French Poet Charles Baudelaire died of a stroke on this day in 1867. He is buried in Paris, France.
If you’ve not read Baudelaire’s work and you like cynical, deeply moving, dramatic, dark and sensually lyrical poetry with a dash of melancholy thrown in for good measure; then Baudelaire is for you! He was one of the innovators of French literature and is widely considered one of the pioneers of using symbolism and sound to create an atmosphere in his somewhat formally structured poetry.
Baudelaire was also a translator of Edgar Allan Poe and greatly admired his work. Much of his own work is infused with eerie themes and gothic language and it is obvious he was very influenced by the writings of Poe. Baudelaire’s work has been a topic of debate and discourse many a time as his poems encompass taboo themes such as satanism, the role of women and at times, his liberal support of the bohemian lifestyle of his time which included using opium and frequenting brothels.
Our all time favorite work by Baudelaire is undoubtedly Les Fleurs du Mal, or The Flowers of Evil. The poems within this collection are both morbid and sexual. Baudelaire shocked many people with this work but we think it is his very best. If you want a great reference site for Les Fleurs du Mal and Baudelaire’s life while he was writing it, check out this link! We highly recommend it.
In 1864, he left Paris for Belgium. He began to drink excessively and it is thought he may have contracted syphilis and gonorrhea by this time. After he died, many of his poems were in fact, published posthumously and his mother is said to have remarked “I see that my son, for all his faults, has his place in literature”. Well said, Mama Baudelaire, he does indeed.
We encourage our readers and writers alike to examine the two themes Baudelaire held highest above all others… sex and death. What do they mean to you? How do they influence your own work? Just be sure you…*cough* use protection… and examine said themes with caution and responsibility.
Write on in peace, Monsieur Baudelaire!
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