Transgressions et conformités poétiques dans les sonnets de Nerval et de Baudelaire

Translated title of the contribution: Transgressions and poetic conformities in the sonnets of Nerval and Baudelaire

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The delicate balance between poetic transgression and conformity plays an important role in the transformation of French poetic language that takes place in the sonnets of Nerval and Baudelaire. The particular structure of the sonnet emphasizes these two opposing pressures and highlights the innovative effects that the poet can obtain by playing on the tension that exists between them. Nerval and Baudelaire take advantage of the richness of this form while questioning its formal and conceptual limits. Baudelaire's "libertine sonnets" were considered controversial during his lifetime, but this poet cultivates the suggestive potential of the traditional division between quatrains and tercets to evoke the tensions and conflicts of modern life. Nerval's sonnets are more regular than Baudelaire's on a formal level, and Nerval exploits the conciseness of the sonnet to use symbols in a new way. However, the almost infinite multiplication of associations in his sonnets calls into question the ability of poetry to arrive at "truth", even problematizes the very notion of this concept. Like all great sonnettists, Nerval and Baudelaire modified this form, but kept its fundamental characteristics. They shaped the form and substance of the sonnet to write poems that were both deep and suggestive.
Translated title of the contributionTransgressions and poetic conformities in the sonnets of Nerval and Baudelaire
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)141-152
JournalSynergies Royaume Uni et Irlande
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Nerval
  • Baudelaire
  • sonnet
  • tradition
  • innovation


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