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Charles Baudelaire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Charles Pierre Baudelaire (April 9 ,1821 -August 31, 1867) was one of the most influential French poets . He was also an important critic and translato

He also suffered with manic depressive illness (bipolar disorder)

Life and work

Baudelaire was born in Paris . His father, who was a senior civil servant and an amateur artist , died in 1827, and in the following year his mother married a lieutenant colonel named Aupick, who was later became a French ambassador to various courts Baudelaire was educated in Lyon and at the Collège Louis-le-Grand in Paris. On gaining his degree in 1839 he decided to embark upon a literary career, and for the next two years led a somewhat irregular life, which led his guardians, in 1841 , to send him on a voyage to India . When he returned to Paris, after less than a year's absence, he was of age; but in a year or two his extravagance threatened to exhaust his small inheritance, and his family obtained a decree to place his property in trust.

His art reviews of 1845 and 1846 attracted immediate attention for the boldness with which he propounded his views: many of his critical opinions were novel in their time, but have since been generally accepted. He took part with the revolutionaries in 1848 and for some years was interested in republican politics, but his permanent convictions were aristocratic and Catholic . Baudelaire was a slow and fastidious worker, and it was not until 1857 that he produced his first and most famous volume of poems , Les fleurs du mal Some of these had already appeared in the Revue des deux mondes, when they were published by Baudelaire's friend Auguste Poulet Malassis , who had inherited a printing business at Alencon . The poems found a small but appreciative audience, but greater public attention was given to their subject matter. The principal themes of sex and death were considered scandalous, and the book became a by-word for unwholesomeness among mainstream critics of the day. Victor Hugo, writing to the poet, said "Vous dotez le ciel de l'art d'un rayon macabre, vous créez un frisson nouveau". Baudelaire, his publisher, and the printer were successfully prosecuted for creating an offense against public morals. 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

Six of the poems were suppressed, but printed later as Les Epaves (Brussels , 1866 . Another edition of Les fleurs du mal, without these poems, but with considerable additions, appeared in 1861

His other works include Petits Poèmes en prose; a series of art reviews published in the Pays, Exposition universelle; studies on Gustave Flaubert (in Lartisge, 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 (1860); and Un Dernier Chapitre de l'histoire des oeuvres de Balzac (1880), originally an article entitled "Comment on paye ses dettes quand on a du génie", in which his criticism turns against his friends Honoré de Balzac Théophile Gautier, and Gerard de Nerval

Baudelaire had learnt English in his childhood, and Gothic novels such as Lewis's The Monk became some of his favorite reading matter. In 1846 and 1847 he became acquainted with the works of Edgar Allan Poe , in which he found tales and poems which had, he claimed, long existed in his own brain, but had never taken shape. From this time till 1865 he was largely occupied with his translated versions of Poe's works, which were widely praised. These were published as Histoires extraordinaires (1852), Nouvelles histoires extraordinaires (1857), Aventures d'Arthur Gordon Pym (see The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym , Eureka, and Histoires grotesques et sérieuses (1865 ). Two essays on Poe are to be found in his Oeuvres complètes (vols. v. and vi.).

Meanwhile his financial difficulties increased, particularly after his publisher Poulet Malassis went bankrupt in 1861 , and in 1864 he left Paris for Belgium , partly in the hope of selling the rights to his works. For many years he had a long-standing relationship with a black woman , whom he helped to the end of his life. He had recourse to opium , and in Brussels he began to drink to excess . Paralysis followed, and the last two years of his life were spent in "maisons de santé" in Brussels and in Paris, where he died on August 31, 1867. Many of his works were published posthumously.

He is buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse , Paris.


Baudelaire is one of the most famous decadent poets, but before the 20th century , when his work underwent considerable re-evaluation, he was generally considered by many to be merely a drug addict and a very vulgar author. His importance among serious literary critics and writers was, however, rarely in dispute. He was one of the first to recognize and to commend Poe's literary worth, and was also a noted art critic.

