehensive appreciation of Baudelaire’s work will benefit from moving beyond a political and towards an artistic reading – a first attempt of which is offered in this thesis.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
Dept/ProgramModern Languages and Cultures
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206731

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorVogt, CR-
dc.contributor.authorGuan, Beibei-
dc.contributor.author关贝贝-
dc.date.accessioned2014-11-29T23:16:33Z-
dc.date.available2014-11-29T23:16:33Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationGuan, B. [关贝贝]. (2014). The dandy and the historical ragpicker : a study of contrary responses to modernity of Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5328042-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206731-
dc.description.abstractThe period of “modernity” has shaped the artistic and intellectual works of both Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin and – as a result – has informed our understanding of this formative period of European history. While both writers engage with the period in 19th century Paris, both arrive at fundamentally different appraisals of some of its artefacts: the commodity, the roles of the “flâneur”, and the prostitute. Tracing the difference of both author’s experiences through their writing, this thesis argues that Baudelaire escapes the confines of the experience of modernity which Benjamin erects. Offering a fresh interpretation of the original works, this paper takes Baudelaire’s dandyism and his theory of “art for art’s sake” as a theory of art and pleasure that conceived of Paris as the stage —an artistic opportunity —for playing with the stimuli of evil and pain. I will argue that in building this artistic world, Baudelaire forcefully rejects the moralization and politicization of art. By contrast, as a Marxist and moralist—all political animal —Benjamin positions himself as the ragpicker collecting the ruins behind the phantasmagoria and commodity of pre-modern times. Paris- to him – becomes a case-study for the aberrations of capitalism. Through a critical discussion of Benjamin’s theories of artistic production, allegory and shock – the sources that make him see Baudelaire as the last lyric poet—a fresh view of Baudelaire as an artist and dandy is proposed. While literary posterity owes greatly to the insights of the “Benjaminian” Baudelaire, I argue that a comprehensive appreciation of Baudelaire’s work will benefit from moving beyond a political and towards an artistic reading – a first attempt of which is offered in this thesis.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.titleThe dandy and the historical ragpicker : a study of contrary responses to modernity of Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5328042-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineModern Languages and Cultures-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5328042-

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