Charles Baudelaire

May 10, 2006

Baudelaire1.jpg
(1821-1867)

The first modern poet, father of modern criticism, most widely read French poet around the globe
Intended to shock with display of painfully vivid scenes from his own spiritual and sensual torment
Human nature is fallen and corrupt, death is horrifying

Quotations:

“…The artist, the true artist, the true poet, should paint only in accordance with what he sees and feels.  He must be really faithful to his own nature.” “Imagination is the queen of truth, and the possible is one of the provinces of truth.  Imagination is positively related to the infinite.”

The Queen of the Faculties

It’s BOREDOM.  Tears have glued its eyes together. / You know it well, my Reader.  This obscene / beast chain-smokes yawning for the guillotine- / you-hypocrite Reader-my double-my brother!

To the Reader

-And you, in your turn, will be rotten as this: / Horrible, filthy, undone, / Oh sun of my nature and star of my eyes, / My passion, my angel in one!

Yes, such will you be, oh regent of grace, / After the rites have been read, / Under the weeds, under blossoming grass / As you molder with bones of the dead.

Ah then, oh my beauty, explain to the worms / Who cherish your body so fine, / That I am the keeper for corpses of love / Of the form, and the essence divine!

A Carcass

“Dissatisfied with everything, dissatisfied with myself, I long to redeem myself and to restore my pride in the silence and solitude of the night.  Souls of those whom I have loved, souls of those whom I have sung, strengthen me, sustain me, keep me from the vanities of the world and its contaminating fumes; and oh, dear God! grant me grace to produce a few beautiful verses to prove to myself that I am not the lowest of men, that I am not inferior to those whom I despise.”

One o’Clock in the Morning

“What men call love is a very small, restricted, feeble thing compared with this ineffable orgy, this divine prostitution of the soul giving itself entire, all its poetry and all its charity, to the unexpected as it comes along, to the stranger as he passes”

-Crowds

“It always seems to me that I should be happy anywhere but where I am, and this question of moving is one that I am eternally discussing with my soul.”

“‘Have you sunk into so deep a stupor that you are happy only in your unhappiness? If that is the case, let us fly to countries that are the counterfeits of Death’…At last my soul explores! ‘Anywhere! Just so it is out of the world!'”

-Anywhere out of the World

My eye, turned inward, darkly can discern / This Hellish picture self-distorted thus, / The while I see in yonder taciturn / Corner myself, cold, mut- and envious.
Envying these creatures their tenacious lust, / These rattling skeletons their deadly mirth, / Envying all of those who gaily thrust / Honour or beauty to rot beneath the earth.
Envious, my heart! O dark and dreadful world! / When these with passion their bright destruction bless, / Who, drunk with the pulse of their own blood, preferred / Deep pain to death and Hell to nothingness.

-The Gaming Table

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