We have come to a stage when it is finally possible to view Baudelaire’s contradictions in their ‘ensemble’ — as part of a wholeness of vision which finds its equivalent only perhaps in Dante. The antagonistic meanings which swarm in Baudelaire’s work are not inconsistencies, capricious changes of mood, the systematic cultivation of unpredictability, nervous clutching at freedom of utterance. They spring from a deeply-felt belief in the self-contradictory nature of reality, which can only be understood and dealt with through, not in avoidance of, paradox. Antagonisms, aggression, self-exposure, are the only means, however taxing, to attain‘l’unité intégrale’.
KeywordsHistorical Materialism Instinct Nature Divine Punishment Divine Comedy Reversed Reality
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