Response to a Poem in Paris Spleen- The Urge to Paint

I noticed that in most of Baudelaire’s poetry, he makes it clear that he believes that art and poetry aren’t completely separate entities. In “the Urge to Paint”, the poet conveys his feelings through language, while the artist represents his muse that “fled so soon” (line 3) using images. The thing is, while the narrator is speaking, he is proving his point that an artist or poets’ main purpose is the same- to transfer some emotion or feeling to the reader. The writer and the poet strive to describe beauty and the world around them as they perceive it, so as the narrator speaks, Baudelaire makes sure that he carefully chooses his words so that he makes poetry into an art form that conveys a certain feeling to those reading it. My favorite line in the poem is, “But she makes me think rather of the moon, which surely marked her with its formidable influence; not the white moon of idylls, which resembles a frigid bride, but the moon sinister and intoxicating, hung in the depth of a stormy night and assaulted by moving clouds; not the peaceable discreet moon visiting the sleep of the pure, but the moon vanquished and rebellious, ripped from the sky and pressed by Thessalonian sorceresses to dance on terrified grasslands”. The narrator of this poem describes this “sinister and intoxicating” woman in a way that makes you really understand the kind of person she is, which, in turn, produces this mesmerizing feeling for the reader. Successful art is art that makes me experience something- no matter the feeling, if it is able to change my mood or allows me to view something the way the narrator views it, it is considered successful in my eyes, and I think Baudelaire would agree.


Response to Schiller and Rousseau

It’s quite fascinating to see two different philosophers from 18th and 19th centuries to take some time to stand back from the world and attempt to predict the future based on what they see is happening in the present. Merriam Webster defines a philosopher as “one who seeks a particular set of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life”, and, although many critics would argue that philosophers should propose solutions to their ideas, I would argue that a philosopher has done a lot already by seeking out the truth and bringing it to light for citizens.

Because Schiller was a “seeker for the truth”, it only makes sense that he critique the issue involving the modernization of society. In his writing “On Aesthetic Education”, Schiller realizes that the essence of science is to pursue the truth rather than to put science to use. Living in this modern society that values advancement and progress, it is easy to disagree with Schiller’s statement, however, that really depends on our view of what “progress” and “advancement” truly mean. In both Rousseau and Schiller’s eyes, the search for advancement in society can be found by taking a look at the ancient Greeks and their methods for progressing their civilizations. Rousseau and Schiller examine The Golden Age and argue that the Greeks shared some form of dignity that we can use today as a guide. According to Rousseau and Schiller, by progressing society, certain aspects of life have also digressed. For example, Rousseau argues that by going through industrialization and advancements in the sciences and arts, we lose a certain simplicity and realm of tradition. He argues that the more civilized we get, the less authentic and trustworthy we become. He predicts that sooner or later, we will ironically become victims to our own machines, and lose the beauty of honesty that was once there. I partly agree with Rousseau’s views because I too believe that the simplicity our grandparents had while growing up is pretty much gone now. It’s harder to trust people because with industrialization comes the desire to make our way to the top and consequently, to want more than we need. Having a job isn’t only to meet ends meet for some people, it’s become a way to raise ourselves in status, and, with that desire, people have become extremely complicated and greedy.

Schiller argues that we must create beautiful and good ideas in order to raise citizens with good taste, and while mentioning that we have to become exceptional examples for generations to come, he impressively makes the observation that art and science, instead of being seekers of truth, have evolved into mechanisms used to make things of profit. A good example of this would be the Hollywood industry. Movies that producers WANT to produce aren’t created anymore, but rather what they feel would make the most bang for their buck, are. I agree with Schiller’s statement. Nowadays, there are many reality shows aired on T.V. and although they can very addicting, I have to agree that they aren’t the best influence on society. I like to watch these “crappy shows” (as my mom would describe them), because I grew up hearing about them. When you grow up in a gossip-hungry time period, it’s easy to be sucked in. Schiller argues that by producing beautiful things that don’t mainly aim at making a ton of money, rather desire to make society beautiful is when beautiful people are created because they are influenced by the world around them, and with this, who wouldn’t agree?