Baudelaire's Feminine, Urban Landscape: Symbolic City and the (De)generative Woman

Atalia Lopez


This paper positions the poetry of Charles Baudelaire between Paris urban landscape and the inspirational qualities of its demimonde. The argument proposes that the "degenerative" feminine figures in Baudelaire's poems are the driving force of his overarching aesthetican aesthetic that rests in sensual immersion and an acknowledgement of the inverse of traditional beauty. The women invite, entice, corrupt, and inspire the poet within the urban environment that is their domain.

While the modern metropolis exists in a state of flux, its capacity for decay and corruption is consistent; the female figures of the urban underworld provide Baudelaires aesthetic with definition and form.


Charles Baudelaire; Urban Aesthetics; Gender Studies; Poetry; Aesthetics

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