Charles Baudelaire

Last updated

Charles Baudelaire
Etienne Carjat, Portrait of Charles Baudelaire, circa 1862.jpg
Charles Baudelaire by Étienne Carjat, 1863
BornCharles Pierre Baudelaire
9 April 1821
Paris, France
Died31 August 1867(1867-08-31) (aged 46)
Paris, France
OccupationPoet, art critic, philosopher
NationalityFrench
Education Lycée Louis-le-Grand
Period1844–1866
Literary movement Decadent

Signature Baudelaire signatur.svg

Charles Pierre Baudelaire ( UK: /ˈbdəlɛər/ , US: /ˌbd(ə)ˈlɛər/ ; [1] French:  [ʃaʁl bodlɛʁ] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); 9 April 1821 – 31 August 1867) was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe.

British English is the standard dialect of English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".

American English Set of dialects of the English language spoken in the United States

American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. American English is considered one of the most influential dialects of English globally, including on other varieties of English.

French poetry is a category of French literature. It may include Francophone poetry composed outside France and poetry written in other languages of France.

Contents

His most famous work, a book of lyric poetry titled Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in the rapidly industrializing Paris during the mid-19th century. Baudelaire's highly original style of prose-poetry influenced a whole generation of poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé, among many others. He is credited with coining the term "modernity" (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility of artistic expression to capture that experience. [2]

Lyric poetry formal type of poetry

Lyric poetry is a formal type of poetry which expresses personal emotions or feelings, typically spoken in the first person. The term derives from a form of Ancient Greek literature, the lyric, which was defined by its musical accompaniment, usually on a stringed instrument known as a lyre. The term owes its importance in literary theory to the division developed by Aristotle between three broad categories of poetry: lyrical, dramatic, and epic.

<i>Les Fleurs du mal</i> volume of French poetry by Charles Baudelaire

Les Fleurs du mal is a volume of French poetry by Charles Baudelaire. First published in 1857, it was important in the symbolist and modernist movements. The poems deal with themes relating to decadence and eroticism.

Paul Verlaine French poet

Paul-Marie Verlaine was a French poet associated with the Decadent movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French poetry.

Early life

Baudelaire was born in Paris, France, on 9 April 1821, and baptized two months later at Saint-Sulpice Roman Catholic Church. [3] His father, Joseph-François Baudelaire (1759-1827), [4] a senior civil servant and amateur artist, was 34 years older than Baudelaire's mother, Caroline (née Dufaÿs) (1794-1871). [5] Joseph-François died during Baudelaire's childhood, at rue Hautefeuille, Paris, on February 10, 1827. The following year, Caroline married Lieutenant Colonel Jacques Aupick, who later became a French ambassador to various noble courts. Baudelaire's biographers have often seen this as a crucial moment, considering that finding himself no longer the sole focus of his mother's affection left him with a trauma, which goes some way to explaining the excesses later apparent in his life. He stated in a letter to her that, "There was in my childhood a period of passionate love for you." [6] Baudelaire regularly begged his mother for money throughout his career, often promising that a lucrative publishing contract or journalistic commission was just around the corner.

Baudelaire was educated in Lyon, where he boarded. At fourteen he was described by a classmate as "much more refined and distinguished than any of our fellow pupils ... we are bound to one another ... by shared tastes and sympathies, the precocious love of fine works of literature." [7] Baudelaire was erratic in his studies, at times diligent, at other times prone to "idleness". Later, he attended the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris, studying law, a popular course for those not yet decided on any particular career. He began to frequent prostitutes and may have contracted gonorrhea and syphilis during this period. He also began to run up debts, mostly for clothes. Upon gaining his degree in 1839, he told his brother "I don't feel I have a vocation for anything." His stepfather had in mind a career in law or diplomacy, but instead Baudelaire decided to embark upon a literary career. His mother later recalled: "Oh, what grief! If Charles had let himself be guided by his stepfather, his career would have been very different.... He would not have left a name in literature, it is true, but we should have been happier, all three of us." [8]

Lyon Prefecture and commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Lyon or Lyons is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located in the country's east-central part at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about 470 km (292 mi) south from Paris, 320 km (199 mi) north from Marseille and 56 km (35 mi) northeast from Saint-Étienne. Inhabitants of the city are called Lyonnais.

Lycée Louis-le-Grand French school in the heart of the Quartier latin in Paris, France

The Lycée Louis-le-Grand is a prestigious secondary school located in Paris. Founded in 1563 by the Jesuits as the Collège de Clermont, it was renamed in King Louis XIV of France's honor after he extended his direct patronage to it in 1682. It offers both a sixth-form college curriculum, and a post-secondary-level curriculum, preparing students for entrance to the elite Grandes écoles for research, such as the École normale supérieure (Paris), for engineering, such as the École Polytechnique, or for business, such as HEC Paris. Students at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand are called magnoludoviciens.

