The City and Literature The City In European Literature - Essay

The City In European Literature

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

Peter Brooks

SOURCE: "Romantic Antipastoral and Urban Allegories," in the Yale Review, Vol. LXIV, No. 1, October, 1974, pp. 11-26.

[In the following excerpt, Brooks compares and contrasts urban and rural settings as they are used by Baudelaire, Rousseau, and Balzac]

The artist of the modern, wrote Charles Baudelaire in 1859, is "tyrannized by the circumstance." In his article on Constantin Guys, the "painter of modern life," Baudelaire tries to define the distinguishing traits of modernity in art: "Modernity is the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent, one half of art, whose other half is the eternal and immutable." That is, the artist...

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