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Les Fleurs du Mal (1857) - Charles Baudelaire

Related: Charles Baudelaire - French literature - poetry

Vocabulary: spleen - boredom - evil

Influential to: Symbolist art movement - Decadent art movement - modernist literature

Related: more banned literature - outrage - 1857

Les Epaves frontispiece (1866) - Félicien Rops [detail]

If rape and poison, dagger and burning,
Have still not embroidered their pleasant designs
On the banal canvas of our pitiable destinies,
It's because our souls, alas, are not bold enough!

It's Boredom! — his eye brimming with spontaneous tear
He dreams of the gallows in the haze of his hookah.
You know him, reader, this delicate monster,
Hypocritical reader, my likeness, my brother!


Les Fleurs du Mal (literal trans. "The Flowers of Evil") is a volume of French poetry by Charles Baudelaire, important in the symbolist and modernist movements. The subject matter of these poems deals with themes relating to decadence and eroticism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_fleurs_du_mal [Jan 2005]

The author and the publisher were prosecuted under the regime of the Second Empire as an outrage aux bonnes mœurs (trans. "an insult to public decency"). As a consequence of this prosecution, Baudelaire was fined 300 francs. Six poems from the work were suppressed and the ban on their publiction was not lifted in France until 1949. On the other hand, upon reading Les Fleurs du Mal, Victor Hugo announced that Baudelaire had created "un nouveau frisson" (a new shudder, a new thrill) in literature. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_fleurs_du_mal [Jan 2005]

Fleurs du Mal illustrators

Carlos Schwabe: Paris, 1900, Charles Meunier, total edition: 77.
Image sourced here.

Here is an overview of all illustrated editions to be found at smoezel.nl.

The following illustrators are featured:

Abril - Bernard - Buffet - Cartault - Chimot - Chimot - Collot - Cornelius - Delacroix - Dignimont - Drouart - Dufour - Farneti - George-Roux - Grékoff - Hallman - Hauterives - Hofer - Janserge - Labocceta - Latour - Legrand - Legrand - Lemagny - Lemengeot - Leroy - Manceaux - Marcel-Béronn - Mauplot - Monnier - Pipard - Redon - Riche - Rochegrosse - Rochgrosse - Rodin - Rodin (facs) - Rops - Roubille - Saint-André - Sala - Schwabe - Serré - Spilimbergo - Trémois - Tzolakis - van Dongen

See also: Les Fleurs du Mal (1857) - Charles Baudelaire - poetry - illustration - French literature

New Directions edition

Flowers of Evil (1857) - Charles Baudelaire [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
The Flowers of Evil, which T.S. Eliot called the greatest example of modern poetry in any language, shocked the literary world of nineteenth century France with its outspoken portrayal of lesbian love, its linking of sexuality and death, its unremitting irony, and its unflinching celebration of the seamy side of urban life. Including the French texts and comprehensive explanatory notes to the poems, this extraordinary body of love poems restores the six poems originally banned in 1857, revealing the richness and variety of the collection. --from the publisher

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