- Series: Oxford World's Classics
- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 17, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0192835459
- ISBN-13: 978-0192835451
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.2 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 84 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,065,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Flowers of Evil (Oxford World's Classics)
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'Jonathan Culler's 24 page introduction is thoughtful and informative; and the editorial apparatus of bibliography, chronology and notes on the text are up to the high standard of the series.' Acumen Magazine
'McGowan's fine poetic sense uses the springing monosyllable to good effect; A reader who goes straight to James McGowan's versions will be well rewarded. A scrupulous and sensitive poet has made the whole of Baudelaire's poetry in verse available in English so that the unique quality of the original consistently survives.' Harry Guest, Journal of European Studies, XXIV (1994)
'Culler's insistence on Baudelaire's depressing conclusions is welcome at a time when these poems are frequently subjected to evangelical optimism. McGowan urges us to consult other translations. His own generally reliable versions - given his satanic pact with symmetry - are probably now the best place to start.' Graham Robb, French Studies, Vol. 48, Pt.4
About the Author
James McGowan is at Illinois Wesleyan University, Illinois. Jonathan Culler is at Cornell University.
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Baudelaire rejects the notion that nature is supreme, the idea of the romantics and expressed by them in their writing and art. He considered the poem as a self-referential object. He was a slow and fastidious worker, often sidetracked by emotional distress and illness. It was not until 1857, when he was 36, that he published this book, the first and most famous volume of his poem.
Baudelaire’s works touch on sex, death, wine, lesbianism, sacred and profane love, metamorphosis, melancholy, lost innocence, and the oppressiveness of society. He uses the sense of smell in his poems to evoke remembered feelings of the past.
In 1847, at the age of 26, Baudelaire became acquainted with the works of Edgar Allan Poe who died two years later at age forty. He liked the bizarre and macabre Poe tales and poems. He felt that they expressed his own feelings. Baudelaire, like Poe, struggled with illness, poverty, and melancholy, believed in Saint Augustine’s notion of Original Sin, which plays a part in their writings, and felt that humans are not naturally good, but faulty, and therefore denounced democracy and the idea of progress. From 1847 to 1865, until two years before his death, Baudelaire used much of his time translating Poe's works, and his translations were praised. He also wrote two essays on Poe.
Les fleur du Mal contains 54 translated poems. The first “Benediction,” expresses what has been said above about him. It begins:
When by the changeless Power of a Supreme Decree
The poet issues forth upon this sorry sphere
His mother, horrified, and full of blasphemy,
Uplifts her voice to God, who takes compassion on her.
“Ah, why did I not bear a serpent’s nest entire,
Instead of bringing forth this hideous Child of doom!
Oh cursed be that transient night of vain desire
When I conceived my expiation in my womb!
I noticed a lot of the reviews cite various things entirely absent from this book. I assume they meant to review the New Directions edition.
The book itself does not even list the translator, or the publisher, and the text on the back has nothing to do with the book.
Most recent customer reviews
Poetry has many characters, some developed and others not.Read more
I enjoy the poetry, but I wonder about the quality of this product as every poem has a link to the table of contents underneath every...Read more