The introduction which Baudelaire contributed to a collection of Dupont's poetry in was an act of literary strategy. It contains the following remarkable statement: "The puerile utopia of the school of l'art pour l'art excluded morality and often even passion, and this necessarily made it sterile. His verse supported the oppressed,;though it espoused not only their cause but their illusions as well.
It had an ear for the songs of the revolution and also for the "higher voice" which spoke from the drumroll of the executions. When Bonaparte came to power through a coup d'etat, Baudelaire was momentarily enraged. It did not -take long for Baudelaire to abandon his revolutionary manifesto, and a number of years later he wrote: "Dupont owed his.
Fortunately, the revolutionary activity which in those days carried almost everyone away did not entirely deflect him from his natural course! It permitted him to announce the latitude which was at his disposal as a man of letters. In this he was ahead of the writers of his time, including the greatest. This makes it evident in what respects he was above the literary activity which surrounded him. For a century and a half, the literary life of the day had been centered around journals.
Toward the end of the third decade of the century, this began to change. Girardin's paper, La Presse, played a decisive part in this rise. Atthe same time, short, alxupt news items began to compete with detailed reports. These news items caught on because they could be employed commercially. The so-called reclame paved the way for them; this was an apparently independent notice which was actually paid for by a publisher and which appeared in the editorial section of the newspaper, referring to a book that had been advertised the day before or in the same issue.
As early as , SainteBeuve complained about the demoralizing effect of the reclame: "How could they damn a product [in a critical review] when the same product was described two inches below as being a wonder of the age? The attraction of the ever larger type-size in which advertisements were printed gained the upper hand; they constituted a magnetic mountain which deflected the compass. It is virtually impossible to write a history of information separately from a history of the corruption of the press.
These informative items required little space.
These : items had to be constantly replenished. Their intrinsic cheap elegance, a quality that became so characteristic of the feuilleton section, was in evidence from the beginning. Monsieur Daguerre need not worry; no one is going to steal his secret from him When there were only the large, serious papers, The cocktail hour is the logical consequence of the 'Paris timetable' and of city gossip.
When the electric telegraph came into use toward the end of the Second Empire, the boulevards lost their monopoly.
The assimilation of a man of ldtters to the society in which he lived took place on the boulevard, in the following way. On the boulevard, he kept himself in readiness for the next incident witticism or rumor. There he unfolded the full drapery of his connections with colleagues and men-about-town, and he was as much dependent on their results as the cocottes were on their disguises. He behaved as if he had learned from Marx that the value of a commodity is determined by the worktime needed from society to produce it. In view of the protracted periods of idleness which in the eyes of the public were necessary for the realization of his own labor power, its value became almost fantastic.
This high valuation was not limited to the public. There was in fact. In order to obtain as many advertisements as possible, the quarter-page which had become a poster had to be seen by as many subscribers as possible.
In , Dumas signed a contract with Le Constitutionnel and La Presse guaranteeing him a minimum annual payment of 63, francs for supplying' at least eighteen installments a year. When publishers acquired manuscripts, they occasionally reserved the right to print them under the name of a writer of their choice.
Does he know them himself? Unless he keeps a ledger with a 'Debit' and a 'Credit' side, he surely has forgotten more than one of his legitimate, illegitimate, or adopted children. As late as , ten years after this commentary by the great review, a small organ of the boheme printed the following picturesque scene from the lite of a successful novelist whom the author calls de Sanctis: "When he arrived home, Monsie. He found himself in a rather dirty, poorly lit 62 little room.
There sat a man with disheveled hair who looked sullen but obsequious and had a long goose-quill in his hand. He is the real author of The Chamber of Skulls; he is the novelist. After a short time this regulation was rescinded, since the reactionary press laws which curtailed freedom of opinion enhanced the value of the feuilleton.
The generous remuneration for feuilletons coupled with their large market helped the writers who supplied them to build great. It was natural for an individual to exploit his reputation together with his financial resources; a political career opened up for him almost automatically: This led to new forms of corruption, which were more consequential than the misuse of well-known writers' names. Once the political ambition of a writer had been aroused, it was natural for the regime to show him the right road.
