Baudelaire's Media Aesthetics situates Charles Baudelaire in the midst of 19th-century media culture. It offers a thorough study of the role of newspapers, photography, and precinematic devices in Baudelaire's writings, while also discussing the cultural history of these media generally. The book reveals that Baudelaire was not merely inspired by the new media, but that he played with them, using them as frames of perception and ways of experiencing the world. His writings demonstrate how different media respond to one another and how the conventions of one medium can be paraphrased in another medium. Accordingly, Baudelaire's Media Aesthetics argues that Baudelaire should be seen merely as an advocate of “pure poetry,” but as a poet in a media saturated environment. It shows that mediation, montage, and movement are features that are central to Baudelaire's aesthetics and that his modernist aesthetics can be conceived of, to a large degree, as a media aesthetics.
Highlighting Baudelaire's interaction with the media of his age, Baudelaire's Media Aesthetics discusses the ways in which we respond to new media technology, drawing on perspectives from Walter Benjamin and Giorgio Agamben. Combining detailed research with contemporary theory, the book opens up new perspectives on Baudelaire's writings, the figure of the flâneur, and modernist aesthetics.