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The Flowers of Evil
Translated by Anthony Mortimer
Judicially condemned in 1857 as offensive to public morality, The Flowers of Evil is now regarded as the most influential volume of poetry published in the nineteenth century. Torn between intense sensuality and profound spiritual yearning, racked by debt and disease, Baudelaire transformed his own experience of Parisian life into a work of universal significance. With his unflinching examination of the dark aspects and unconventional manifestations of sexuality, his pioneering portrayal of life in a great metropolis and his daring combination of the lyrical and the prosaic, Baudelaire inaugurated a new epoch in poetry and created a founding text of modernism.
Anthony Mortimer, already praised for his virtuoso translations of Petrarch, Dante and Villon, has produced a new version that not only respects the sense and the form of the original French, but also makes powerful English poetry in its own right.
Presented here in a dual-language edition, with extra material, notes and bibliography.
Mortimer renders the pageant of Baudelaire’s misery in neatly rhymed sonnets
The translations are very good indeed
Baudelaire is indeed the greatest exemplar in modern poetry in any language, for his verse and language is the nearest thing to a complete renovation that we have experienced.
Need I tell you that in this terrible book I have put all my heart, all my tenderness, all my religion (disguised), all my hatred? It is true that I shall write the opposite, that I shall swear by all the gods that it is a work of pure art, of mimicry, of mere dexterity – and I shall be lying through my teeth.
The best way yet for us to enter the poet’s dreamlike world, producing, as his title says, beauty from the sordid world around him
This should be read by any poetry lover
Yorkshire Gazette & Herald
Charles Baudelaire (1821–67) is most famous for his groundbreaking collection of verse The Flowers of Evil, but his essays, translations and prose poems have been equally influential.