The Limits of Narrative: Essays on Baudelaire, Flaubert, Rimbaud and Mallarme

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-06-18
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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This book examines the problematic area of narrative structure under conditions of severe stress. Each of the four authors is shown to be concerned with the tension between narrative coherence as a desirable goal and an unfortunate check placed on the 'free' play of fantasy. This tension produces powerful disruptions of literary form in the lyric (Baudelaire, Mallarmè), prose poetry (Baudelaire, Rimbaud) and the novel (Flaubert) which are examined here. A final chapter draws out some of the historical implications of these readings in a discussion of Baudelaire's and Flaubert's trials for obscenity and of Marx's writings on France from 1848 to 1871. Professor Wing demonstrates that all these texts retain an unstable balance between earlier modes of thought, feeling and expression and the depersonal, fragmented modern text. He revises notions of modernity and invites us to reconsider traces of earlier forms of writing in more canonically modern texts.

Table of Contents

The Danaides Vessel: on reading Baudelaire's allegories
On certain relations: figures of sexuality in Baudelaire
Emma's stories: narrative, repetition and desire in Madame Bovary
The autobiography of rhetoric: on reading Rimbaud's Une Saison en enfer
False confusions: ficitons of masculine desire in Mallarmé's 'L'Aprés-midi d'un faune'
The trials of authority under Louis Bonaparte
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