Gonorrhea sexually transmitted infection

Gonorrhea, colloquially known as the clap, is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Infection may involve the genitals, mouth, and/or rectum. Infected men may experience pain or burning with urination, discharge from the penis, or testicular pain. Infected women may experience burning with urination, vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding between periods, or pelvic pain. Complications in women include pelvic inflammatory disease and in men include inflammation of the epididymis. Many of those infected, however, have no symptoms. If untreated, gonorrhea can spread to joints or heart valves.

Portrait of Baudelaire, painted in 1844 by Emile Deroy (1820-1846) Baudelaire 1844.jpg
Portrait of Baudelaire, painted in 1844 by Emile Deroy (1820–1846)

His stepfather sent him on a voyage to Calcutta, India, in 1841 in the hope of ending his dissolute habits. The trip provided strong impressions of the sea, sailing, and exotic ports, that he later employed in his poetry. [9] (Baudelaire later exaggerated his aborted trip to create a legend about his youthful travels and experiences, including "riding on elephants".) On returning to the taverns of Paris, he began to compose some of the poems of "Les Fleurs du Mal". At 21, he received a sizable inheritance but squandered much of it within a few years. His family obtained a decree to place his property in trust, [10] which he resented bitterly, at one point arguing that allowing him to fail financially would have been the one sure way of teaching him to keep his finances in order.

Baudelaire became known in artistic circles as a dandy and free-spender, going through much of his inheritance and allowance in a short period of time. During this time, Jeanne Duval became his mistress. She was rejected by his family. His mother thought Duval a "Black Venus" who "tortured him in every way" and drained him of money at every opportunity. [11] Baudelaire made a suicide attempt during this period.

Dandy man who places particular importance upon physical appearance

A dandy, historically, is a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of self. A dandy could be a self-made man who strove to imitate an aristocratic lifestyle despite coming from a middle-class background, especially in late 18th- and early 19th-century Britain.

Jeanne Duval French actress

Jeanne Duval was a Haitian-born actress and dancer of mixed French and black African ancestry. For 20 years, she was the muse of French poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire. They met in 1842, when Duval left Haiti for France, and the two remained together, albeit stormily, for the next two decades. Duval is said to have been the woman whom Baudelaire loved most, in his life, after his mother. She was born in Haiti on an unknown date, sometime around 1820.

He took part in the Revolutions of 1848 and wrote for a revolutionary newspaper. However, his interest in politics was passing, as he was later to note in his journals.

In the early 1850s, Baudelaire struggled with poor health, pressing debts, and irregular literary output. He often moved from one lodging to another to escape creditors. He undertook many projects that he was unable to complete, though he did finish translations of stories by Edgar Allan Poe.

Upon the death of his stepfather in 1857, Baudelaire received no mention in the will but he was heartened nonetheless that the division with his mother might now be mended. At 36 he wrote her: "believe that I belong to you absolutely, and that I belong only to you." [12] His mother died on 16 August 1871, outliving her son by almost four years.

Published career

His first published work, under the pseudonym Baudelaire Dufaÿs, [13] was his art review "Salon of 1845", which attracted immediate attention for its boldness. Many of his critical opinions were novel in their time, including his championing of Delacroix, and some of his views seem remarkably in tune with the future theories of the Impressionist painters.

In 1846, Baudelaire wrote his second Salon review, gaining additional credibility as an advocate and critic of Romanticism. His continued support of Delacroix as the foremost Romantic artist gained widespread notice. [14] The following year Baudelaire's novella La Fanfarlo was published.

The Flowers of Evil

The first edition of Les Fleurs du mal with author's notes Fleurs du mal.jpg
The first edition of Les Fleurs du mal with author's notes

Baudelaire was a slow and very attentive worker. However he was often sidetracked by indolence, emotional distress and illness, and it was not until 1857 that he published his first and most famous volume of poems, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil). [15] Some of these poems had already appeared in the Revue des deux mondes (Review of Two Worlds) in 1855, when they were published by Baudelaire's friend Auguste Poulet Malassis. [16] [17] Some of the poems had also previously appeared as "fugitive verse" in various French magazines during the previous decade. [18]

The poems found a small, yet appreciative audience. However, greater public attention was given to their subject matter. The effect on fellow artists was, as Théodore de Banville stated, "immense, prodigious, unexpected, mingled with admiration and with some indefinable anxious fear". [19] Gustave Flaubert, recently attacked in a similar fashion for Madame Bovary (and acquitted), was impressed and wrote to Baudelaire: "You have found a way to rejuvenate Romanticism.... You are as unyielding as marble, and as penetrating as an English mist." [20]

