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The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire with an Introductory Preface by James Huneker   By: (1821-1867)

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First Page:

THE POEMS AND PROSE POEMS

OF

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE

WITH AN INTRODUCTORY PREFACE BY

JAMES HUNEKER

NEW YORK BRENTANO'S PUBLISHERS

1919

CONTENTS.

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE by James Huneker

THE FLOWERS OF EVIL

The Dance of Death The Beacons The Sadness of the Moon Exotic Perfume Beauty The Balcony The Sick Muse The Venal Muse The Evil Monk The Temptation The Irreparable A Former Life Don Juan in Hades The Living Flame Correspondences The Flask Reversibility The Eyes of Beauty Sonnet of Autumn The Remorse of the Dead The Ghost To a Madonna The Sky Spleen The Owls Bien Loin d'Ici Music Contemplation To a Brown Beggar maid The Swan The Seven Old Men The Little Old Women A Madrigal of Sorrow The Ideal Mist and Rain Sunset The Corpse An Allegory The Accursed La Beatrice The Soul of Wine The Wine of Lovers The Death of Lovers The Death of the Poor The Benediction Gypsies Travelling Francisco Meæ Laudes Robed in a Silken Robe A Landscape The Voyage

LITTLE POEMS IN PROSE

The Stranger Every Man his Chimæra Venus and the Fool Intoxication The Gifts of the Moon The Invitation to the Voyage What is Truth? Already! The Double Chamber At One o'Clock in the Morning The Confiteor of the Artist The Thyrsus The Marksman The Shooting range and the Cemetery The Desire to Paint The Glass vendor The Widows The Temptations; or, Eros, Plutus, and Glory

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE.

BY JAMES HUNEKER.

I

For the sentimental no greater foe exists than the iconoclast who dissipates literary legends. And he is abroad nowadays. Those golden times when they gossiped of De Quincey's enormous opium consumption, of the gin absorbed by gentle Charles Lamb, of Coleridge's dark ways, Byron's escapades, and Shelley's atheism alas! into what faded limbo have they vanished. Poe, too, whom we saw in fancy reeling from Richmond to Baltimore, Baltimore to Philadelphia, Philadelphia to New York. Those familiar fascinating anecdotes have gone the way of all such jerry built spooks. We now know Poe to have been a man suffering at the time of his death from cerebral lesion, a man who drank at intervals and little. Dr. Guerrier of Paris has exploded a darling superstition about De Quincey's opium eating. He has demonstrated that no man could have lived so long De Quincey was nearly seventy five at his death and worked so hard, if he had consumed twelve thousand drops of laudanum as often as he said he did. Furthermore, the English essayist's description of the drug's effects is inexact. He was seldom sleepy a sure sign, asserts Dr. Guerrier, that he was not altogether enslaved by the drug habit. Sprightly in old age, his powers of labour were prolonged until past three score and ten. His imagination needed little opium to produce the famous Confessions. Even Gautier's revolutionary red waistcoat worn at the première of Hernani was, according to Gautier, a pink doublet. And Rousseau has been whitewashed. So they are disappearing, those literary legends, until, disheartened, we cry out: Spare us our dear, old fashioned, disreputable men of genius!

But the legend of Charles Baudelaire is seemingly indestructible. This French poet has suffered more from the friendly malignant biographer and chroniclers than did Poe. Who shall keep the curs out of the cemetery? asked Baudelaire after he had read Griswold on Poe. A few years later his own cemetery was invaded and the world was put into possession of the Baudelaire legend; that legend of the atrabilious, irritable poet, dandy, maniac, his hair dyed green, spouting blasphemies; that grim, despairing image of a diabolic, a libertine, saint, and drunkard. Maxime du Camp was much to blame for the promulgation of these tales witness his Souvenirs littéraires. However, it may be confessed that part of the Baudelaire legend was created by Charles Baudelaire. In the history of literature it is difficult to parallel such a deliberate piece of self stultification. Not Villon, who preceded him, not Verlaine, who imitated him, drew for the astonishment or disedification of the world a like unflattering portrait... Continue reading book >>




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