Artificial Paradises

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Overview

At the time of its release in 1860, Charles Baudelaire's "Artificial Paradises (Les Paradis Artificiels)" met with immediate praise. One of the most important French symbolists, Baudelaire led a debauched, violent, and ultimately tragic life, dying an opium addict in 1867. This book, a response to Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an Opium Eater, serves as a memoir of Baudelaire's last years.

In this beautifully wrought portrait of the effects of wine, opium, and hashish on the...

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Overview

At the time of its release in 1860, Charles Baudelaire's "Artificial Paradises (Les Paradis Artificiels)" met with immediate praise. One of the most important French symbolists, Baudelaire led a debauched, violent, and ultimately tragic life, dying an opium addict in 1867. This book, a response to Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an Opium Eater, serves as a memoir of Baudelaire's last years.

In this beautifully wrought portrait of the effects of wine, opium, and hashish on the mind, Baudelaire captures the dreamlike visions he experienced during his narcotic trances. These hallucinations, sometimes exquisite, sometimes disturbing, and the delusions of grandeur that often accompanied them, constitute the Paradis Artificiels, the gorgeous yet false worlds of ecstasy that eventually led to his ruin. Contrasting the effects of hashish and opium with those of wine, Baudelaire concludes that "wine exalts the will, hashish destroys it" and makes idlers of all those who use it.

This new translation of a controversial book provides fascinating reading as well as a key to the mind of a great writer.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This translation of Du vin et du haschisch (1851) and Les Paradis artificiels (1860) constitutes the first modern English version published in this last quarter century of Baudelaire's writings on the mood-altering drugs of his time. In contrast to his contemporary Gustave Flaubert (who purchased hashish but did not partake), Baudelaire experimented with the drug and eventually condemned its use because of its harmful effects. Though Du vin is Baudelaire's own contribution on the subject, Les Paradis artificiels is his translation of Thomas De Quincey's Confession of an English Opium Eater (1821). Alcoholism and drug abuse are only part of Baudelaire's broader view of the world of artificial paradises, which, in his poetic framework (his Fleurs du mal particularly), include any form of artifice used by humans to escape from their miserable condition. Diamond's introduction is a useful thumbnail coverage of the topic, and the notes at the end of the volume lead to further study. For readers of French literature.-Danielle Mihram, Univ. of Southern California
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806514833
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/19/1994
  • Pages: 204
  • Sales rank: 719,552
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
On Wine and Hashish [1851] 1
Artificial Paradises: Opium and Hashish 27
The Texts 161
Select Bibliography 163
Notes 165
Translator's Note 181
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