Saturday, July 18, 2009

Charles Baudelaire

Baudelaire came to fame primarily through his work Fleurs du Mal. What drew the work to the attention of the literary (and broader) world was a trial for obscenity that Baudelaire was subjected to for publication of the work. Six poems were removed from future editions of the book, and he was fined. While Baudelaire wrote in the 19th century, the ban on these six poems lasted well into the 20th century.

Baudelaire was, it can be said, an acolyte of beauty. His poems do court controversy, and explore the darker side of humanity, but they are truly grounded in what is beautiful. This dichotomy in Baudelaire's work gave it its originality.

Baudelaire was to be hounded by creditors throughout his life. When he had money (and even when he didn't) he was lavish with his spending. He acquired objects de art, fine furniture, and fine clothing, but lived as poet with limited means. His entire life, it could be said, was beset with difficulty and indeed trauma (much of which was self-inflicted).

But Baudelaire's legacy is indeed a rich one. The trauma which was his life gave birth to an oeuvre which is truly outstanding as it is originality.

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