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Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Language and Culture Studies--French and Italian

First Advisor

Karen Humphreys


At first glance, a nineteenth-century poet and a twentieth-first century slam artist seem to have little common. Yet we can trace some important similarities and motifs between the two. Baudelaire in Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne, outlines a new concept of modernity [be prepared to explain your understanding of modernity thru Baud.] in reference to the connection between ephemeral and eternal life experiences influenced by urban change. Cities, then and today are in a constant state of change and, according to Baudelaire’s poetry, urban experience endures in a specific moment of time.

Slam, in seemingly stark contrast, started out as a movement in the mid-eighties in the United States in Chicago. The principal idea behind this art form is that everyone can be a poet. In France, slam appealed particularly to urban youth, a new form of expression that allowed them to share their everyday experiences. While some critics may not view slam as a true art form that is comparable to more classical poetry, this paper seeks to demonstrate the connection between some of the texts of Tableaux Parisiens of Baudelaire and those of a contemporary slameur, Grand Corps Malade. The banning of Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal and the debate of slam as an art form offers another link between these two artists, a struggle for a sense of artistic legitimacy. Both Baudelaire and Grand Corps Malade have transformed their experiences in Paris and Saint Denis, respectively, into a lasting art form that not only presents their urban experiences through poetry but also offers a critique of the changing urban environment and the decay, perceived and stereotyped, of these two cities.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Language and Culture Studies. Accessible to members of the Trinity community only.