Baudelaire, the great French poet of the mid nineteenth century whose powerful
writing ushered in a era of symbolism, is one of the most important poets
of the nineteenth century. Not only a poet of stunning imagery
and extraordinary musicality, he was also one of the first to herald that
new consciousness -- urban, pushing at the edges of things, uncertain of
itself -- which we, today, still recognize as our own modern way of being.
was almost as important as his poetry. His rejection of bourgeois
values, his use of drugs, his fascination with sex, his close friendships
with painters and other poets: all of these made him a sort of model for
the poet as a 'bohemian' figure. He is the archetype of the poet
as someone who lives his own life on the fringes of society, rebellious
in life style, dedicated to moving so far beyond the middle class that
his work shocks them so deeply that their either cry out, 'But is it art?'
or attempt to censor it as blasphemous, evil, pornographic.
of his biography are available on-line in several of the links below.
To hear a discussion of four poems
from Baudelaire celebrated Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers
of Evil), Just CLICK on this photograph of the poet, below:
A wonderful evocative response
to Baudelaire is Henri Matisse's drawing:
Henri Matisse - portrait de Baudelaire
Etching from the "Poésies de Stéphane Mallarmé," Editions
Image from"Henri Matisse roman" par Aragon, aux Editions Gallimard (1971)
The complete Les
Fleurs du Mal, in French, indexed so each poem is easy to find.
Another similar site is Complete
Another complete Fleurs, but not indexed --
and that means it is not only less easy to use, it takes much longer
to load; but this also makes it searchable with a search command:
William A. Sigler in 1999 translated the entire
of Evil into this indexed web page. The translations seem good
Baudelaire's prose poems Spleen
de Paris compete and indexed, in French only.
Although a page made for a university class might
not seem too exciting, this is a fine place to start with information on
Baudelaire life, his criticism, his poetry, and some translations: Also
a page of good links. University
A similar page, also with good biography and a selection
of poems: North
Carolina State University
A good number of translated poems, in solid translations;
the index of the poems is maddeningly printed in dark blue on a black background
and hence virtually unreadable: Translations
Three translations (with facing French) by
Shapiro from his 1998 book translating Les Fleurs.
A site in French
with lots of internal links. What makes this site interesting even
to readers who can only read English is the wealth of paintings used to
illuminate the site(s).
Detail of a painting by Fantin-Latour
This page created and composed by Huck Gutman,
Professor of English at the University of Vermont
Comments by e-mail to:firstname.lastname@example.org