Literature on trial
Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du mal (1857) and Flaubert, Madame Bovary (1856)
Thu. 9 December - from 6:15pm to 7:30pm - Free - in English
Join us online on Thursday 9 December 2021 from 6.15pm to 7.30pm for a talk with our special guest Dr Vladimir Kapor.
2021 marks the bicentenary of Gustave Flaubert’s and Charles Baudelaire’s (1821-1867) birth. Today, their best known works, Madame Bovary and Les Fleurs du mal, are considered literary classics, read and discussed in schools and universities across the world. Yet, when they first appeared, they were deemed dangerous. Their authors had to face trial for ‘offenses to public and religious morality and to good morals’ (‘offenses à la morale publique et religieuse et aux bonnes mœurs’). Flaubert was acquitted and rose to fame due to the public scandal surrounding his first novel. Baudelaire was found guilty and fined. The court also formally banned six poems from the original edition of Les Fleurs du mal from publication. On what grounds were these accusations made? What was the purpose of literary trials during the Second Empire (1851-1870)? This talk will revisit these forgotten causes célèbres and the ways they marked Flaubert and Baudelaire’s future career and reputation.
Dr Vladimir Kapor is a Lecturer in French at the University of Manchester. His research interests include exoticism and local colour in 19th-century French literature and art, and the colonial literature and culture of the Third French Republic.
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