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'When the poet becomes the muse: Baudelaire and female composers'

Rolland, N. (2021) 'When the poet becomes the muse: Baudelaire and female composers'. Journal of Romance Studies, 21 (3). pp. 351-374. ISSN 1752-2331

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3828/jrs.2021.20


Women are ubiquitous in Charles Baudelaire’s poetry, presented either as ideal, unattainable figures, or as earthly, abominable creatures. Instead of examining the gaze of the poet on women, it is interesting to reverse the roles and to explore the gaze of women on Baudelaire, or more precisely what women hear in Baudelaire’s poetry: what happens when the poet becomes the muse? While the most famous musical settings of Baudelaire’s poems have been composed by men (Duparc, Fauré, Debussy), this article aims to uncover musical settings of Baudelaire’s poetry by twentieth-century female composers. In a first instance, this article offers an overview of twentieth-century songs by female composers; from the mélodies of Marie Jaëll to the contemporary settings of Camille Pépin, what do song settings of Baudelaire tell us about the visibility of female composers? Secondly, the article provides a detailed analysis of L’Albatros (1987), a music-theatre piece by Adrienne Clostre. By deconstructing Baudelaire’s poems, Clostre offers a reflection on creativity that cannot be separated from a general understanding of the place of female composers in society.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > French
ID Code:100274
Publisher:Liverpool University Press

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