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.

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