Thursday, April 9, 2009

Charles Baudelaire




The Poet is like the Prince of Clouds
,
Who haunts the storm and laughs at the archer;
Exiled on earth, surrounded by mocking laughter,

His gigantic wings are fetters to his walk.


from 'L'Albatros' by Baudelaire





'The Flowers of Evil'
a Vintage Venus Original





Born today (April 9) in 1821 French poet-dandy and art critic, Charles Baudelaire.

'Baudelaire was the first major writer to build his art from the process of his own destruction, the first of the damned.
A contemporary of Hugo, Gautier, and Lamartine, the author of 'Les Fleurs du Mal' (The Flowers of Evil) would come to be recognised as one of the greatest poets of his age, of any age; the creator of modern poetry and the first to chronicle the broken, neurotic consciousness of modern man, to pinpoint his dreams and his fantasies.

Baudelaire was a complex, aloof, even difficult man, oppressed thoughout his adult life by the crushing weight of his debts, by the scorn of an uncomprehending public, by the ravages of disease - and, not least of all, by the weight of his own ennui. Yet he never allowed the self-destruction and decline he suffered to destroy the poet in him.

In all practical respects, in all his dealings with men, women and money, Baudelaire lost... But he was able to turn that loss into the words he left us, words which remind us with a marvelous ringing insistence that amid all his losses and disasters, the poet Charles Baudelaire was also the 'Prince of Clouds' - an albatross of sorts, scorning the earth and scorned by it, yet capable of soaring high above on his wings of genius, finding beauty and lyricism in the wretched disaster-ridden condition of his own existence.'

from the biography Baudelaire: Prince of Clouds' by Alex de Jonge


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