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(p.243) Conclusion
Seeing Double
Françoise Meltzer
University of Chicago Press

In the period during which Baudelaire is writing, there are so many changes in daily life that he frequently does not fully understand what he is seeing, even as he records the varying versions of life that his splintered gaze encounters. His double vision is the result of an incomprehensible world to Baudelaire, a world that would later (with Baudelaire as chief spokesman after the fact) become the hallmark of modernity and the trigger for modernism. But for him, such a double vision makes for a shattered, if at times exquisite, vision. Baudelaire is a brilliant critic, and probably the greatest poet of the nineteenth century. He is one of the inventors of the term modern. But the upheaval of 1848, combined with all of the other aspects of the new style of life in modernity, denies him a unity of vision.

Keywords:   modernity, Baudelaire, double vision, style of life, modernism, literary critic

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