Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A.I.T.A. Hall Of Fame: Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire: The Archangel Of Our Alienation

"Charles Baudelaire was a 19th century French poet, translator, and literary and art critic whose reputation rests primarily on Les Fleurs Du Mal (The Flowers Of Evil, 1857) which was perhaps the most important and influential poetry collection published in Europe in the 19th century. Similarly, his Petits Poèmes En Prose (Little Prose Poems, 1868) was the most successful and innovative early experiment in prose poetry of the time.

Known for his highly controversial, and often dark poetry, as well as his translation of the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, Baudelaire's life was filled with drama and strife, from financial disaster to being prosecuted for obscenity and blasphemy. Long after his death many look upon his name as representing depravity and vice: Others see him as being the poet of modern civilization, seeming to speak directly to the 20th century.

In his often introspective poetry, Baudelaire revealed himself as a seeker of God without religious beliefs, searching in every manifestation of life for its true significance, be it in the leaves of a tree or a prostitute's frown. His refusal to admit restriction in the poet's choice of theme and his assertion of the poetic power of symbols makes Baudelaire appealing to modern man, as a poet and a critic." [Empire:Zine]

"Charles Baudelaire, the great French poet of the mid nineteenth century whose powerful writing ushered in a era of symbolism, is one of the most important poets of the nineteenth century. Not only a poet of stunning imagery and extraordinary musicality, he was also one of the first to herald that new consciousness — urban, pushing at the edges of things, uncertain of itself — which we, today, still recognize as our own modern way of being.

Baudelaire life was almost as important as his poetry. His rejection of bourgeois values, his use of drugs, his fascination with sex, his close friendships with painters and other poets: all of these made him a sort of model for the poet as a 'bohemian' figure. He is the archetype of the poet as someone who lives his own life on the fringes of society, rebellious in lifestyle, dedicated to moving so far beyond the middle class that his work shocks them so deeply that they either cry out, 'but is it art?' or attempt to censor it as blasphemous, evil, and pornographic." [Huck Gutman]

Dig: (Les Fleur Du Mal resource)
Buy: Les Fleurs Du Mal (A.I.T.A.'s favorite translation)
Buy: Les Fleurs Du Mal & Les Paradis Artificiels (combined edition)

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