The principal themes of sex and death were considered scandalous for the period. He also touched on lesbianism, sacred and profane love, metamorphosis, melancholy, the corruption of the city, lost innocence, the oppressiveness of living, and wine. Notable in some poems is Baudelaire's use of imagery of the sense of smell and of fragrances, which is used to evoke feelings of nostalgia and past intimacy. [21]

The book, however, quickly became a byword for unwholesomeness among mainstream critics of the day. Some critics called a few of the poems "masterpieces of passion, art and poetry," but other poems were deemed to merit no less than legal action to suppress them. [22] J. Habas led the charge against Baudelaire, writing in Le Figaro : "Everything in it which is not hideous is incomprehensible, everything one understands is putrid." Baudelaire responded to the outcry in a prophetic letter to his mother:

"You know that I have always considered that literature and the arts pursue an aim independent of morality. Beauty of conception and style is enough for me. But this book, whose title (Fleurs du mal) says everything, is clad, as you will see, in a cold and sinister beauty. It was created with rage and patience. Besides, the proof of its positive worth is in all the ill that they speak of it. The book enrages people. Moreover, since I was terrified myself of the horror that I should inspire, I cut out a third from the proofs. They deny me everything, the spirit of invention and even the knowledge of the French language. I don't care a rap about all these imbeciles, and I know that this book, with its virtues and its faults, will make its way in the memory of the lettered public, beside the best poems of V. Hugo, Th. Gautier and even Byron." [23]

Illustration cover for Les Epaves, by Baudelaire's friend Felicien Rops Rops Les Epaves 1866.jpg
Illustration cover for Les Épaves , by Baudelaire's friend Félicien Rops

Baudelaire, his publisher and the printer were successfully prosecuted for creating an offense against public morals. They were fined, but Baudelaire was not imprisoned. [24] Six of the poems were suppressed, but printed later as Les Épaves (The Wrecks) (Brussels, 1866). Another edition of Les Fleurs du mal, without these poems, but with considerable additions, appeared in 1861. Many notables rallied behind Baudelaire and condemned the sentence. Victor Hugo wrote to him: "Your fleurs du mal shine and dazzle like stars.... I applaud your vigorous spirit with all my might." [25] Baudelaire did not appeal the judgment, but his fine was reduced. Nearly 100 years later, on May 11, 1949, Baudelaire was vindicated, the judgment officially reversed, and the six banned poems reinstated in France. [25]

In the poem "Au lecteur" ("To the Reader") that prefaces Les Fleurs du mal, Baudelaire accuses his readers of hypocrisy and of being as guilty of sins and lies as the poet:

... If rape or arson, poison or the knife
Has wove no pleasing patterns in the stuff
Of this drab canvas we accept as life—
It is because we are not bold enough!
(Roy Campbell's translation)

Final years

Charles Baudelaire by Nadar, 1855 Charles Baudelaire.jpg
Charles Baudelaire by Nadar, 1855

Baudelaire next worked on a translation and adaptation of Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater . [26] Other works in the years that followed included Petits Poèmes en prose (Small Prose poems ); a series of art reviews published in the Pays, Exposition universelle (Country, World Fair); studies on Gustave Flaubert (in L'Artiste , October 18, 1857); on Théophile Gautier (Revue contemporaine, September 1858); various articles contributed to Eugene Crepet's Poètes francais; Les Paradis artificiels: opium et haschisch (French poets; Artificial Paradises: opium and hashish) (1860); and Un Dernier Chapitre de l'histoire des oeuvres de Balzac (A Final Chapter of the history of works of Balzac) (1880), originally an article "Comment on paye ses dettes quand on a du génie" ("How one pays one's debts when one has genius"), in which his criticism turns against his friends Honoré de Balzac, Théophile Gautier, and Gérard de Nerval. [16]

Jeanne Duval, painted by Edouard Manet in 1862 (Budapest Museum of Fine Arts) Jeanne Duval.JPG
Jeanne Duval, painted by Édouard Manet in 1862 (Budapest Museum of Fine Arts)
Apollonie Sabatier, muse and one time mistress, painted by Vincent Vidal Apollonie Sabatier-Vincent Vidal.jpg
Apollonie Sabatier, muse and one time mistress, painted by Vincent Vidal
Cenotaph of Charles Baudelaire, Montparnasse Cemetery Charles Baudelaire tomb in Montparnasse Cemetery.jpg
Cenotaph of Charles Baudelaire, Montparnasse Cemetery
Grave of Baudelaire in Cimetiere du Montparnasse ChBaudelaire-Grab.JPG
Grave of Baudelaire in Cimetière du Montparnasse

By 1859, his illnesses, his long-term use of laudanum, his life of stress, and his poverty had taken a toll and Baudelaire had aged noticeably. But at last, his mother relented and agreed to let him live with her for a while at Honfleur. Baudelaire was productive and at peace in the seaside town, his poem Le Voyage being one example of his efforts during that time. [27] In 1860, he became an ardent supporter of Richard Wagner.

