The Flowers of Evil

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Overview

In the annals of literature, few volumes of poetry have achieved the influence and notoriety of 'The Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs dur Mal) by Charles Baudelaire (1821-67). Banned and slighted in his lifetime, the book that contains all of Baudelaire's verses has opened up vistas to the imagination and quickened sensibilities of poets everywhere.
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Paperback (Trans. from the French)
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The Flowers of Evil

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Overview

In the annals of literature, few volumes of poetry have achieved the influence and notoriety of 'The Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs dur Mal) by Charles Baudelaire (1821-67). Banned and slighted in his lifetime, the book that contains all of Baudelaire's verses has opened up vistas to the imagination and quickened sensibilities of poets everywhere.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Thus the delight and curiosity of Keith Waldrop's new translation. It's close to plain prose: ‘versets,’ he calls them, paragraphs divided where Baudelaire's stanza's break. It's by no means the first prose translation, but it's the most charming: I don't recall another version, verse or prose, that slips so easily into the comradely 'we.'"—New York Times Book Review

The task of the translator...is to reconcile the strengths of the poet with his new surroundings, setting him in flight with wings that do not impede his walk. In part from the landing on versets, but more particularly from his deftness in English and the depth of his understanding of Baudelaire, Keith Waldrop has created a Flowers of Evil that, one gesture, can come to terms with the new needs of poetry readers in English and the foreignness of the language of Les Fleurs du mal."—Rain Taxi

"Waldrop's translations soar...perhaps getting closer to Baudelaire's rich tone than any other English translation."—Chicago Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819568007
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Edition description: Trans. from the French
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,417,549
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE (1821–1867) wrote some of the most innovative poetry of the nineteenth century, in books including Les Fleurs du Mal and Le spleen de Paris. KEITH WALDROP is author of numerous collections of poetry and is the translator of The Selected Poems of Edmond Jabès, as well as works by Claude Royet-Journoud, Anne-Marie Albiach, and Jean Grosjean.

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Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The modern literary spirit was born out of the measured angles so carefully calculated by Laclos. He was the first element discovered by Baudelaire, who was a refined and reasonable explorer from a privileged background, but whose views on modern life contained a particular madness.
Laclos delighted in inspiring the corrupt bubbles that rose from the strange and rich literary mud of the Revolution. Like Diderot, Laclos was the intellectual son of Richardson and Rousseau, and his work was continued by Sade, Restif, Nerciat - some of the most notable philosophical storytellers of the late 18th century. Most of them, in fact, contained the seeds of the modern spirit, and they were poised to create a triumphant new era for arts and letters.
During this nauseating and often brilliant era of Revolution, Baudelaire mingled his spiritualistic poison with the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, a strange American, who had composed, in the poetic field, work which was as disturbing and as marvellous as the work of Laclos.
Baudelaire then is the son of Laclos and Poe. One can easily untangle the influence that each exerted on Baudelaire's prophetic mind and on his work, both so full of originality. As of this year, 1917, when his work enters the public domain, we can not only place him in the front rank of the great French poets, but also award him a place alongside the greatest of universal poets.
The evidence for the influence of the cynical writers of the Revolution on Les Fleurs du Mal can be seen everywhere in Baudelaire's correspondence and in his notes. When he decided to translate and adapt Poe's works, strangely, he found a higher lyricism and moral feeling than he had thought was present in the writings of the marvellous Baltimore drunkard and his prohibited readings.
In the novelists of the Revolution, he had discovered the importance of the question of sex.
From the Anglo-Saxons of the same era, such as de Quincey and Poe, Baudelaire had learned that there were artificial paradises. Their methodical exploration - supported by Reason, the revolutionary goddess - enabled him to reach the lyrical heights towards which the mad American predicants had directed Poe, their contemporary. But Reason blinded him, and he abandoned it as soon as he had reached the heights.
Baudelaire then is the son of Laclos and Edgar Allan Poe, but a son who is blind and insane...

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Table of Contents

Translator’s Introduction
The Flowers of Evil
Dedication
To the Reader
Spleen and Ideal
Benediction
The Albatross
Elevation
Correspondences
“I like to bring to mind . . .”
Beacon Lights
Sick Muse
Mercenary Muse
The Bad Monk
The Enemy
Bad Luck
The Life Before
Gypsy Travelers
Man and Sea
Don Juan in Hell
Pride Punished
Beauty
The Ideal
Giantess
The Mask
Hymn to Beauty
Exotic Perfume
Hair
“I adore you . . .”
"You would take the whole universe . . .”
Sed Non Satiata
“In her flowing pearly garments . . .”
Dancing Serpent
Carrion
De Profundis Clamavi
Vampire
“One night while I lay . . .”
Posthumous Remorse
The Cat
Duel
The Balcony
The Possessed
A Phantom
“I give you these verses . . .”
Semper Eadem
Altogether
“What will you say this evening . . .”
Living Torch
Reversibility
Confession
Spiritual Dawn
Evening’s Harmony
Flask
Poison l Sky in Confusion
Cat
The Fine-looking Ship
Invitation to the Voyage
The Irreparable
Conversation
Autumn Song
To a Madonna
Afternoon Song
Sisina
Franciscæ Meæ Laudes
To a Creole Lady
Moesta et Errabunda
Revenant
Autumn Sonnet
The Sorrowing Moon
Cats
Owls
The Pipe
Music
Burial
A Fantasy Print
Dead Man Glad
The Vessel of Hate
The Cracked Bell
Spleen
Spleen
Spleen
Spleen
Obsession
The Taste for Nothing
Alchemy of Pain
Sympathetic Horror
Heautontimoroumenos
Beyond Remedy
The Clock
Parisian Scenes
Landscape
The Sun
To a Redheaded Beggar Girl
The Swan
The Seven Old Men
The Little Old Women
The Blind
To a Woman Passing By
The Skeleton Laborer
Evening Twilight
Gambling
Danse Macabre
Love of a Lie
“I have not forgotten . . .”
“The big-hearted servant . . .”
Fog, Rain
Paris Dream
Morning Twilight
Wine
The Soul of the Wine
The Ragpicker’s Wine
The Assassin’s Wine
The Wine of the Solitary
The Wine of Lovers
Flowers of Evil
Destruction
A Martyr
Women Damned
The Two Good Sisters
The Fountain of Blood
Allegory
His Beatrice
A Voyage to Cythera
Love and the Skull
Revolt
Saint Peter’s Denial
Abel and Cain
Litanies of Satan
Death
The Death of Lovers
Death of the Poor
The Death of Artists
End of Day
Dream of a Curious Character
The Voyage
The Banned Poems
Lesbos
Women Damned
Lethe
To Her, Too Merry
The Jewels
Metamorphoses of the Vampire

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 4, 2012

    Fantastic!

    I've been studying French for a while and I really wanted to find a copy of The Flowers of Evil that had the original French text. I love that this copy has not only that, but it parallels it with English text to make comprehension that much easier. It also has plenty of notes that explain a lot of Charles Baudelaire's hidden meanings in his writing which I found extremely enlightening, as well as a biography on the man himself. It's a fantastic version, and I'm more than happy with my purchase and will definitely check out the Oxford World Classics series again!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2002

    greenish verse, like summer sleepiness

    "Now is the time to get absolutely drunk! On wine, on virtue, on whatever you may please." -Baudelaire. read it and believe that God has a darkside that is beautiful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2001

    Read,Read,Read!!!

    This was such an excellent book it blew me away!!! The way he put his thoughts into words was incredible. A must read book. I give it 10 on 10!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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