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His first published work was his art review "Salon of 1845," which attracted immediate attention for its boldness. Many of his critical opinions were novel in their time, including his championing of Delacroix, and some of his views seem remarkably in tune with the future theories of the Impressionist painters. Sony VPCF11AGJ Battery

 

In 1846, Baudelaire wrote his second Salon review, gaining additional credibility as an advocate and critic of Romanticism. His support of Delacroix as the foremost Romantic artist gained widespread notice.[10] The following year Baudelaire's novella La Fanfarlowas published. Sony VPCF11AHJ Battery

 

Baudelaire was a slow and fastidious worker, often sidetracked by indolence, emotional distress and illness, and it was not until 1857 that he published his first and most famous volume of poems, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil). Sony VPCF11JFX/B Battery

Some of these poems had already appeared in the Revue des deux mondes (Review of Two Worlds), when they were published by Baudelaire's friend Auguste Poulet Malassis. Sony VPCF11M1E Battery

 

The poems found a small, appreciative audience, but greater public attention was given to their subject matter. The effect on fellow artists was, as Théodore de Banville stated, "immense, prodigious, unexpected, mingled with admiration and with some indefinable anxious fear".[11] Sony VPCF11M1E/H Battery

 Flaubert, recently attacked in a similar fashion for Madame Bovary (and acquitted), was impressed and wrote to Baudelaire: "You have found a way to rejuvenate Romanticism... You are as unyielding as marble, and as penetrating as an English mist".[12] Sony VPCF11S1E Battery

The principal themes of sex and death were considered scandalous. He also touched on lesbianism, sacred and profane love, metamorphosis, melancholy, the corruption of the city, lost innocence, the oppressiveness of living, and wine. Notable in some poems is Baudelaire's use of imagery of the sense of smell and of fragrances, which is used to evoke feelings of nostalgia and past intimacy.[13] Sony VPCF11Z1E Battery

The book, however, quickly became a byword for unwholesomeness among mainstream critics of the day. Some critics called a few of the poems "masterpieces of passion, art and poetry" but other poems were deemed to merit no less than legal action to suppress them.[14] Sony VPCF11ZHJ Battery

J. Habas writing in Le Figaro, led the charge against Baudelaire, writing: "Everything in it which is not hideous is incomprehensible, everything one understands is putrid". Then Baudelaire responded to the outcry, in a prophetic letter to his mother: Sony VPCF127FJ/W Battery

 

"You know that I have always considered that literature and the arts pursue an aim independent of morality. Beauty of conception and style is enough for me. But this book, whose title (Fleurs du mal) says everything, is clad, as you will see, in a cold and sinister beauty. Sony VPCF127HGBI Battery

It was created with rage and patience. Besides, the proof of its positive worth is in all the ill that they speak of it. The book enrages people. Moreover, since I was terrified myself of the horror that I should inspire, I cut out a third from the proofs. Sony VPCF128FJ/B Battery

They deny me everything, the spirit of invention and even the knowledge of the French language. I don't care a rap about all these imbeciles, and I know that this book, with its virtues and its faults, will make its way in the memory of the lettered public, beside the best poems of V. Hugo, Th. Gautier and even Byron."[15] Sony VPCF129FJ/BI Battery

 

Baudelaire, his publisher and the printer were successfully prosecuted for creating an offense against public morals. They were fined but Baudelaire was not imprisoned.[16] Six of the poems were suppressed, but printed later as Les Épaves (The Wrecks) (Brussels, 1866). Another edition of Les Fleurs du mal, without these poems, but with considerable additions, appeared in 1861.Sony VPCF12AFJ Battery

Many notables rallied behind Baudelaire and condemned the sentence. Victor Hugo wrote to him: "Your fleurs du mal shine and dazzle like stars... I applaud your vigorous spirit with all my might".[17] Sony VPCF12AHJ Battery

Baudelaire did not appeal the judgment but his fine was reduced. Nearly 100 years later, on May 11, 1949, Baudelaire was vindicated, the judgment officially reversed, and the six banned poems reinstated in France.[17] Sony VPCF12AGJ Battery

