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The Flowers of Evil

4.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  30,609 Ratings  ·  748 Reviews
The Flowers of Evil, which T.S. Eliot called the greatest example of modern poetry in any language, shocked the literary world of nineteenth century France with its outspoken portrayal of lesbian love, its linking of sexuality and death, its unremitting irony, and its unflinching celebration of the seamy side of urban life. Including the French texts and comprehensive expl ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published September 17th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1857)
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John Tidball If you want to read the most complete and most recent version of Les Fleurs du Mal, I suggest you read my translations which I have published side by…moreIf you want to read the most complete and most recent version of Les Fleurs du Mal, I suggest you read my translations which I have published side by side with the original French poems. You need look no further. ISBN 978-1523937394(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kelly
Jan 18, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Francophiles and poetry lovers
Recommended to Kelly by: My European history teacher
After reading Baudelaire, I suddenly find myself wanting to smoke cigarettes and say very cynical things while donning a trendy haircut. Plus, if I didn't read Baudelaire, how could I possibly carry on conversations with pretentious art students?

In all seriousness, though, I wish my French was better, so that I could read it in its intended language. I'm sure it looses something in the translation... but it's still great stuff nonetheless.

And with a title like "Flowers of Evil," how can you go
...more
matt
Mar 12, 2013 matt rated it really liked it

Here's a recent essay on Baudelaire from the trusty, always-interesting online mag The Millions:
http://www.themillions.com/2013/04/th...

So as to try to follow that, I've got to disclose a bit of an embarrassment. Baudelaire was, for me, the kind of poet only certain kinds of people liked. By this I don't mean Francophiles or the merely pretentious but there was something that set a devotee of C.B. apart from your average earnest, quavering, verbose, nervous poet or poetry fanboy.

It's hard to
...more
MJ Nicholls
Superlative. Thrilling. Sensual. Naughty. Macabre. Joyous. Liberating. Essential. Poetry for the reluctant poetry reader, i.e. me. (A little distracted here listening to Belle & Sebastian’s Write About Love which I finally acquired. Hence the choppiness). Great translation. Don’t care about reading in the original or what is lost in translation. Each translation adds to or improves the previous and this one reads pretty swell to me. Where do I go from here? Verlaine? Rimbaud? Mallarmé? Pam A ...more
sweet jane
Feb 15, 2016 sweet jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Υπέροχη έκδοση!
Fernando
Mar 31, 2016 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Luego de leer “Las Flores del Mal”, debo admitir que me cuesta mucho ejercer una crítica (la palabra me demasiado suena fuerte) o una reseña sobre este libro mítico, debido a mis pobres conocimientos sobre poesía. Es más, recuerdo que cuando tuve que analizar poesía durante mi intento de estudio de la carrera de Licenciatura en Letras (porque de eso se trató, realmente) la pasé muy mal.
Los que verdaderamente saben de poesía no van a descubrir nada nuevo acerca de la maestría de Baudelaire a la
...more
James
Jul 29, 2008 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite poets of all time.

Baudelaire emphasized above all the disassociated character of modern experience: the sense that alienation is an inevitable part of our modern world. In his prose, this complexity is expressed via harshness and shifts of mood.

The constant emphasis on beauty and innocence, even alongside the seamier aspects of humanity, reinforce an existentialist ideal that rejects morality and embraces transgression. Objects, sensations, and experiences often clash, implici
...more
Vit Babenco
Jul 18, 2016 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis
Ever since the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge was eaten any lore became an attribute of evil. So to read books in order to wide one’s horizons is just to sign a pact with the devil.
“Pillowed on evil, Satan Trismegist
Ceaselessly cradles our enchanted mind,
The flawless metal of our will
...more
Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion
This is a step towards possession.

Certainly the possession does not last the entire way through, but even in the less interesting or repetitive poems there are some jarring lines, amplified by a soul in Heat.

Like any elevated piece of literature, Flowers of Evil consumed me to such an extent that at times I forgot I was reading words on a page, its intensity moving my mind into some unknown zone where images, thoughts, and recollections screamed by, colliding with each other. So, too, did I fee
...more
Antonomasia
translated by Edna St. Vincent Millay & George Dillon

It's outrageous that this wonderful translation is out of print.
After looking at many versions (including Richard Howard, James McGowan, and Cyril Scott who was my second favourite) this was the only one with truly good poems which replicated the original structures and had the glittering night-magic of Baudelaire's sensual, sinister, romantic, gothic wonderland. Which would of course have something to do with one of the translators herse
...more
rose vibrations
Jun 28, 2015 rose vibrations marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
My darling was naked, or nearly, for knowing my heart
she had left on her jewels, the bangles and chains
whose jingling music gave her the conquering air
of a Moorish slave on days her master is pleased

Whenever I hear such insolent harmonies,
that scintillating world of metal and stone
beguiles me altogether, and I am enthralled
by objects whose sound is a synonym for light

