...in a volume of dozen lines of Milton, Proper and Prior, with a paper from the Spectator and a chapter from the Sterne are eulogized by a thousand pens-there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and slighting the performance which have only genius, wit and taste to recommend them.
The imagination eulogized by Baudelaire is in his own case more often than not a synonym for desire or despair. His critical exigencies are, like those of the profoundly sick man that he was, harsh and imperative and illusory in the sense of release temporarily obtained. Yet imagination is also the faculty that gives Baudelaire a royal sense of equality with other creative artists; he uses his status as a poet to boost his activities as a critic, claiming, with total justification in his case, that criticism is a creative affair, a fine rather than applied art.Charles Baudelaire
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