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The Flowers of Evil (1857)

by Charles Baudelaire

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,489671,150 (4.2)86
This translation of Baudelaire's magnum opus, perhaps the most powerful and influential book of verse from the 19th century, won the American Book Award for Translation. And the honor was well-deserved, for this is one of Richard Howard's greatest efforts. It's all here: a timeless translation, the complete French text, and Mazur's striking black and white monotypes in one elegant edition.… (more)
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» See also 86 mentions

English (41)  Spanish (7)  Italian (5)  French (5)  Catalan (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Classics
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
It's everything they say it is, and much more. ( )
  EugenioNegro | Mar 17, 2021 |
Les Fleurs du mal includes nearly all of Baudelaire's poetry, written starting in 1840 and ending with his death in August 1867. First published in 1857, it was important in the symbolist and modernist movements. It was considered extremely controversial upon publication, and six of the poems were censored due to their immorality; however, it is now considered to be a major work of French poetry. The poems in Les Fleurs du mal frequently break with tradition, using suggestive images and unusual forms. The poems deal with themes relating to decadence and eroticism, particularly focusing on suffering and its relationship to the original sin, disgust toward evil and oneself, obsession with death, and aspiration toward an ideal world. Les Fleurs du mal was highly influential toward several notable French poets, including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stéphane Mallarmé.

Upon reading "The Swan" (or "Le Cygne") from Les Fleurs du mal, Victor Hugo announced that Baudelaire had created "un nouveau frisson" (a new shudder, a new thrill) in literature. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Mar 2, 2021 |
***** : Lu et relu. Ces poemes m'accompagnent depuis l'adolescence
  Eliseur | Jan 2, 2021 |
I don't speak French and can't read more than a few words here and there, but as I was reading Howard's non-rhyming translation, I felt for the first time I was seeing into the mind of Baudelaire. Surely it couldn't have been the translator's mind. These poems are full of disturbing images and very dark observations, and they aren't completely clear on a first or even second reading, but the experience of reading them is still riveting, and unlike some poetry, it makes you want to re-read them. And read criticism to better understand them. Perhaps like Confucius's Analects, you need to read more than one translation to really gain a better understanding. I may try that. In the meantime, I highly recommend this edition. I should point out, for those who care, that while it has both the French and English versions of the poems, these are in separate sections of the book--not on facing pages. So if you know some French and want to compare side-by-side, you're out of luck and may want to purchase another edition. ( )
  datrappert | Dec 9, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (261 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Baudelaire, Charlesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adam, AntoineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Auerbach, ErichForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Björkeson, IngvarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bufalino, GesualdoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Church, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Culler, JonathanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Nardis, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Decorte, BertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DelacroixCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillion, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Durry, Marie-JeannePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Florenne, YvesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Friedman, Florence Louiesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Houppermans, SjefEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laver, JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mazur, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McGowan, JamesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Millay, Edna St. VincentIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Millay, Edna St. VincentTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nylén, AnttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pichois, ClaudeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scholten, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwabe, CarlosIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Paul J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teirlinck, HermanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thompson, Christopher S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tremois, Pierre-YvesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verstegen, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verstegen, PeterAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
AU POËTE IMPECCABLE

Au Parfait Magicien ès Lettres Françaises
A Mon Très-cher et Très Vénéré

MAÎTRE ET AMI
Théophile Gautier

Avec Les Sentiments
De La Plus Profonde Humilité
Je Dédie
Ces Fleurs Maladives
C.B.
TO THE IMPECCABLE POET

To The Perfect Magician of French Letters
To My Dearest and Most Admired

MASTER AND FRIEND
Théophile Gautier

With Feelings
Of The Most Profound Humility
I Dedicate
These Sickly Flowers
C.B.
First words
La sottise, l’erreur, le péché, la lésine,/
Occupent nos esprits et travaillent nos corps,/
Et nous alimentons nos aimables remords,/
Comme les mendiants nourrissent leur vermine.
Quotations
Verse-nous ton poison pour qu’il nous réconforte !/
Nous voulons, tant ce feu nous brûle le cerveau,/
Plonger au fond du gouffre, Enfer ou Ciel, qu’importe ?/
Au fond de l’Inconnu pour trouver du nouveau !
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
there are quite a few different versions of this book containing more or less poems (most notable the 6 condemned verses miss often and the "Tableaux parisiens" have been added in newer editions. (see http://fleursdumal.org/ for details)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

This translation of Baudelaire's magnum opus, perhaps the most powerful and influential book of verse from the 19th century, won the American Book Award for Translation. And the honor was well-deserved, for this is one of Richard Howard's greatest efforts. It's all here: a timeless translation, the complete French text, and Mazur's striking black and white monotypes in one elegant edition.

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Book description
"I fiori del male" il capolavoro di Charles Baudelaire, oramai considerato da tutti come li padre del Decadentismo e della poesia moderna tout court, raccoglie liriche straordinarie per la perfezione stilistica e la complessa varietà dei contenuti e dei temi. Si tratta di testi di una bellezza strana e misteriosa, di un'originalità tormentata ed angosciosa che talora suscita sgomento. Baudelaire è il poeta della sofferenza, della nostalgia, del rimorso, sempre alla ricerca di una perfezione pressoché irraggiungibile; ma anche tra i più lucidi, geniali critici dell'arte e della letteratura del suo tempo, capace di analizzarne e riconoscerne la potente carica simbolica.
(piopas)
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