His financial difficulties increased again, however, particularly after his publisher Poulet Malassis went bankrupt in 1861. In 1864, he left Paris for Belgium, partly in the hope of selling the rights to his works and also to give lectures. [28] His long-standing relationship with Jeanne Duval continued on-and-off, and he helped her to the end of his life. Baudelaire's relationships with actress Marie Daubrun and with courtesan Apollonie Sabatier, though the source of much inspiration, never produced any lasting satisfaction. He smoked opium, and in Brussels he began to drink to excess. Baudelaire suffered a massive stroke in 1866 and paralysis followed. After more than a year of aphasia, he received the last rites of the Catholic Church. [29] The last two years of his life were spent, in a semi-paralyzed state, in "maisons de santé" in Brussels and in Paris, where he died on 31 August 1867. Baudelaire is buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris.

Many of Baudelaire's works were published posthumously. After his death, his mother paid off his substantial debts, and at last she found some comfort in Baudelaire's emerging fame. "I see that my son, for all his faults, has his place in literature." She lived another four years.

Poetry

Who among us has not dreamt, in moments of ambition, of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical without rhythm and rhyme, supple and staccato enough to adapt to the lyrical stirrings of the soul, the undulations of dreams, and sudden leaps of consciousness. This obsessive idea is above all a child of giant cities, of the intersecting of their myriad relations.

Dedication of Le Spleen de Paris

Baudelaire is one of the major innovators in French literature. His poetry is influenced by the French romantic poets of the earlier 19th century, although its attention to the formal features of verse connects it more closely to the work of the contemporary "Parnassians". As for theme and tone, in his works we see the rejection of the belief in the supremacy of nature and the fundamental goodness of man as typically espoused by the romantics and expressed by them in rhetorical, effusive and public voice in favor of a new urban sensibility, an awareness of individual moral complexity, an interest in vice (linked with decadence) and refined sensual and aesthetic pleasures, and the use of urban subject matter, such as the city, the crowd, individual passers-by, all expressed in highly ordered verse, sometimes through a cynical and ironic voice. Formally, the use of sound to create atmosphere, and of "symbols" (images that take on an expanded function within the poem), betray a move towards considering the poem as a self-referential object, an idea further developed by the Symbolists Verlaine and Mallarmé, who acknowledge Baudelaire as a pioneer in this regard.

Beyond his innovations in versification and the theories of symbolism and "correspondences", an awareness of which is essential to any appreciation of the literary value of his work, aspects of his work that regularly receive much critical discussion include the role of women, the theological direction of his work and his alleged advocacy of "satanism", his experience of drug-induced states of mind, the figure of the dandy, his stance regarding democracy and its implications for the individual, his response to the spiritual uncertainties of the time, his criticisms of the bourgeois, and his advocacy of modern music and painting (e.g., Wagner, Delacroix). He made Paris the subject of modern poetry. He would bring the city's details to life in the eyes and hearts of his readers. [30]

Critiques

Baudelaire was an active participant in the artistic life of his times. As critic and essayist, he wrote extensively and perceptively about the luminaries and themes of French culture. He was frank with friends and enemies, rarely took the diplomatic approach and sometimes responded violently verbally, which often undermined his cause. [31] His associations were numerous and included: Gustave Courbet, Honoré Daumier, Franz Liszt, Champfleury, Victor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert, Balzac and the artists and writers that follow.

Edgar Allan Poe

In 1847, Baudelaire became acquainted with the works of Poe, in which he found tales and poems that had, he claimed, long existed in his own brain but never taken shape. Baudelaire saw in Poe a precursor and tried to be his French contemporary counterpart. [32] From this time until 1865, he was largely occupied with translating Poe's works; his translations were widely praised. Baudelaire was not the first French translator of Poe, but his "scrupulous translations" were considered among the best. These were published as Histoires extraordinaires (Extraordinary stories) (1856), Nouvelles histoires extraordinaires (New extraordinary stories) (1857), Aventures d'Arthur Gordon Pym , Eureka , and Histoires grotesques et sérieuses (Grotesque and serious stories) (1865). Two essays on Poe are to be found in his Oeuvres complètes (Complete works) (vols. v. and vi.).

