Marx's Relevance for Second Empire Literature: Baudelaire's 'Le Cygne


This essay demonstrates the convergence between key Marxist philosophical-political conceptions and the details, structure, and impact of Baudelaire's poem. Marx's thinking on the category of production, the interaction between nature and city, the "drive to the world market," the alienations of religion and "civil" society, the role of ideology and its relation to art are used to reveal historical dimensions of "Le Cygne," the encounter between its speaker and the urban (but also colonial) system, the poem's intertwining of nature and city, religion and alienation, ideology and myth, protest and beauty. (EJA)

Ahearn, Edward J
Release Year:
1986 Spring-Summer; 14(3-4): 269-77.