HUMS 355, Interpretations: Baudelaire

Meeting Time: 
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

Course Description:

An undergraduate seminar on the life and work of one the greatest poets of all time, and founder of modernity, Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867). Readings include œuvre de jeunesse, his collection of poems in verse, Les fleurs du mal, his collection of poems in prose, Le spleen de Paris, as well as his writings on fashion, contemporary culture, drugs, the arts, especially painting, his translations from English and American including Edgar Allan Poe, his private journals, the infamous late writings on Belgium and the Belgians, as well as his rare attempts at theater. His afterlives in literature, painting, music, dance, film, translation, and philosophy. Secondary materials including but not limited to Benjamin, Bonnefoy, Derrida, Fondane, Sartre. Readings in French, discussions in English.

Ability to read in French is necessary.

This course will fulfill the “Interpretations” requirement of the Humanities Major. 

Led by:

Professor Thomas Connolly

Thomas Connolly obtained his BA in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford in 2002. He spent three years at the École normale supérieure (Ulm) as ‘élève de la Sélection internationale,’ and completed a ‘Maîtrise’ and a ‘DEA’ at the Université de Paris IV–La Sorbonne. He received a PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University in May 2012.

Thomas’s research interests include nineteenth- and twentieth-century French and Francophone poetry, with emphasis on the prose poem, ekphrasis, and, more broadly, poetry’s relation to the visual arts. He is working on a book project that examines the interrelations of poetry and the visual arts in the Francophone Maghreb. He is the author of Paul Celan’s Unfinished Poetics: Readings in the Sous-Oeuvre (Legenda, 2018) (

Thomas is currently serving as Director of Undergraduate Studies in French.