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Poetic ForcePoetry after Kant$
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Kevin McLaughlin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804791007

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804791007.001.0001

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§3 Poetic Reason of State

§3 Poetic Reason of State

(p.55) §3 Poetic Reason of State
Poetic Force

Kevin McLaughlin

Stanford University Press

This chapter starts from Walter Benjamin's interpretation of the phrase “reason of state” that Paul Valéry applies to Charles Baudelaire's poetry. After exploring how this phrase points to the interconnections between poetry and politics in Benjamin's writings on lyric, it goes on to explicate Baudelaire's reading of a book on the concept of reason of state by the Italian philosopher and historian Giuseppe Ferrari. The connections between Baudelaire's aesthetic theory of la modernité and Ferrari's politico-historical theory of reason of state are analyzed as a basis for reading a set of prose poems composed by Baudelaire during the period when he read Ferrari. Special attention is given to the poem from the Petits poëmes en prose entitled “Les Veuves” (“The Widows”).

Keywords:   force, power, poetry, reason of state, modernity, crowds

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