“‘À une dame créole’ de Charles Baudelaire : de l’ambiguïté colonialiste à l’ambiguïté plurielle”

Eve Celia Morisi

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This essay supplements existing readings of Baudelaire’s sonnet “À une dame créole” (1845) by apprehending it not as a univocal piece centered on colonialist ambiguity, but as a locus of semantic plurality where this ambiguity coexists with its self-subversion. I argue that, by conferring polysemous connotations on the sonnet’s key terms and by cultivating irony and the paradigms of illusion and representation, Baudelaire bars us from assigning a definite meaning to his composition, establishing it instead as a space of slippage and mobility. Lastly, I read the self-subversion of the text’s apparently unquestionable colonialist ambiguity in its dramatic and lyrical intertexts as well as in its inclination for self-reflexivity which paradoxically reveal that the poet further distances himself from a position of detachment and power.

Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)547-557
JournalNineteenth-Century French Studies
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Baudelaire, "À une dame créole," colonialism, ambiguity

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