The flowers of evil (1909) by Charles Baudelaire

The flowers of evil (1909) PDF book by Charles Baudelaire translated by Cyril Scott

The flowers of evil


The flowers of evil or 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.

Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and one of the first translators of Edgar Allan Poe. His poems exhibit mastery in the handling of rhyme and rhythm, contain an exoticism inherited from Romantics but are based on observations of real life.

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