by Claude Pichois

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
His life marked by debt, syphilis, alcohol, opium, mistresses and cheap hotels, French poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) exemplifies the figure of the modern artist as a rebel against bourgeois society. This careful, exhaustively researched biography lacks verve and is nearly devoid of literary criticism, but as a record of the poet's day-to-day existence it will prove valuable to scholars. Professor at the Sorbonne and at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, Pichois suggests that Baudelaire made himself economically dependent on his mother in order to re-create his childhood and compete with his hated stepfather. We see Baudelaire as rebellious schoolboy, deliberately eccentric bohemian, anarchistic political journalist, unlucky collector of old paintings and, in a dramatic courtroom chapter, as convicted offender of public morality (fined for his now-classic Fleurs du Mal ). Snippets of poems, letters and essays, expertly woven into the narrative, lend moments of immediacy. Illustrated. (Feb.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Pichois brings to his biography of Baudelaire a full mastery of all that pertains to the life and works of this 19th-century French poet. His is thus the most thorough biography of Baudelaire in English to date. One only wishes that Pichois's profound familiarity with Baudelaire's writings (he edited the prestigious Pleiade edition of the complete works and correspondence of Baudelaire) and with past and current scholarship on Baudelaire had resulted in a more balanced work that would have served to introduce readers, particularly the uninitiated, to the beauty of Baudelaire's writings, especially of Les Fleurs du Mal . Ultimately Baudelaire's life, as we learn here, is less interesting than his literary creation.-- Anthony Caprio, Oglethorpe Univ., Atlanta

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Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
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1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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