Poet, aesthete and hedonist, Baudelaire was also one of the most groundbreaking art critics of his time. Here he explores beauty, fashion, dandyism, the purpose of art and the role of the artist, and describes the painter who, for him, expresses most fully the drama of modern life.
GREAT IDEAS. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
The poems of Charles Baudelaire are filled with explicit and unsettling imagery, depicting with intensity every day subjects ignored by French literary conventions of his time. 'Tableaux parisiens' portrays the brutal life of Paris's thieves, drunkards and prostitutes amid the debris of factories and poorhouses. In love poems such as 'Le Beau Navire', flights of lyricism entwine with languorous eroticism, while prose poems such as 'La Chambre Double' deal with the agonies of artistic creation and mortality. With their startling combination of harsh reality and sublime beauty, formal ingenuity and revolutionary poetic language, these poems, including a generous selection from Les Fleurs du Mal, show Baudelaire as one of the most influential poets of the nineteenth century.