Poems in Prose

Poems in Prose


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The "Petits Poemes en Prose" are experiments, and they are also confessions. "Who of us," says Baudelaire in his dedicatory preface, "has not dreamed, in moments of ambition, of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical without rhythm and without rhyme, subtle and staccato enough to follow the lyric motions of the soul, the wavering outlines of meditation, the sudden starts of the conscience?" This miracle he has achieved in these bagatelles laboriueses, to use his own words, these astonishing trifles, in which the art is not more novel, precise and perfect than the quality of thought and of emotion. These little masterpieces, give much delight in Symons translation in which he have tried to be absolutely faithful to the sense, the words, and the rhythm of the original.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781508435174
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 03/05/2015
Pages: 98
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.23(d)

About the Author

Charles Baudelaire influenced the generation of French symbolist poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stephane Mallarmé. He is said to have invented the term "modernity" focusing on the fleeting experience of urban life, and the artists quest to record that experience.

Arthur Symons was the man William Butler Yeats called 'the most important critic of his generation." He was the first to translate much of Baudelaire's work into English.

Symons translation of Baudelaire's Poems in Prose featured "Be Drunken," which was popularized in Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night" when Edmund, the 23 year old son declared, "Or be so drunk you can forget. ( he recites, and recites well, with bitter, ironical passion, the Symons' translation of Baudelaire's prose poems) Be always drunken. Nothing else matters: that is the only question. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and crushing you to the earth, be drunken continually." To which the elder Tyrone echoed the literary opinion of most of puritanical America when he railed, "Atheists, fools, and madmen! And your poets! This Dowson, and this Baudelaire, and Swinburne and Oscar Wilde and Whitman and Poe! Whoremongers and degenerates! Pah!"

Baudelaire's writings have also come to be greatly appreciated abroad, notably in England, where he was introduced by the critic Arthur Symons and where the American poet Eliot subsequently introduced him to American and English modernist poetry.

Previous publications of Baudelaire's work includes, Petits poèmes en prose, Les Paradis artificiels (Paris: Michel Lévy frères, 1869); translated by Arthur Symons as Poems in Prose from Charles Baudelaire (London: Elkin Mathews, 1905), and Poems in Prose from Charles Baudelaire Translated by Arthur Symons (Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, 1909); Petits poèmes en prose republished as Le Spleen de Paris, (Paris: G. Crès & Cie, 1917); Les Fleurs du mal, Petits poèmes en prose, Les Paradis artificiels, translated by Arthur Symons (London: Casanova Society, 1925).

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