 

In the poem "Au lecteur" ("To the Reader") that prefaces Les Fleurs du mal, Baudelaire accuses his readers of hypocrisy and of being as guilty of sins and lies as the poet: Sony VPCF135FG Battery

 

Baudelaire next worked on a translation and adaptation of Thomas de Quincey'sConfessions of an English Opium Eater.[18] Other works in the years that followed included Petits Poèmes en prose (Small Prose poems); a series of art reviews published in the Pays, Exposition universelle (Country, World Fair); studies on Gustave Flaubert (inL'Artiste, October 18, 1857);Sony VPCF135FG/B Battery

on Théophile Gautier (Revue contemporaine, September 1858); various articles contributed to Eugene Crepet's Poètes francais; Les Paradis artificiels: opium et haschisch (French poets; Artificial Paradises: opium and hashish) (1860); and Un Dernier Chapitre de l'histoire des oeuvres de Balzac (A Final Chapter of the history of works of Balzac) (1880), Sony VPCF136FG/BI Battery

originally an article "Comment on paye ses dettes quand on a du génie" ("How one pays one's debts when one has genius"), in which his criticism turns against his friends Honoré de Balzac, Théophile Gautier, and Gérard de Nerval. Sony VPCF137HG/BI Battery

 

By 1859, his illnesses, his long-term use of laudanum, his life of stress and poverty had taken a toll and Baudelaire had aged noticeably. But at last, his mother relented and agreed to let him live with her for a while at Honfleur. Baudelaire was productive and at peace in the seaside town, his poem Le Voyage being one example of his efforts during that time.[19] In 1860, he became an ardent supporter of Richard Wagner. Sony VPCF138FC/BI Battery

 

His financial difficulties increased again, however, particularly after his publisher Poulet Malassis went bankrupt in 1861. In 1864, he left Paris for Belgium, partly in the hope of selling the rights to his works and also to give lectures.[20] Sony VPCF138FJ/B Battery

His long-standing relationship with Jeanne Duval continued on-and-off, and he helped her to the end of his life. Baudelaire's relationships with actress Marie Daubrun and with courtesan Apollonie Sabatier, though the source of much inspiration, never produced any lasting satisfaction. He smoked opium, and in Brussels he began to drink to excess. Sony VPCF139FJ/BI Battery

Baudelaire suffered a massive stroke in 1866 and paralysis followed. After more than a year of aphasia, he received the last rites of the Catholic Church.[21] The last two years of his life were spent, in a semi-paralyzed state, in "maisons de santé" in Brussels and in Paris, where he died on August 31, 1867. Baudelaire is buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris. Sony VPCF13AFJ Battery

 

Many of Baudelaire's works were published posthumously. After his death, his mother paid off his substantial debts, and at last she found some comfort in Baudelaire's emerging fame. "I see that my son, for all his faults, has his place in literature". She lived another four years Sony VPCF13AGJ Battery

 

Baudelaire was an active participant in the artistic life of his times. As critic and essayist, he wrote extensively and perceptively about the luminaries and themes of French culture. He was frank with friends and enemies, Sony VPCF13AHJ Battery

rarely took the diplomatic approach and sometimes responded violently verbally, which often undermined his cause.[22] His associations were numerous and included: Gustave Courbet, Honoré Daumier, Franz Liszt, Champfleury, Victor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert, Balzac and the artists and writers that follow. Sony VPCF13M8E/B Battery

 

EDGAR ALLAN POE

In 1846 and 1847, Baudelaire became acquainted with the works of Poe, in which he found tales and poems that had, he claimed, long existed in his own brain but never taken shape. Baudelaire had much in common with Poe (who died in 1849 at age forty). Sony VPCF13Z0E/B Battery

