Wednesday, January 18

How Baudelaire Revolutionized Modern Literature

Portrait by Gustave Courbet, 1848
"Around, let’s say, 1885 the young French poet Jules Laforgue was living in Berlin and scribbling observations in his notebooks. He was reading Charles Baudelaire’s notorious book of poetry, Les Fleurs du Mal— a book that had been prosecuted, successfully, by the French state for obscenity — and as Laforgue read on, he jotted down small aphorisms, mini-observations. These phrases were of a private kind: 'a distinguished wanderer in the line of Poe and Gérard de Nerval,' 'sensual hypochondria shading into martyrdom . . . ': that kind of thing. They were private notes for a future essay that Laforgue would never write, attempts to define the genius of Baudelaire — who had died in 1867, around twenty years earlier, at the age of only forty-six. ..."
New Republic
The Paris Review: The Eye of Baudelaire
W - Symbolism

2009 February: Charles Baudelaire, 2012 December: Impressionism and Fashion