Eugène Delacroix

A strong supporter of the Romantic painter Delacroix, Baudelaire called him "a poet in painting". Baudelaire also absorbed much of Delacroix's aesthetic ideas as expressed in his journals. As Baudelaire elaborated in his "Salon of 1846", "As one contemplates his series of pictures, one seems to be attending the celebration of some grievous mystery.... This grave and lofty melancholy shines with a dull light ... plaintive and profound like a melody by Weber." [14] Delacroix, though appreciative, kept his distance from Baudelaire, particularly after the scandal of Les Fleurs du mal. In private correspondence, Delacroix stated that Baudelaire "really gets on my nerves" and he expressed his unhappiness with Baudelaire's persistent comments about "melancholy" and "feverishness". [33]

Richard Wagner

Baudelaire had no formal musical training, and knew little of composers beyond Beethoven and Weber. Weber was in some ways Wagner's precursor, using the leitmotif and conceiving the idea of the "total art work" ("Gesamtkunstwerk"), both of which gained Baudelaire's admiration. Before even hearing Wagner's music, Baudelaire studied reviews and essays about him, and formulated his impressions. Later, Baudelaire put them into his non-technical analysis of Wagner, which was highly regarded, particularly his essay "Richard Wagner et Tannhäuser à Paris". [34] Baudelaire's reaction to music was passionate and psychological. "Music engulfs (possesses) me like the sea." [34] After attending three Wagner concerts in Paris in 1860, Baudelaire wrote to the composer: "I had a feeling of pride and joy in understanding, in being possessed, in being overwhelmed, a truly sensual pleasure like that of rising in the air." [35] Baudelaire's writings contributed to the elevation of Wagner and to the cult of Wagnerism that swept Europe in the following decades.

Théophile Gautier

Gautier, writer and poet, earned Baudelaire's respect for his perfection of form and his mastery of language, though Baudelaire thought he lacked deeper emotion and spirituality. Both strove to express the artist's inner vision, which Heinrich Heine had earlier stated: "In artistic matters, I am a supernaturalist. I believe that the artist can not find all his forms in nature, but that the most remarkable are revealed to him in his soul." [36] Gautier's frequent meditations on death and the horror of life are themes which influenced Baudelaire's writings. In gratitude for their friendship and commonality of vision, Baudelaire dedicated Les Fleurs du mal to Gautier.

Édouard Manet

Manet and Baudelaire became constant companions from around 1855. In the early 1860s, Baudelaire accompanied Manet on daily sketching trips and often met him socially. Manet also lent Baudelaire money and looked after his affairs, particularly when Baudelaire went to Belgium. Baudelaire encouraged Manet to strike out on his own path and not succumb to criticism. "Manet has great talent, a talent which will stand the test of time. But he has a weak character. He seems to me crushed and stunned by shock." [37] In his painting Music in the Tuileries , Manet includes portraits of his friends Théophile Gautier, Jacques Offenbach, and Baudelaire. [38] While it's difficult to differentiate who influenced whom, both Manet and Baudelaire discussed and expressed some common themes through their respective arts. Baudelaire praised the modernity of Manet's subject matter: "almost all our originality comes from the stamp that 'time' imprints upon our feelings." [39] When Manet's famous Olympia (1863), a portrait of a nude prostitute, provoked a scandal for its blatant realism mixed with an imitation of Renaissance motifs, Baudelaire worked privately to support his friend, though he offered no public defense (he was, however, ill at the time). When Baudelaire returned from Belgium after his stroke, Manet and his wife were frequent visitors at the nursing home and she would play passages from Wagner for Baudelaire on the piano. [40]

Nadar

Nadar (Félix Tournachon) was a noted caricaturist, scientist and important early photographer. Baudelaire admired Nadar, one of his closest friends, and wrote: "Nadar is the most amazing manifestation of vitality." [41] They moved in similar circles and Baudelaire made many social connections through him. Nadar's ex-mistress Jeanne Duval became Baudelaire's mistress around 1842. Baudelaire became interested in photography in the 1850s and, denouncing it as an art form, advocated its return to "its real purpose, which is that of being the servant to the sciences and arts". Photography should not, according to Baudelaire, encroach upon "the domain of the impalpable and the imaginary". [42] Nadar remained a stalwart friend right to Baudelaire's last days and wrote his obituary notice in Le Figaro .

Philosophy

Many of Baudelaire's philosophical proclamations were considered scandalous and intentionally provocative in his time. He wrote on a wide range of subjects, drawing criticism and outrage from many quarters.

Love

"There is an invincible taste for prostitution in the heart of man, from which comes his horror of solitude. He wants to be 'two'. The man of genius wants to be 'one'.... It is this horror of solitude, the need to lose oneself in the external flesh, that man nobly calls 'the need to love'." [43] [44]

Marriage

"Unable to suppress love, the Church wanted at least to disinfect it, and it created marriage." [43]

The artist

"The more a man cultivates the arts, the less randy he becomes.... Only the brute is good at coupling, and copulation is the lyricism of the masses. To copulate is to enter into another—and the artist never emerges from himself." [43]

Pleasure

"Personally, I think that the unique and supreme delight lies in the certainty of doing 'evil'–and men and women know from birth that all pleasure lies in evil." [43]

"But what can eternity of damnation matter to someone who has felt, if only for a second, the infinity of delight??"