The two poets display a similar sensibility of the macabre and supernatural turn of mind; each struggled with illness, poverty, and melancholy. Like Poe, Baudelaire believed in the doctrine oforiginal sin, denounced democracy and the idea of progress and of man's natural goodness, Sony VPCF13Z1E/B Battery

and Poe held a disdainful aristocratic attitude similar to Baudelaire's dandy.[23]Baudelaire saw in Poe a precursor and tried to be his French contemporary counterpart.[24] From this time until 1865, he was largely occupied with translating Poe's works;Sony VPCF13ZHJ Battery

his translations were widely praised. Baudelaire was not the first French translator of Poe, but his "scrupulous translations" were considered among the best. These were published as Histoires extraordinaires (Extraordinary stories) (1852), Sony VPCF148FJ/B Battery

Nouvelles histoires extraordinaires (New extraordinary stories) (1857), Aventures d'Arthur Gordon Pym,Eureka, and Histoires grotesques et sérieuses (Grotesque and serious stories) (1865). Two essays on Poe are to be found in his Oeuvres complètes (Complete works) (vols. v. and vi.). Sony VPCF149FJ/BI Battery

 

A strong supporter of the Romantic painter Delacroix, Baudelaire called him "a poet in painting." Baudelaire also absorbed much of Delacroix's aesthetic ideas as expressed in his journals. As Baudelaire elaborated in his "Salon of 1846",Sony VPCF14AFJ Battery

"As one contemplates his series of pictures, one seems to be attending the celebration of some grievous mystery... This grave and lofty melancholy shines with a dull light... plaintive and profound like a melody by Weber".[10] Sony VPCF14AGJ Battery

 Delacroix, though appreciative, kept his distance from Baudelaire, particularly after the scandal of Les Fleurs du mal. In private correspondence, Delacroix stated that Baudelaire "really gets on my nerves" and he expressed his unhappiness with Baudelaire's persistent comments about "melancholy" and "feverishness".[25] Sony VPCF14AHJ Battery

 

RICHARD WAGNER

Baudelaire had no formal musical training, and knew little of composers beyondBeethoven and Carl Maria von Weber. Weber was in some ways Wagner's precursor, using the leitmotif and conceiving the idea of the "total art work" ("Gesamtkunstwerk"),Sony VPCF14ZHJ Battery

both of which found Baudelaire's admiration. Before even hearing Wagner's music, Baudelaire studied reviews and essays about him, and formulated his impressions. Later, Baudelaire put them into his non-technical analysis of Wagner, which was highly regarded, particularly his essay "Richard Wagner et Tannhäuser à Paris".[26] Sony VPCF217HG Battery

Baudelaire's reaction to music was passionate and psychological. "Music engulfs (possesses) me like the sea".[26] After attending three Wagner concerts in Paris in 1860, Baudelaire wrote to the composer: "I had a feeling of pride and joy in understanding, Sony VPCF217HG/BI Battery

in being possessed, in being overwhelmed, a truly sensual pleasure like that of rising in the air".[27] Baudelaire's writings contributed to the elevation of Wagner and to the cult of Wagnerism that swept Europe in the following decades. Sony VPCF219FJ/BI Battery

 

THÉOPHILE GAUTIER

Gautier, writer and poet, earned Baudelaire's respect for his perfection of form and his mastery of language, though Baudelaire thought he lacked deeper emotion and spirituality. Both strove to express the artist's inner vision, which Heinrich Heine had earlier stated: Sony VPCF21AFJ Battery

"In artistic matters, I am a supernaturalist. I believe that the artist can not find all his forms in nature, but that the most remarkable are revealed to him in his soul".[28] Gautier's frequent meditations on death and the horror of life are themes which influenced Baudelaire writings. In gratitude for their friendship and commonality of vision, Baudelaire dedicatedLes Fleurs du mal to Gautier.Sony VPCF21AGJ Battery

 

ÉDOUARD MANET

Manet and Baudelaire became constant companions from around 1855. In the early 1860s, Baudelaire accompanied Manet on daily sketching trips and often met him socially. Manet also lent Baudelaire money and looked after his affairs, Sony VPCF21AHJ Battery

particularly when Baudelaire went to Belgium. Baudelaire encouraged Manet to strike his own path and not succumb to criticism. "Manet has great talent, a talent which will stand the test of time. But he has a weak character. He seems to me crushed and stunned by shock".[29] Sony VPCF21Z1E/BI Battery

