“Correspondences”, analysis of the poem by Charles Baudelair

The whole life of Charles Baudelaire consisted of continuous inconsistencies. His father was thirty-odd years older than his mother. Charles himself, who had been searching for and demanding love from the people around him all his life, could not give love even to his own mother. Subsequently, Baudelaire wrote: “As a child, I had two conflicting feelings in my heart: the horror of life and the delight of life.” This duality, obviously, became the hallmark of his poetry, filled with contrasts and oxymorons. Even the name of the collection, Flowers of Evil, which brought Bodler worldwide fame, is nothing but an oxymoron – a technique that combines incompatible concepts.

The collection became a kind of “encyclopedia” of French life, since different images of modern Baudelaire appeared on the pages of verses. However, there is a special cycle – “Dumps and Ideals”, dedicated to art. It is in this cycle that we can find the “Correspondences” of Charles Baudelaire. Apparently, it was Baudela who was striving for conformity throughout his short, rebellious life.

This work in form and genre is a classic sonnet consisting of two quatrains and two three-verses. The traditional themes for a sonnet were the deification of a woman, her beauty, chanting of love, lover (in this sense, William Shakespeare’s sonnets are rightly considered the most famous). Later, everyday life with its so-called worldly joys began to unfold in sonnets. And closer to the twentieth century, even political and satirical sonnets appeared.

The object of the image of Charles Baudelaire is correspondence. Typically, critics identify two main correspondences: between physical existence and the spiritual realm, as well as between the world of sensory forms and the world of fictional ideas. Obviously, these correspondences manifest themselves in Baudelaire in the world of nature and man: “Nature is a strict temple” in which it is impossible even to drop a “slurred sound”, therefore, an “embarrassed man” wanders “forests of symbols.” Most likely, this embarrassment is caused by the harmony that prevails in nature, because “it combines fragrances, and sounds, and colors.”

What place is allotted to man in this strict hierarchy? This question worried many poets. For example, the Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev believed that there was a discord between man and nature, and the person endowed with reason was to blame for this, so he “murmurs a thinking reed.” Baudelaire approaches this issue differently. The purpose of man in art is to express a real life in which everything is mixed: beauty and ugliness, high and low, good and evil. It sometimes really matches each other. Hence the name of the poem.

But the poet goes further in his reasoning. The correspondences in him lead to interpenetration and even complete merger: thus, the “smell of the virgin” is pure as a meadow, and the “high sound of the oboe” is holy, like a child’s body. Even more surprisingly, the “fusion of incense and ambergris and benzoin” creates a solemn, but at the same time “depraved aroma.” And completes the merger of “the highest thoughts of ecstasy and the best feelings of ecstasy.”

Thus, Charles Baudelaire, tossing and dropping between the “delight of life” and the “horror” in front of her, feeling the spline (not without reason the cycle is called “Spleen and Ideal”), in fact, the “Russian spleen” and looking for its ideal, embodies the phenomenon with all its poetry, called by Hegel “unhappy consciousness.” This means that consciousness is bifurcated, torn, therefore, is in a state of “endless longing.” Even Baudelaire called himself a “tantrum” and a “note pessimist” immersed in the world of his own gloomy fantasies. All this, however, creates a special style of Charles Baudelaire, which can no longer be confused with anyone.

This entry was posted in Charles Baudelaire. Bookmark the permalink.