Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque is a collection of previously-published short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1840.
The Temptation of Saint Redon
Author: Stephen F. Eisenman, Odilon Redon
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Bristling with demons, grotesques, and bizarre apparitions, the graphic work of Odilon Redon has often seemed to be the product of a mind unhinged. In The Temptation of Saint Redon, Stephen F. Eisenman argues instead that these works are Redon's conscious and considered response to changing social realities—an attempt to find refuge from the forces of modernization in an imaginative world of the macabre and the fantastic. Eisenman's careful attention to the circumstances of Redon's life (1840-1916) allows him to bring into focus the interconnections between Redon's complex style and the culture and society of his time. Born and raised on a sixteenth-century estate near Bordeaux, Redon was immersed as a child in traditional rural culture. "I spent my entire childhood in the Médoc completely free, among peasant children," he recalled in his memoirs. "I heard them tell supernatural tales—witches still exist there." Indeed, local tales and legends of witches, ghosts, one-eyed monsters, evil eyes, and wood fairies figure prominently in Redon's graphic works, which he called his noirs, or "blacks." After formal training at Bordeaux and Paris in the 1850s and 1860s, Redon began to chart his independent artistic course. Eisenman shows how, rejecting both naturalism and classicism, Redon, a prototypical Symbolist, found in grotesque and epic genres the expression of organic communities and precapitalist societies. He places Redon's desire for this imagined world of superstitious simplicity a desire manifest in his entire mature artistic practice in the context of contemporary avant-garde movements. Redon's great noirs of the 1870s and 1880s, dreamlike configurations of seemingly irreconcilable elements from portraits, still lifes, and landscapes, show an increasingly subtle control of connotation and a complex indebtedness to caricature, allegory, and puns. Many of the noirs also visually interpret works by like-minded authors, including Baudelaire, Flaubert, Poe, and Mallarmé, one of Redon's close friends. Eisenman's analysis of the noirs underscores Redon's interest in creating an imaginative, even fantastic art, that could act directly on the human spirit. In addition to deepening our understanding of Redon and his art, The Temptation of Saint Redon exposes a link between place, politics, personal history, and the artistic imagination.
The Brush and the Pen
Author: Dario Gamboni
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
French symbolist artist Odilon Redon (1840–1916) seemed to thrive at the intersection of literature and art. Known as “the painter-writer,” he drew on the works of Poe, Baudelaire, Flaubert, and Mallarmé for his subject matter. And yet he concluded that visual art has nothing to do with literature. Examining this apparent contradiction, The Brush and the Pen transforms the way we understand Redon’s career and brings to life the interaction between writers and artists in fin-de-siècle Paris. Dario Gamboni tracks Redon’s evolution from collaboration with the writers of symbolism and decadence to a defense of the autonomy of the visual arts. He argues that Redon’s conversion was the symptom of a mounting crisis in the relationship between artists and writers, provoked at the turn of the century by the growing power of art criticism that foreshadowed the modernist separation of the arts into intractable fields. In addition to being a distinguished study of this provocative artist, The Brush and the Pen offers a critical reappraisal of the interaction of art, writing, criticism, and government institutions in late nineteenth-century France.
Edgar Allan Poe
Author: Charles Baudelaire
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
The earliest foreign study of the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe, the text presented in this volume is something of a landmark in the history of comparative literature. Baudelaire’s first and longest essay on Poe was published in the Revue de Paris is 1852; it was revised and abridged for use as the preface of the first volume of his translation of Poe’s tales, Histoires extraordinaires. This study was significant especially in the area of Franco-American literary relations because it was the basis of not only the French attitude toward Poe, but of his reputation throughout Europe—one might almost say, throughout the world. The essay on Poe has never been the subject of a separate publication. This edition reveals for the first time the sources of information used by Baudelaire. It shows that a considerable part of the study was translated literally from articles by John M. Daniel and John R. Thompson in the Southern Literary Messenger (1849–50). Previous editions vary widely in excellence because almost all suffered from the mistaken belief that Baudelaire was acquainted with the American edition of Poe’s works when he wrote the 1852 essay and that it was largely based on Rufus Griswold’s Memoir contained in that edition. This led to the commentary and notes that were unconsciously misleading and in many cases false. The introduction to this edition presents a complete and accurate account of the genesis of Baudelaire’s essay, with supporting documents showing his indebtedness to American, French, and British sources. It enables the reader to distinguish clearly between what Baudelaire himself knew or thought about Poe and what he borrowed from other writers.
Author: Dario Gamboni
Publisher: Reaktion Books
French artist Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) once reproached the Impressionists for searching “around the eye and not at the mysterious centre of thought.” But what did he mean by this enigmatic phrase? In this innovative investigation into Gauguin’s art and thought, Dario Gamboni illuminates Gauguin’s quest for this “mysterious centre” and offers a fresh look at the artist’s output in all media—from ceramics and sculptures to prints, paintings, and his large corpus of writings. Foregrounding Gauguin’s conscious use of ambiguity, Gamboni unpacks what the artist called the “language of the listening eye.” Gamboni shows that the interaction between perception, cognition, and imagination was at the core of Gauguin’s work, and he traces a line of continuity in them that has been previously overlooked. Emulating Gauguin’s wide-ranging curiosity with literature, psychology, theology, and the natural sciences—not to mention the whole of art history—this richly illustrated book provides new insight into the life and works of this well-known yet little understood artist.
Lire les contes de Poe dans la traduction de Baudelaire revient autant à assimiler qu'à rejeter, autant à saluer le génie d'un auteur bicéphale qu'à se prémunir contre les gallicismes intellectuels qui parfois en troublent la pensée. Pour singulière qu'elle soit, l'entreprise n'a rien de surhumain. Il suffit d'aplanir quelques obstacles, d'oublier une tradition critique qui a souvent simplifié à l'extrême le message baudelairien, pour retrouver presque intacte la richesse, la variété et l'exceptionnelle modernité de l'œuvre première. »