In Salvandy, the minister of colonies, invited Alexandre Dumas to take a trip to Tunis at government expense-estimated at 1o,ooo francs-to publicize the colonies. Sue had more luck; on the strength of the success of his Mysteres de Paris, he not only increased the number of Le Constitutionners subscribers from 3,6oo to 2o,ooo, but was elected a deputy in with the votes of , Parisian workingmen.
If literature was able to open a political career to favored writers, this career in turn may be used for a critical evaluation of their writings. Lamartine constitutes a case in point. In a naive poem ad-dressed.
Je vends rna grappe en fruit comme tu vends ta -fleur, Heureux quand son nectar, sous mon pied qui la foule, Dans mesto"nneaux nombreux en ruisseaux d'ambre coule, Produisant ason maitre ivre de sa cherte, Beaucoup d'or pour payer beaucoup de liberte!? I sell my bunch of grapes as you sell your flowers, Happy when its nectar, under my foot which tramples it, Flows into my many casks in amber strerup.
By the os, the situation of the smallholder peasant had become criti" cal. He was in debt; his plot "no longer lay in the so-called fatherland-it lay in the register of mortgages. Lamartine had helped to prepare the way for that vote. This may be due to the fact thathe himself had always felt little splendor attaching to his own person. Porche believes it looks as though Baudelaire had no choice about where he could place his manuscripts. He was dealing with publishers who counted on the vanity of sophisticated people, amateurs, and beginners, and who accepted manuscripts only if a subscription was purchased:' 86 Baudelaire's actions were in keeping With this state of affairs.
He offered the same maimscript to several papers at the same time and authorized reprints without indicating From his early period on, he viewed the literary market without any illusions. In he wrote: "No matter how beautiful a house may be, it is primarily, and before one dwells on its beauty, so-and-so many meters high and so-and-so many meters long. In the same way, literature, which constitutes the most inestimable substance, is primarily a matter of filling up lines; and a literary architect whose mere name does not guarantee a profit must sell at aw,..
It has been calculated that he earned no more than 15, francs from all his writings. Murger is dying in a sanatorium, as is now Baudelaire. And not one of these writers has been a socialist! Baudelaire surely deserved the recognition intended by the last sentence. But this does not mean that he lacked insight into the true situation of a man of letters. He often confronted the writer, first and foremost himself, with the figure of the whore.
His sonnet to the venal m. His great introductory poem "Au Lecteur" presents the poet in the unflattering position of someone who takes cold cash for his confessioris. One of his earliestpoems, which figures among those excluded from Les Fleurs du mal, is addressed to a streetwalker. This is its second stanza: Pour avoir des souliers, elle a vendu son arne; Mais le bon Dieu rirait si, pres de cette infame, Je tranchais du Tartufe et singeais la hauteur, Moi qui vends rna pensee et qui veux etre auteur:. Thus, these anthologies are products of the same collective belletristic endeavor for which Girardin had provided an outlet in the feuilleton.
The Flaneur Once a writer had entered the marketplace, he looked around as if in panorama. Nor was the "physiology" of animals neglected, for animals have always been an innocuous: subject. Innocuousness was of the essence. In his studies on the his.
renminanlo.ml Days of celebratwn and days of mourmng, work and play,! The leisurely quality of. But even in those days it was impossible to stroll about everywhere in the city. Before Haussmann,. Lining both sides of these corridors, which get their light from above, are the most elegant shops, so that the passage is a city, a world in miniature. The street becomes a dwelling place for the fla.
These writings were socially dubious, as well. The long series of eccentric or appealingly-simple or severe figures which the physiologies presented to the public in character sketches had one thing in common: they were' harmless and perfectly affable. Such a view of one's fellow man was so remote from experience that there were bound to be uncommonly weighty motives for it. The reason was an uneasiness of a special sort.
People had to adapt themselves to a new and rather strange situation, one that is peculiar to big cities. Simmel has provided an excellent formulation of what was involved here. Interpersonal relationships.. They constituted, so to speak, the blinkers of the "nar-row-minded city animal" that Marx wrote about.