 In his painting Music in the Tuileries, Manet includes portraits of his friends Théophile Gautier, Jacques Offenbach, and Baudelaire.[30] While it's difficult to differentiate who influenced whom, both Manet and Baudelaire discussed and expressed some common themes through their respective arts. Sony VPCF21ZHJ Battery

Baudelaire praised the modernity of Manet's subject matter: "almost all our originality comes from the stamp that 'time' imprints upon our feelings".[31] When Manet's famous Olympia (1865), a portrait of a nude prostitute, provoked a scandal for its blatant realism mixed with an imitation of Renaissance motifs, Sony VPCM125AG/L Battery

Baudelaire worked privately to support his friend, though he offered no public defense (he was, however, ill at the time). When Baudelaire returned from Belgium after his stroke, Manet and his wife were frequent visitors at the nursing home and she would play passages from Wagner for Baudelaire on the piano.[32] Sony VPCM125AG/P Battery

 

Baudelaire's influence on the direction of modern French (and English) language literature was considerable. The most significant French writers to come after him were generous with tributes; four years after his death, Sony VPCM125AGP Battery

 Arthur Rimbaud praised him in a letter as 'the king of poets, a true God'.[38] In 1895, Stéphane Mallarmé published a sonnet in Baudelaire's memory, 'Le Tombeau de Charles Baudelaire'. Marcel Proust, in an essay published in 1922, stated that along with Alfred de Vigny, Baudelaire was 'the greatest poet of the nineteenth century'.[39] Sony VPCM125AG/W Battery

 

In the English-speaking world, Edmund Wilson credited Baudelaire as providing an initial impetus for the Symbolist movement, by virtue of his translations of Poe.[40] In 1930, T. S. Eliot, while asserting that Baudelaire had not yet received a "just appreciation" even in France, claimed that the poet had "great genius" and asserted that his "technical mastery which can hardly be overpraised... Sony VPCM126AA/L Battery

has made his verse an inexhaustible study for later poets, not only in his own language".[41] Eliot also alluded to Baudelaire's poetry directly in his own poetry. For example, he quoted the last line of Baudelaire's 'Au Lecteur' ın the last line of Sectıon I of The Waste Land. Sony VPCM126AA/P Battery

 

At the same time that Eliot was affirming Baudelaire's importance from a broadly conservative and explicitly Christian viewpoint,[42] left-wing critics such as Wilson andWalter Benjamin were able to do so from a dramatically different perspective. Benjamin translated Baudelaire's Tableaux Parisiens into German and published a major essay on translation[43] as the foreword. Sony VPCM126AA/W Battery

 

In the late 1930s, Benjamin used Baudelaire as a starting point and focus for his monumental attempt at a materialist assessment of 19th century culture, Das Passagenwerk.[44] For Benjamin, Baudelaire's importance lay in his anatomies of thecrowd, of the city and of modernity.[45] Sony VPCM126AG/L Battery

 

In 1982, avant-garde performance artist and vocalist Diamanda Galás recorded an adaptation of his poem The Litanies of Satan (Les Litanies de Satan). Sony VPCM126AG/P Battery

 

The Baudelaires, protagonists of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, were named after him. Sony VPCM126AG/W Battery

Along with Poe, Baudelaire named the arch-reactionary Joseph de Maistre as his maître à penser[36] and adopted increasingly aristocratic views. In his journals, he wrote "There is no form of rational and assured government save an aristocracy. Sony VPCM126AH/L Battery

A monarchy or a republic, based upon democracy, are equally absurd and feeble. The immense nausea of advertisements. There are but three beings worthy of respect: the priest, the warrior and the poet. To know, to kill and to create. Sony VPCM126AH/P Battery

The rest of mankind may be taxed and drudged, they are born for the stable, that is to say, to practise what they call professions."[37] Sony VPCM126AH/W Battery

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