I Petits poèmes en prose di Baudelaire, ovvero l'idéal della forma breve

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Baudelaire's Petits poèmes en prose, or the ideal of the short form

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For Baudelaire, lyricism is a synonym of short forms, both in poetry and in prose. In 1862, twenty Petits Poëmes en prose by Baudelaire were first published in La Presse. If the poet’s hesitations about the title of his prose works are well known, it is worthy of attention that the quoted expression insists on the short form (petit) rather than on the poetic genre (poëme en prose); Petits Poëmes en prose appears mostly in the pre-publication of these texts in the press, from 1862 to 1864. Even in 1866, Baudelaire talked about his Petits poèmes lycanthropes, as if he were not concerned by the genre (prose poetry) but wanted to lay great stress on the epigrammatic style of his work. Shortness in literature seems high-value for Baudelaire, as it can be asserted from his claim of “concentration”, that is a necessary feature of the literary genius’ masterpiece (Fusées, IV and XVII). The short form is a new idéal to be reached since Baudelaire’s preface to A. Houssaye (“mon cher ami, je vous envoie un petit ouvrage”). In this effort two different (even paradoxical) aspects are supremely combined: first of all, the poetry of the modern city (Le spleen de Paris is the second title of Baudelaire’s prose work), which imposes a rapid fruition of each single text of the collection. This also highlights Baudelaire’s anti-Romantic vein: the poet simply hates the never-ending Romantic prose, like G. Sand’s. Secondly, in some of his prose works Baudelaire reinvent French salon culture, from maxime to pointe, in the short form of the poème-boutade. Starting from some considerations we can read in Baudelaire’s journals Fusées and Mon cœur mis à nu, I want to analyse how the poetics of some Petits poèmes en prose can generate precise rhetoric patterns, which are linked to the ideological content of the work.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Baudelaire's Petits poèmes en prose, or the ideal of the short form
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationForma breve
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Baudelaire
  • brevitas
  • poème en prose


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