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Posted May 22, 2013
Black Venus is a novel about Charles Baudelaire and his mistress
Black Venus is a novel about Charles Baudelaire and his mistress, Jeanne Duval. Charles Baudelaire was not a man of affluence, however, he yearned to be so. He desired the luxuries of life and strived for it, even at the risk of his own reputation. He spent money lavishly, gambling and womanizing, even indulging in drink and drugs. His mother and stepfather often came to his rescue when his debts got out of control and imposed a strict allowance, severely restricting him.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
And then in an obscure cabaret, he met the woman who would become his obsession, an alluring Creole woman from Haiti named Jeanne Duval. He dubbed her his Black Venus. She captivated him in every way and he wanted to possess her at all costs. She inspired his poetry - graphically sexual, explicit, and descriptive. She used Charles as a means to raise her own status in life. Jeanne even made clothing purchases at elite shops and charged them to Charles’ mother. Jeanne took everything she could from the relationship that was tumultuous and lasted for decades.
The novel truly takes the reader in the 19th century France, the fear of the revolution, the artists, the cafes. The poems Duval inspired were published, but due to their sexuality, were banned by the government, bankrupting his publisher and rendering Charles a very poor man indeed. Edward Manet befriends Charles and soon Manet paints Jeanne. Unlike Charles, however, his work brought Manet fame and wealth, and increased Duval’s fame.
Black Venus is a poignant novel, heart-breaking and forlorn, almost a tragedy. It is a tale of betrayal, jealousy, obsession, and forbidden love. A magnetic story to say the least!