“L’invitation possessive adjectives: “mon” v.1 “ma” v.1

“L’invitation au voyage” is a poem from the Flowers of Evil, more precisely from the section “Spleen et Ideal”, written by Charles Baudelaire, and published in 1857.

Some poems of this book are precursor of the emergence of a new esthetics; symbolism. This esthetics aims to dispute realistic representations thanks to the capacity of suggestion of words and images. Therefore, Baudelaire tries to retranscribe the part of spirituality hidden behind real appearances.  By inviting the reader on a journey that’s seems true at first sight, how does Baudelaire entail the reader into a poetic journey ? We shall try to analyse this invitation to travel through a triple approach: an invitation to love, an esthetic invocation and finally a invitation to visit a poetic universe. The first stanza begins with a prayer intended to a woman: “Mon enfant, ma soeur” v.1.

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“Mon enfant” refers to fragility and tenderness, and “ma soeur” evokes complicity, gentleness, and a chaste respect. This shows a certain balance in the presumed couple. As a matter of fact, the narrator seems to raise the woman from an infantile state to an accomplice by the mere fact of having elected her. This first verse gives the poem a mystical coloring which connotes a spiritual love. The rigor of the imperative verb used v.2: “Songe” is reduced by its oneiric magic, as it invites the woman to dream. This foreign country is less a place than a state, the destination of the journey has to do with the domain of dreams; it is referred to as a distant “la-bas” v.

3, and metaphorically described as “au pays qui te ressemble” v.6. The anaphora “Aimer à loisir / aimer a mourir” v.4/5 contributes to the enchantment, as “aimer à loisir” expresses a lack of constraints.

Furthermore, “aimer et mourir” confirms that the place is unreal, and the “la-bas” could be considered as a calling for an afterlife. The use of the word “ensemble” v.4 coupled with the use of possessive adjectives: “mon” v.1 “ma” v.1 underlines that their relationship is fusional. The rhyme scheme, which is alternatively a couplet then enclosed, and the alternance between feminine and masculine rhyme is an indicator of how connected the couple is. Peculiarly, as we pursue in reading the poem, the presence of the woman fades into the description of an interior in the second stanza, and of a port in the third. Nevertheless, the erotic continuity is ensured by the chorus that ends with “volupte”, but the second stanza not longer evokes the romantic relationship apart by mentioning “notre chambre”, and the third neither except when it mentions the attention directed towards quenching her “moindre desir” v.

33. At the end of the poem, it is possible that the lovers doze off, alongside with the fact that “le monde s’endort”. They fade into the picture described, and the love that they have for one another leads them to join eternity.

The falling asleep sends us back to “aimer et mourir” in the first stanza, and can be assimilated to a small death. It forms a loop in poem, as if their love was ecstatic and never-ending.The progressive erasure of the woman leads to wondering whether love is the main theme, especially since a landscape is superimposed on her in the second half of the first stanza.

The use of the conditional mode “decoreraient” v.17, “parlerait” v.24 in the second stanza indicates that it is an imaginary room. The place is apprehended by three senses; touch, with the word “polis” v.

16; sight, with “luisants” and “miroirs” v.15 and v.22; and finally the olfactive sense, with “odeurs” and “vagues senteurs de l’ambre”. Amber is a luxury product mainly because of its rarity, and has an aphrodisiac power; consequently it often appears in erotic poetry. Regarding the third stanza, there are two possibilities; first of all, the reader could consider that the room overlooks the docks; second of all, that the port is a canvas hung on the bedroom’s wall. The second possibility will be the one we will focus on thanks to textual evidence.

Indeed, “d’hyacinthe et d’or” v.38 ,clearly is artistic jargon regarding paint colours. What’s more, the use of infinitive mode v.30/32 “dormir” and “assouvir” creates an impression of stillness, which is characteristic of a painting. The impression of stillness is emphasized by the following personnification : v.30 “dormir ces vaisseaux” and metonymy v.

39 “Le monde s’endort”. It thus invites the reader to delve into the aesthetic universe of art. Art isn’t only represented visually in this poem.

Indeed, its composition is similar to a song’s composition: each stanza, which contain twelve verses, alternates between two pentasyllabics and one heptasyllabic, and is then followed by a chorus. Despite odd verses, the rhythm is regular and the poet achieves in creating a perfect harmony. This regularity, both visually and aurally, is highlighted by numerous diaeresis: « mystérieux » (v. 10), « orientale » (v.

23), « D’hyacinthe » (v. 38). The harmony is also due to the brevity and the flow of the verses. Indeed, the verses are short and characterised by many enjambments as well: (v. 2-3, 7-8, 9-12, 19-20, 24-26, 30-34, 39-40).

Fluidity is stressed by the alliteration on the letter ‘l’: « D’aller là-bas vivre ensemble » (v. 3), « Les soleils mouillés/De ces ciels brouillés » (v. 7-8), « Brillant à travers leurs larmes » (v. 11-12), « Luxe, calme et volupté » (v. 14, 28, 42), « Des meubles luisants/Polis par les ans » (v. 15-16), « Les plus rares fleurs/Mêlant leurs odeurs » (v.

18-19), « La splendeur orientale/Tout y parlerait/A l’âme en secret/Sa douce langue natale » (v. 23 à 26). The invitation to enter an aesthetic world passes by both visual and musical art.Most of all, this poem constitutes an invitation to enter a poetic and oneiric universe.

The first stanza is split into two equal parts; the first part, until the sixth verse, concerns directly the beloved woman. A transition is assured v.6 by the comparison drawn between the woman and the landscape described v.6-12. The poetry in the first stanza lies in the contemplation of the mix between the woman and a work of art by the spirit of the narrator: “Les soleils mouillés / De ces ciels brouillés / Pour mon esprit ont les charmes” v.7-9; he does not look at the similarity between the woman and the place, he feels it, as if he was using a sixth sense.

Through this imaginary and dreamy world, it is a poetical ideal that Baudelaire describes. This ideal is mainly characterised by synesthesias and connections between our five senses : “Les plus rares fleurs”, a visual representation, leads to activating our olfactive sense: “Mêlant leurs odeurs/Aux vagues senteurs de l’ambre”(v. 18-20), and the smell of amber leads to “La splendeur orientale” v.

23. The visual representation coupled with the smells mentioned brings us to making our soul hear something in its native language: “Tout y parlerait / A? l’a?me en secret / Sa douce langue natale” v.24-26. The most important characteristics of the baudelairien ideal are summed up in the two verses which constitute the chorus: « Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté/Luxe, calme, et volupté ». This chorus works gives to the poem a spell-binding, almost incantatory tone. What’s more, the structure “ne… que” expresses the fact that the poet wants to be concise, he does not what any words in this chorus to be unnecessary or redundant. The journey is made through the poetical language, and it may be the journey of a human life, resulting in death: “s’assoupir”, “dormir”, Overall, this poem regroups different ways of trying to overcome the spleen; amorous invitation, aesthetic contemplations and poetic reflections.

Baudelaire invites the reader in a poetic journey by stimulating the reader’s senses, and by guiding his imagination in order to lead him into a different universe, where “tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté, luxe, calme et volupté”.


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