Politics

Along with Poe, Baudelaire named the arch-reactionary Joseph de Maistre as his maître à penser [45] and adopted increasingly aristocratic views. In his journals, he wrote, "There is no form of rational and assured government save an aristocracy. A monarchy or a republic, based upon democracy, are equally absurd and feeble. The immense nausea of advertisements. There are but three beings worthy of respect: the priest, the warrior and the poet. To know, to kill and to create. The rest of mankind may be taxed and drudged, they are born for the stable, that is to say, to practise what they call professions." [46]

The public

"In this regards, my friend, you're like the public, to whom one should never offer a delicate perfume. It exasperates them. Give them only carefully selected garbage." [47]

Time

"The will to work must dominate, for art is long and time is brief." [47] (quoting Hippocrates)

"Each man bears within himself his own dose of natural opium, incessantly secreted and renewed, and, from birth to death, how many hours can we count filled with pleasure, with prosperous and effective action?" [47]

Influence

Portrait by Gustave Courbet, 1848 Gustave Courbet 033.jpg
Portrait by Gustave Courbet, 1848

Baudelaire's influence on the direction of modern French (and English) language literature was considerable. The most significant French writers to come after him were generous with tributes; four years after his death, Arthur Rimbaud praised him in a letter as 'the king of poets, a true God'. [48] In 1895, Stéphane Mallarmé published a sonnet in Baudelaire's memory, 'Le Tombeau de Charles Baudelaire'. Marcel Proust, in an essay published in 1922, stated that along with Alfred de Vigny, Baudelaire was 'the greatest poet of the nineteenth century'. [49]

In the English-speaking world, Edmund Wilson credited Baudelaire as providing an initial impetus for the Symbolist movement, by virtue of his translations of Poe. [50] In 1930, T. S. Eliot, while asserting that Baudelaire had not yet received a "just appreciation" even in France, claimed that the poet had "great genius" and asserted that his "technical mastery which can hardly be overpraised ... has made his verse an inexhaustible study for later poets, not only in his own language". [51] In a lecture delivered in French on "Edgar Allan Poe and France" (Edgar Poe et la France) in Aix-en-Provence in April 1948, Eliot stated that "I am an English poet of American origin who learnt his art under the aegis of Baudelaire and the Baudelairian lineage of poets." [52] Eliot also alluded to Baudelaire's poetry directly in his own poetry. For example, he quoted the last line of Baudelaire's 'Au Lecteur' in the last line of Section I of The Waste Land .'[ citation needed ]

At the same time that Eliot was affirming Baudelaire's importance from a broadly conservative and explicitly Christian viewpoint, [53] left-wing critics such as Wilson and Walter Benjamin were able to do so from a dramatically different perspective. Benjamin translated Baudelaire's Tableaux Parisiens into German and published a major essay on translation [54] as the foreword.

In the late 1930s, Benjamin used Baudelaire as a starting point and focus for his monumental attempt at a materialist assessment of 19th-century culture, Das Passagenwerk. [55] For Benjamin, Baudelaire's importance lay in his anatomies of the crowd, of the city and of modernity. [56] He says that, in Les Fleurs du mal , "the specific devaluation of the world of things, as manifested in the commodity, is the foundation of Baudelaire's allegorical intention." [57] François Porche published a poetry collection called Charles Baudelaire: Poetry Collection in memory of Baudelaire.[ citation needed ]

Vanderbilt University has "assembled one of the world's most comprehensive research collections on ... Baudelaire". [58] Les Fleurs du mal has a number of scholarly references. [59]

Works

Baudelaire, Bibliotheque de la Pleiade, OEuvres completes (Complete Works), volume I. Baudelaire, Bibliotheque de la Pleiade, OEuvres completes, volume I, dos et jaquette.jpg
Baudelaire, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Œuvres complètes (Complete Works), volume I.


Musical adaptations

See also

Related Research Articles

Stéphane Mallarmé French Symbolist poet

Stéphane Mallarmé, pen name of Étienne Mallarmé, was a French poet and critic. He was a major French symbolist poet, and his work anticipated and inspired several revolutionary artistic schools of the early 20th century, such as Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, and Surrealism.

Théophile Gautier French writer

Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier was a French poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist, and art and literary critic.

Symbolism (arts) art movement

Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts.

Prose poetry is poetry written in prose form instead of verse form, while preserving poetic qualities such as heightened imagery, parataxis, and emotional effects.

Art critic person who specializes in evaluating art

An art critic is a person who is specialized in analyzing, interpreting and evaluating art. Their written critiques or reviews contribute to art criticism and they are published in newspapers, magazines, books, exhibition brochures and catalogues and on web sites. Some of today's art critics use art blogs and other online platforms in order to connect with a wider audience and expand debate about art.

