Baudelaire and Black Metal: Performing Poetry under Perestroika

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


This chapter considers the reception of the poetry of Charles Baudelaire through the music of the Soviet metal band Chernyi Obelisk. It argues that Chernyi Obelisk's four Baudelaire settings, performed in Russian, as part of their early live sets in 1986/1987, offer an important part of the poet's reception history, within the Soviet Union. Taking as a starting point, Michael Robbins's claim that ‘metal and poetry are […] arts of accusation and instruction’, the chapter explores ideas of alienation and of the carnivalesque in Baudelaire's works, as presented through the medium of metal music. Focussing particular on settings of ‘Spleen’and ‘Une Gravure fantastique’, the chapter contends that Chernyi Obelisk's intertextual and interlingual dialogue with Baudelaire can be read as an aesthetic response to social and political uncertainty during the era of glasnost and perestroika.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArdrey, Caroline. "Baudelaire and Black Metal: Performing Poetry under Perestroika." In Multilingual Metal Music: Sociocultural, Linguistic and Literary Perspectives on Heavy Metal Lyrics
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)978-1-83909-949-6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameEmerald Studies in Metal Music and Culture


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