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About the Author
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).