Visual interpretation can offer a means of critical exegesis, as demonstrated in this article, which proposes a reading of Charles Baudelaire’s poem “L’Irrémédiable” via a series of original drawings, in a process of reverse ekphrasis. “L’Irrémédiable” is read as both an ekphrastic, antimodern poem exploring a series of old-fashioned emblems and a radical step toward iconicity in which the shape of the poem gives spatial expression to the ironic beacon of self-awareness.
Baudelaire’s Ironic Lighthouse: Poem as Image, Poem into Image
JENNIFER YEE is Professor of Literature in French at the University of Oxford. She has published three monographs on colonialism and orientalism: Clichés de la femme exotique: un regard sur la littérature coloniale française entre 1871 et 1914 (2000); Exotic Subversions in Nineteenth-Century French Fiction (2008); and The Colonial Comedy: Imperialism in the French Realist Novel (2016). She has co-edited the volumes France and “Indochina”: Cultural Representations (2005) and French Decadence in a Global Context (2022). Her current research is oriented toward connections between the verbal and visual arts, and she has published articles on Baudelaire’s aesthetic theories.
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Jennifer Yee; Baudelaire’s Ironic Lighthouse: Poem as Image, Poem into Image. Representations 1 November 2022; 160 (1): 31–53. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2022.160.2.31
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