Pub. Date:
Wesleyan University Press
The Flowers of Evil

The Flowers of Evil

by Charles Baudelaire, Keith WaldropCharles Baudelaire
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A modernist classic translated for the twenty-first century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780819568007
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publication date: 02/28/2008
Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
Edition description: Trans. from the French
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,034,259
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About 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.

Read an Excerpt


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...

Table of Contents

Translator's Introduction
The Flowers of Evil
To the Reader
Spleen and Ideal
The Albatross
"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
The Ideal
The Mask
Hymn to Beauty
Exotic Perfume
"I adore you . . ."
"You would take the whole universe . . ."
Sed Non Satiata
"In her flowing pearly garments . . ."
Dancing Serpent
De Profundis Clamavi
"One night while I lay . . ."
Posthumous Remorse
The Cat
The Balcony
The Possessed
A Phantom
"I give you these verses . . ."
Semper Eadem
"What will you say this evening . . ."
Living Torch
Spiritual Dawn
Evening's Harmony
Poison l Sky in Confusion
The Fine-looking Ship
Invitation to the Voyage
The Irreparable
Autumn Song
To a Madonna
Afternoon Song
Franciscæ Meæ Laudes
To a Creole Lady
Moesta et Errabunda
Autumn Sonnet
The Sorrowing Moon
The Pipe
A Fantasy Print
Dead Man Glad
The Vessel of Hate
The Cracked Bell
The Taste for Nothing
Alchemy of Pain
Sympathetic Horror
Beyond Remedy
The Clock
Parisian Scenes
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
Danse Macabre
Love of a Lie
"I have not forgotten . . ."
"The big-hearted servant . . ."
Fog, Rain
Paris Dream
Morning Twilight
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
A Martyr
Women Damned
The Two Good Sisters
The Fountain of Blood
His Beatrice
A Voyage to Cythera
Love and the Skull
Saint Peter's Denial
Abel and Cain
Litanies of Satan
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
Women Damned
To Her, Too Merry
The Jewels
Metamorphoses of the Vampire

What People are Saying About This

Norma Cole

"This is the Baudelaire translation for our time--and for all time. Relentlessly straightforward, surprisingly succinct, hilarious and horrifying as they are, these poems have never been as readable in English."
Norma Cole, author of Spinoza in Her Youth

Cole Swensen

“There are numerous translations of Les Fleurs du Mal in print, but none even approach Waldrop’s-he alone captures the speed and verve of the real Baudelaire.”

From the Publisher

"This is the Baudelaire translation for our time—and for all time. Relentlessly straightforward, surprisingly succinct, hilarious and horrifying as they are, these poems have never been as readable in English."—Norma Cole, author of Spinoza in Her Youth

"There are numerous translations of Les Fleurs du Mal in print, but none even approach Waldrop's-he alone captures the speed and verve of the real Baudelaire."—Cole Swensen, Iowa Writers' Workshop

Customer Reviews