Poetry on Stage: Baudelaire’s theater voices

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Taking Barthes’ concept of a Baudelairean ‘pre-theater’ as its starting point, this article sets out to interrogate where Baudelaire’s theater voices may be located, both in theory and in practice. It examines two specific examples of performed/staged readings of Baudelaire’s poetry by two French actors (Pierre Blanchar and Fabrice Luchini). Through detailed analyses of ‘La Géante’ and ‘Au Lecteur’, it sets out to explore Baudelaire’s voices at variance and proxy voices which seem, perversely, to promote a work’s longevity beyond the published page. It concludes by suggesting that Baudelaire embeds diverging, conflicting, and contaminating theater voices into his poetic language, and that this is what enables them to move beyond a private stage and onto a public one.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-113
Number of pages15
JournalNineteenth-Century French Studies
Issue number1-2
Early online date12 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2019


  • Baudelaire
  • poetry on stage
  • theater voice
  • peri-theater
  • Barthes
  • Blanchar
  • Luchini
  • La Géante
  • Au Lecteur


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