“Du croisement de leurs innombrables rapports”: Baudelaire and De Quincey’s flâneurs
This chapter probes the links between the Baudelairean flâneur and the walking protagonist depicted in De Quincey’s Confessions. Baudelaire famously writes that his poetry finds its roots in “the criss-cross of the innumerable interrelations” which the city is made of. The polysemy of the word croisement lends itself well to analyzing the flâneur’s journey. It is a spatial term which refers both to physical movement and geography. It is a social term which provides a way to talk about encounters and connections, or lack thereof. Finally, it is a textual term which refers to the workings of intertextuality. Through the kaleidoscopic lens of this word, the flâneur appears as a figure who traverses space, time, and texts, and whose croisements were already at work in De Quincey’s writing.