Baudelaire's confrontation of depression with the consumption of drugs such as opium , hashish and alcohol was a major influence on his work. Many of his poems were influenced by his interest in "les correspondances", or synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is the mixing of the senses , that is, the ability to smell colors or see sounds. He wrote several poems about the subject itself, such as "Correspondances", and used imagery and symbolism based on the experiences of synaesthesiacs. In general, Baudelaire was a sensualist, in love with sensations, and he tried to experience them and express them in abundance.

Andre Breton claimed that Baudelaire had been one of the first surrealists

Baudelaire was affected by bipolar disorder commonly known as manic depression.


Salon de 1845, 1845 </wiki/1845>

Salon de 1846, 1846 </wiki/1846>

La Fanfario, 1847 </wiki/1847>

Les fleurs du mal </wiki/Les_fleurs_du_mal>, 1857 </wiki/1857>

Les paradis artificiels </wiki/Les_paradis_artificiels>, 1860 </wiki/1860>

Réflexions sur Quelques-uns de mes Contemporains </w/index.php?title=R%E9flexions_sur_Quelques-uns_de_mes_Contemporains&action=edit>, 1861 </wiki/1861>

Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne </w/index.php?title=Le_Peintre_de_la_Vie_Moderne&action=edit>, 1863 </wiki/1863>

Curiosités Esthétiques </w/index.php?title=Curiosit%E9s_Esth%E9tiques&action=edit>, 1868 </wiki/1868>

L'art romantique </w/index.php?title=L%27art_romantique&action=edit>, 1868 </wiki/1868>

Le Spleen de Paris/Petits Poémes en Prose </w/index.php?title=Le_Spleen_de_Paris/Petits_Po%E9mes_en_Prose&action=edit>, 1869 </wiki/1869>

Oeuvres Posthumes et Correspondance Générale, 1887 </wiki/1887>-1907 </wiki/1907>

Fusées, 1897 </wiki/1897>

Mon Coeur Mis à Nu, 1897 </wiki/1897>

Oeuvres Complètes, 1922 </wiki/1922>-53 (19 vols.)

Mirror of Art, 1955 </wiki/1955>

The Essence of Laughter, 1956 </wiki/1956>

Curiosités Esthétiques, 1962 </wiki/1962>

The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays, 1964 </wiki/1964>

Baudelaire as a Literary Critic, 1964 </wiki/1964>

Arts in Paris 1845-1862, 1965 </wiki/1965>

Selected Writings on Art and Artist, 1972 </wiki/1972>

Selected Letters of Charles Baudelaire, 1986 </wiki/1986>

Critique d'art; Critique musicale, 1992 </wiki/1992>

in English

"The Painter of Modern Life" Complete Annotated Text at Lines of Advance <> (

Selected works at Poetry Archive <> (

Another selection <> (

[edit </w/index.php?title=Charles_Baudelaire&action=edit&section=7>]


External links

An overview <> (

A large site in English <> (

A comprehensive website in French <> (

Today in Literature - page on Baudelaire <> ( <> (

This article incorporates text from the public domain </wiki/Public_domain> 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica </wiki/1911_Encyclop%E6dia_Britannica>.

Retrieved from "<>"

Categories </w/index.php?title=Special:Categories&article=Charles_Baudelaire>: 1911 Britannica </wiki/Category:1911_Britannica> | 1821 births </wiki/Category:1821_births> | 1867 deaths </wiki/Category:1867_deaths> | French poets </wiki/Category:French_poets>


Article </wiki/Charles_Baudelaire>

Discussion </wiki/Talk:Charles_Baudelaire>

Edit this page </w/index.php?title=Charles_Baudelaire&action=edit>

History </w/index.php?title=Charles_Baudelaire&action=history>

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights </wiki/Wikipedia:Copyrights> for details).

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