BACKGROUND & MINI-PROFILE
19th Century French poet, essayist, and author. Considered influential to modern writing as a Symbolist poet and, with selected other 19th Century poets, under the label The Decadents.
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TRIVIA, TIDBITS, GOSSIP
Baudelaire was the first person to be called (by Gautier) "decadent." Before that, the adjective had not been used to describe a person, but had been more commonly used to describe (decaying) things, ages, and civilizations. Baudelaire and certain other 19th Century French poets, such as Verlaine and Mallarme, are sometimes as a group labelled "The Decadents."
A great admirer of Edgar Allan Poe, Baudelaire spent years (1852-1865) translating many of Poe's works into French and thus contributed largely to Poe's popularity in France.
LAURELS & BARBS
Baudelaire's book of poetry, Les Fleurs du Mal [Flowers of Evil] (1857), caused enough controversy at the time of its publication that Baudelaire, the book's publisher and printer were all prosecuted for obscenity and blasphemy.
"It seems to me that I will always be happy in the place where I am not." ("Il me semble que je serais toujours bien la ou je ne suis pas.")
[The good bourgeois is] "an enemy of art, of perfume, a fanatic of utensils."
"One must be for ever drunken: that is the sole question of importance. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time that bruises your shoulders and bends you to the earth, you must be drunken without cease. But how? With wine, with poetry, with virtue, with what you please. But be drunken. And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace, on the green grass by a moat, or in the dull loneliness of your chamber, you should waken up, your intoxication already lessened or gone, ask of the wind, of the wave, of the star, of the bird, of the timepiece; ask of all that flees, all that sighs, all that revolves, all that sings, all that speaks, ask of these the hour; and wind and wave and star and bird and timepiece will answer you: "It is the hour to be drunken! Lest you be the martyred slaves of Time, intoxicate yourselves, be drunken without cease! With wine, with poetry, with virtue, or with what you will." "Get Drunk," a prose poem from Paris Spleen.
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