Richard Joseph Howard is an American poet, literary critic, essayist, teacher, and translator. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and is a graduate of Columbia University, where he studied under Mark Van Doren, and where he teaches. He lives in New York City.

<i>Le Spleen de Paris</i> collection of prose poems by Charles Baudelaire

Le Spleen de Paris, also known as Paris Spleen or Petits Poèmes en prose, is a collection of 50 short prose poems by Charles Baudelaire. The collection was published posthumously in 1869 and is associated with literary modernism.

Tristan Klingsor, birth name Léon Leclère, was a French poet, musician, painter and art critic, best known for his artistic association with the composer Maurice Ravel.

Flower(s) of Evil may refer to:

"Les Litanies de Satan" is a poem by Charles Baudelaire, published as part of Les Fleurs du mal. The date of composition is unknown, but there is no evidence that it was composed at a different time to the other poems of the volume.

Le Parnasse contemporain is composed of three volumes of poetry collections, published in 1866, 1871 and 1876 by the editor Alphonse Lemerre, which included a hundred French poets, such as Leconte de Lisle, Théodore de Banville, Heredia, Gautier, Catulle Mendès, Baudelaire, Sully Prudhomme, Mallarmé, François Coppée, Charles Cros, Léon Dierx, Louis Ménard, Verlaine, Villiers de L'Isle-Adam and Anatole France.

<i>Luxe, Calme et Volupté</i> painting by Henri Matisse

Luxe, Calme et Volupté is an oil painting by the French artist Henri Matisse. Both foundational in the oeuvre of Matisse and a pivotal work in the history of art, Luxe, Calme et Volupté is considered the starting point of Fauvism. This painting is a dynamic and vibrant work created early on in his career as a painter. It displays an evolution of the Neo-Impressionist style mixed with a new conceptual meaning based in fantasy and leisure that had not been seen in works before.

La Fanfarlo is a work by French poet Charles Baudelaire, first published in January 1847. The novella describes a fictionalised account of the writer's love affair with a dancer, Jeanne Duval.

The Absinthe Drinker (Manet) painting by Édouard Manet

The Absinthe Drinker is an early painting by Édouard Manet, c.1859, considered to be his first major painting and first original work.

Ernest Christophe French sculptor

Ernest Christophe was a French sculptor, a student of François Rude and a friend of Charles Baudelaire. Rude assigned him to help with the bronze recumbent effigy to Éléonore-Louis Godefroi Cavaignac, a French politician. The funerary monument is signed Rude et Christophe, son jeune élève. His Le Masque sculpture won Christophe third place in the Paris Salon in 1876 and two of his sculptures, La Fatalité (Fatality) and Le Baiser suprême were acquired by the Musée du Luxembourg.

<i>Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire</i>

The Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire constitute a song cycle for voice and piano by Claude Debussy, on poems taken from Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire. Composed from December 1887 to March 1889, these five highly developed vocal pieces were not well received by Parisian musical circles because of the Wagnerian influence they revealed.

<i>Fleurs de Marécage</i>

Fleurs de Marécage is a collection of French poems by Dutch poet J. Slauerhoff, first published in 1929. Some are poems originally written in French, others are French translations by the poet of his originally Dutch poems.

L'Albatros, is a poem by decadent French poet Charles Baudelaire.

