Essay, Research Paper: Art In 19th Century


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Realism, Naturalism, and Symbolism were popular modes of expression by writers
of that era. Such modes of expression were the use of nature in their writings.
Two poets that really stand out among the rest are Charles Baudelaire
(1821-1867) and Paul Verlaine (1844-1896). Baudelaire was referred to by many as
the "first Modern Poet" and the "father of modern
criticism". Verlaine like Baudelaire was a symbolist poet, he was also
French and referred to as the "Prince of Poets". Both these poets
touch on nature in their poems. It was in Baudelaire's Song of Autumn I and
Verlaine's Autumn Song that similarities and differences were most evident.
Their views of autumn had melodramatic view of death and at the same time can
contrast with one another. Throughout this paper I will discuss the parallelism
and divergence between these two poems. In Baudelaire's first stanza of Song of
Autumn I, he explains how the end of summer is near and the weather will become
cold. He starts the reader off in the end of summer. "Soon we shall plunge
into the chilly fogs; Farewell, Swift light! Our summers are too short (line
1-2, pg. 1151). Baudelaire then begins to explain the chopping down of the trees
to gather firewood. This idea of the rhythmic thump firewood being delivered is
repeated throughout his poem. In Verlaine's Autumn Song, the first stanza is
told in a very monotonous tone much like the first stanza of Song of autumn.
Verlaine talks about long sobs and the feeling he has in heart, what he
describing is the end of summer and begging of the gloomy season of autumn. This
is exactly the same that Baudelaire describes in his first stanza. Verlaine
difference in this stanza is that he starts the poem already in autumn whereas
Bauderlaire starts his poem in the end of the summer. In the second stanza of
Autumn Song, Verlaine discusses the feeling he has inside of him. "Choking
and pale when I mind the tale the hours keep"(lines 6-9, pg. 1169).
Verlaine then relates back to memories of the summer and this makes him cry. My
memory strays down other days and I weep,"(lines 10-12, pg. 1169). He also
even makes references to idea of daylight savings time, "the hours
keep,"(line 9, pg.1169). In that line he is saying that along with the
gloomy aura of autumn there is now an extra hour. In Song of Autumn I,
Baudelaire's second stanza follows the theme of Verlaine. Here Baudelaire like
Verlaine explains his personal feeling of autumn. "All of winter will
gather in my soul: Hate, anger, horror, chills, the hard forced
work;"(lines 4-5, pg. 1151). Baudelaire however has a more cynical approach
to his feeling; he describes in several adjectives the extent of his pain.
Baudelaire's next two lines really personify his feelings, "And. Like the
sun in his hell by the North Pole, My heart will be only a red and frozen
block,"(lines 6-8, pg. 1151). What he is exemplifying in these lines is the
strong hate that burns inside of him. Baudelaire seems to loathe everything that
deals with autumn. As these poems progress there is an evident contrast in the
tones of the poets writings. Verlaine has maintained a very slow and monotonous
tone throughout, whereas Bauderlaire has been very boisterous about his
feelings. Similar to a fire that has gasoline thrown on his fire his raging
bigger and bigger with each stanza. In Song of Autumn I, stanza three, there
really is no correlation between this stanza and the third stanza in Autumn
Song. There is however a major contrast with this stanza and the whole poem by
Verlaine. Baudelaire has kept a pattern of mentioning the idea of the chopping
of firewood. He has kept it to an ever-other stanza pattern. Verlaine has no
correlation between autumn and firewood. Baudelaire looks at autumn in a way
that squirrel might. A squirrel spends autumn preparing for long haul of winter
so the squirrel his constantly working through autumn. Baudelaire explains
"All of winter will gather in my soul, the hard forced
work,"(lines4-5, pg. 1151). He is saying the he has a lot of work to do to
before the winter comes. In stanza three you see that constant chopping of logs
is taking it's toll on Baudelaire. "I shudder, hearing every log that
falls; No scaffold could be built with hollower sounds,"(lines 9-10, pg.
1151). It's almost as like Baudelaire is teetering on the brink of insanity with
all the chopping of the trees. This stanza helps to really show how Song of
Autumn I and Autumn Song, as similar as they are have differences. The last
stanzas of both poems seem as though that they have no correlation, but
underneath it there is a relationship between the stanzas and death. Verlaine
looks at autumn in the last stanza as the final stand, he has still kept the
monotonous tone throughout the poem. "And I let me go where ill winds blow,
now here, now there"(lines 13-15,pg.1169). He goes to talk about how makes
him feel like dead leaf being sent all over. "Even as a dead leaf,
anywhere,"(lines16-17,pg.1169). Verlaine takes the approach that the autumn
while carrying an essence of death, leaves one is a depressing state.
Bauderlaire puts a spin on his poem; it seems that Baudelaire's writing has
almost assumed the role of a half-crazed man. He has gone from a tone of hate
and rage, to a tone of a man that has been consumed by the madness. "It
seems to me, lulled by monotonous shocks, as if they were hastily nailing a
coffin today."(lines 13-15,pg.1151). Baudelaire the relates back to
memories of summer "Yesterday was summer. Now autumn knocks,"(line
15,pg.1151). He then ends the poem with an idea of death. "That mysterious
sound is like someone's going away,"(line 16, pg. 1151). I feel that
Baudelaire in this line is describing that the change from summer to autumn is
like losing someone you love. It is very understandable for Charles Baudelaire
and Paul Verlaine to have similar poems. Both were symbolist's poets and from
France, They live relatively close in time. That is why it is not that unusual
for their styles of nature to be similar. The thing that makes these two writers
so unique is the fact that they both can have such great similarities between
their feelings on a certain part of nature, and at the same time both have such
distant ideas of writing it. Both these writers had the same feelings when they
look at autumn; it was dark desolate time of the year according to both writers.
Baudelaire however seemed enrage with this time of year, the fact of saying
goodbye to summer to bring on Autumn fuel a fire deep inside of him. Verlaine
looks at the coming of autumn as a dismal time of the year and this was apparent
in the melancholy tone he keeps throughout the poem. Charles Bauderlaire and
Paul Verlaine showed that their poems had a lot similitude and differences of
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