Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
As a "dandy-litterateur" Baudelaire was the inheritor of a literary tradition which originated in England and which was subsequently established in France by writers such as Balzac, Gautier, Musset, Sue and, in particular, Barbey d'Aurevilly. In his study Du dandysme et de George Brummell, Barbey struggled to find a succinct definition of dandyism, and admitted: "Ceci est presque aussi difficile a decrire qu'a definir.";Throughout his works Baudelaire is repeatedly preoccupied by an attempt to conceptualise dandyism, not only as a social and philosophical stance, but as a literary style as well. While many critics have touched at least briefly upon the question of Baudelaire's dandyism, little attention is given to the evolution of this concept in Baudelaire's thought.;The meaning which Baudelaire associated with the word "dandy" shifted constantly. His own early life and works were in many ways the testament of an "enfant terrible" and a "poete maudit." His early writings, and in particular the 1857 edition of Les Fleurs du Mal, are without question a cogent expression of his initial conception of dandyism, of what he termed his "phase d'egoisme." However, the condemnation of the 1857 edition of Les Fleurs du Mal precipitated a crisis resulting in a spiritual and literary reassessment. Henceforth Baudelaire's works would reveal an increasing concern about man in general but a decreasing egotistical view of art and the artist. In his later works published after 1857--the Salon de 1859, the 1861 edition of Les Fleurs du Mal, Le Peintre de la vie moderne, Les Paradis artificiels, his articles on Poe, Gautier, Delacroix and Wagner, his prose poems, his journal, and also his correspondence of the period--Baudelaire's very personal use of the word "dandy" underwent a significant evolution, to the extent that he finally confounded the dandy and the saint, thereby manifesting a marked spiritual, moral and aesthetic evolution which has been either neglected or oversimplified.
Mckellar, Kenneth Sutherland, "The Evolution Of Dandyism In Baudelaire's Thought: Dandy, Hero And Saint" (1987). Digitized Theses. 1634.