References

Notes

  1. "Baudelaire". Merriam-Webster.
  2. "By modernity I mean the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent which make up one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immutable." Charles Baudelaire, "The Painter of Modern Life" in The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays, edited and translated by Jonathan Mayne. London: Phaidon Press, 13.
  3. Charles Baudelaire, Richard Howard. Les Fleurs Du Mal. David R. Godine Publisher, 1983, p.xxv. ISBN   0-87923-462-8, ISBN   978-0-87923-462-1.
  4. Ziegler, Jean (March 1979). "F. Baudelaire (1759-1827) Peintre et Amateur D'art". Gazette des Beaux-Arts (in French). 121 (pt. 1): 109–134.
  5. Boquel, anne; Kern, Étienne (2010). Une histoire des parents d'écrivains : De Balzac à Marguerite Duras (in French). Paris, France: Editions Flammarion. p. 274. ISBN   978-2-0812-2833-7.
  6. Richardson 1994, p. 16
  7. Richardson 1994, p. 35
  8. Richardson 1994, p. 70
  9. Richardson 1994, pp. 67–68
  10. Richardson 1994, p. 71
  11. Richardson 1994, p. 75
  12. Richardson 1994, p. 219.
  13. Vicaire, Georges (1894). Manual de L'Amateur de Livres du XIXe Siècle: 1801-1893. 1. Paris: Librairie A. Rouquette. p. 339.
  14. 1 2 Richardson 1994, p. 110.
  15. Clark, Carol (1995). "Notes on the Text". Selected Poems. By Charles Baudelaire. London: Penguin Books Ltd. p. xxiii. ISBN   978-0-14-044624-1.
  16. 1 2 Chisholm 1911.
  17. Baudelaire, Charles. Les Fleurs du mal. Paris: Revue des Deux Mondes (XXVe année, seconde série de la nouvelle période, tome dixième), 1855. pp. 1079–1093
  18. Huneker, James. Introductory preface to: The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire. New York: Brentano's, 1919. p. xvii
  19. Richardson 1994, p. 236.
  20. Richardson 1994, p. 241.
  21. Richardson 1994, p. 231.
  22. Richardson 1994, pp. 232–237
  23. Richardson 1994, p. 238.
  24. Richardson 1994, p. 248
  25. 1 2 Richardson 1994, p. 250.
  26. Richardson 1994, p. 311.
  27. Richardson 1994, p. 281.
  28. Richardson 1994, p. 400
  29. "Baudelaire: Une Micro-Histoire".
  30. Haine, Scott (2000). The History of France (1st ed.). Greenwood Press. p.  112. ISBN   0-313-30328-2.
  31. Richardson 1994, p. 268.
  32. Richardson 1994, p. 140.
  33. Hyslop, Lois Boe (1980). Baudelaire, Man of His Time. Yale University Press. p.  14. ISBN   0-300-02513-0.
  34. 1 2 Hyslop (1980), p. 68.
  35. Hyslop (1980), p. 69
  36. Hyslop (1980), p. 131.
  37. Hyslop (1980), p. 55.
  38. "Music in the Tuileries Gardens". The National Gallery . Retrieved July 13, 2008.
  39. Hyslop (1980), p. 53.
  40. Hyslop (1980), p. 51.
  41. Hyslop (1980), p. 65.
  42. Hyslop (1980), p. 63.
  43. 1 2 3 4 Richardson 1994, p. 50
  44. Baudelaire, Charles (1919). His Prose and Poetry. New York: Boni and Liveright, inc. p. 239.
  45. "The Cambridge Companion to Baudelaire". cambridge.org.
  46. "Intimate journals :: :: University of Virginia Library". virginia.edu.
  47. 1 2 3 Baudelaire, Charles. Translated by William H. Crosby, The Flowers of Evil & Paris Spleen, BOA Editions, Ltd., 1991.
  48. Rimbaud, Arthur: Oeuvres complètes, p. 253, NRF/Gallimard, 1972.
  49. Concerning Baudelaire in Proust, Marcel: Against Sainte-Beuve and Other Essays, p. 286, trans. John Sturrock, Penguin, 1994.
  50. Wilson, Edmund: Axel's Castle, p. 20, Fontana, 1962 (originally published 1931).
  51. 'Baudelaire', in Eliot, T. S.: Selected Essays, pp. 422 and 425, Faber & Faber, 1961.
  52. Eliot, T.S.: Typescript, Hayward Bequest [held at King's College Archives, University of Cambridge]; subsequently adapted for the lecture later published as From Poe to Valéry, The Hudson Review Vol. 2, No. 3 (Autumn, 1949), pp. 327-342
  53. cf. Eliot, 'Religion in Literature', in Eliot, op. cit., p. 388.
  54. 'The Task of the Translator', in Benjamin, Walter: Selected Writings Vol. 1: 1913–1926, pp. 253–263, Belknap/Harvard, 1996.
  55. Benjamin, Walter: The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin, Belknap/Harvard, 1999.
  56. Benjamin, Walter (1996), "The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire", in Benjamin, Walter (ed.), Selected writings: Vol. 4 1938–1940, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, pp. 3–92, ISBN   9780674010765.
  57. Benjamin, Walter (1996), "The study begins with some reflections on the influence of Les Fleurs du mal", in Benjamin, Walter (ed.), Selected writings: Vol. 4 1938–1940, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, pp. 94–98, ISBN   9780674010765.
    See also: Marder, Elissa (May 2016). "Inhuman beauty: Baudelaire's bad sex". differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies . 27 (1): 1–24. doi:10.1215/10407391-3522733.
  58. "Library.vanderbilt.edu" (PDF).
  59. "Google Scholar". scholar.google.com.
  60. "Baudelaire Song Project – 200+ poems but how many songs settings?".
  61. "Давид Тухманов". popsa.info.
  62. "Livre - Mylène de Hugues Royer".
  63. "Exsangue". www.facebook.com.
  64. root. "About Modern Cubism". www.moderncubism.com. Archived from the original on July 19, 2017. Retrieved June 20, 2017.

Sources

Online texts

Single works