1992-02-15: Les Fleurs de Mal (Flowers of Evil)

Fleurs de Mal (Flowers of Evil) (1857)

by Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) (tr. Richard Howard)

Rexroth recommended this work and poet, for reasons I cannot recall. (I’m not curious enough to check.)

I read about 20 poems, and parts of many more, and found not a single one that appealed to me.  It is as if the poet spent his life waiting for a reason to live, without ever building a project worth living for.  His poems reflect a superficial concern with superficial aspects of life, perhaps expressed in superior language (I can’t read the French, and found the translation uninspiring).

I read the final poem in the book, in which Baudelaire instructs the unappreciative reader to go to Hell.  I didn’t appreciate it any more than the others.



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