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Volume 15, Issue 2, Fall/Automne 2011

Kevin Newmark
Pages 57-81

A Poetics of Sharing
Political Economy in a Prose Poem by Baudelaire

The rehabilitation of aesthetics that is undertaken by Jacques Rancière for a thinking of both art and politics is as stylistically refreshing as it is philosophically appealing. The combination of vast scholarship and lively polemic that underpins all his analyses also lends his celebration of democracy, equality and humanity a persuasiveness that is difficult to resist. This paper examines how Rancière’s understanding of “the aesthetics of politics” differs from that of Walter Benjamin, especially in terms of Benjamin’s elaboration of the change sustained by “experience” in modernity. It considers how reading a prose poem by Baudelaire throws into relief what is at stake in this difference.