The aim of this book is to offer a new reading of Baudelaire's Petits Poèmes en prose which demonstrates the significance of ironic otherness for the theory and functioning of the work and for the genre of the prose poem itself. The book considers Baudelaire's choice of this genre and the way in which he seeks to define it, both paratextually and textually. It examines the ways in which the prose poem depends on dualities and
déboublements as forms of lyrical and narrative difference which, in their turn, reveal ideological otherness and declare the oppositionality of the prose poem. Finally, the book demonstrates a relationship between these forms of otherness and Baudelaire's theory of the popular comic arts and, in doing so, proposes that the prose poems
should be read as literary caricature.
`The author's assertions and evasions are themselves a reflexive ironic regression with much appeal for today's harrassed scholars'
Forum for Modern Language Studies
`interesting and readable ... Stephens has a clear grasp of the theoretical issues but always relates them to poetic practice. The result is illuminating while at the same time enabling us to share her evident enthusiasm for, and love of, the text. She never loses sight of the fact that the Petits Poemes en prose, like this study, are to be enjoyed.'
John McCann, MLR, 96.2, 2001
`Stephens is a subtle and illuminating textual critic ... This is a tightly argued and challenging book which significantly deepens our understanding of the prose poems.'
Clive Scott, Journal of European Studies,2000
2: Lyricism and its Others
3: The Politics of Form
4: The Prose Poem and the Dualities of Comic Art