For there she lay on the couch, allowing herself
to be adored, a secret smile indulging
the deep and tenacious currents of my love
wh
...more
Mai Kais
May 12, 2012 Mai Kais rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
أزهار الشر فهو من أعظم دوايين الشعر التي ظهرت على مر العصور . صدر هذا الديوان عام 1855م .يقول هنري لوميتير في مقدمته للديوان :


"إن التمزق الذي عانى منه بودلير بين الرغبات الحسية التي عذبته طوال حياته وبين الإيمان الروحى سمة عصره المسيحى الكاثوليكي لتفشي سر هذه الأفكار التي سيطرت على روحه والتي تضمنتها قصائده والواضحةفي كل لغة وصور ورموز شعره "


مقتطفات من أجمل قصائد الديوان :

- القارورة
ألف فكرة كانت ترقد ...شرانق حريرية
راعشة بهدوء في الظلمات الكثيفة
تحلق باجنحتها وتباشر أنطلاقها
مخضبة باللازورد ملا
...more
Mariam Okasha
Aug 19, 2011 Mariam Okasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ليست تجربتي الأولى في قراءة الشعر المترجم ...فقد قرأت بعض شعر دانتي من قبل ..لكن بودلير مختلف
أعتقد أن قدرته على التشبيه قدرة عالية جدا و في كلٍ من قصائدهِ كنت أرى ابداعًا جديدًا لم أعهده من قبل .. في ديوان أزهار الشر أعجبني العديد من القصائد و أعتقد أنه بداية جيدة تؤهلني لأكون معجبة حقيقية بفن بودلير الراقي المميز
Kay
I read a majority of the poems in French, which made the experience more beautiful. Each word is like a unique brushstroke of color on a grand canvas, applied with varying degrees of pressure, and each deeply and sensually hued. Baudelaire’s poetry paints gorgeous images of emotion, desire, and wanting that remain with you. Reading Les fleurs was a deeply personal and stirring experience for me. I have many favorites and could provide analyses on a dozen poems or more, but for the sake of length ...more
Lynn Beyrouthy
Aug 07, 2014 Lynn Beyrouthy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
When it comes to the most beautiful literature in the world, I radically believe in the imperial prominence of Nineteenth century French literature.
Charles Baudelaire is one of the poets that tremendously alimented this conviction.

Originally entitled "Les Lesbiennes" and brazenly delineating sexuality and libidinous desires, the poems which Baudelaire composed in the decade of 1840-1850 were continuously censored until 1857, when his work was published with the title "Les Fleurs du Mal".

The be
...more
Rhonda
Feb 14, 2009 Rhonda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was so taken by this book that I memorized whole passages to repeat if only to myself at various times of the day. As I recall, my friends began to think I was mentally ill. Nevertheless, the power of this book was immense on my life as a college junior, I think, and it caused me to fall in love with everything that was French, cynical and wearing a beret, much like a Parisian waiter on his day off. I actually picked this book up because I loved the name, but it also began a long term love aff ...more
COME_TO_THE_DARK_SIDE
No soy muy amante de la poesía en general. No obstante, debo reconocer que Baudelaire es la excepción que confirma la regla, sus obras siempre me dejan atónita. Estos poemas exploran una serie de temas, centrándose a menudo en las experiencias personales y los sentimientos del autor. En ellos quedan retratados la depravación, el amor, la liberación por el arte, la desesperación y la muerte.


RahafMouman Sy
Jun 11, 2016 RahafMouman Sy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: شعر
قوي.. غريب ومؤلم انت يابودلير
تناقضات حياة يومية صورها بودلير بمجموعة شعرية
بودلير بهذا التناقض يأخذك لرحلة بعيدة تطوف فيها حول الأنا الجرح والسكين
الأنا الضحية والجلاد ..انا عدو نفسي
كل مايجول بخاطرك .. الحب ، الطبيعة والأنسان
الضجر والسأم ، شقاء وعذوبة
صراحة وسودانية
مفردات وتشبيهات غريبة خاصة به وحده دون غيره
ولكن مهما كان المترجم محترفا فهو لن يوفي الشاعر حقه وهذا ماجعلني أقف تائهة حائرة عند بعض الكلمات ....
ولكن !
بوسعي أن اقول كبداية أنها تجربة جيدة في الشعر المترجم وهذا يدفعني للقراءة من جديد
...more
Mohammad
Jul 08, 2016 Mohammad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
براي كسي مثل من كه هميشه توي روشنايي گم ميشه و هر بار توي تاريكي هست كه خودشو پيدا مي كنه، شعر بودلر مي تونه فوق العاده مطبوع باشه. سخته كه الان احساسم رو نسبت به اين شعر ها بگم و تعداد شعر هايي كه تو اين كتاب دوست داشتم انقدر زيادند كه نميشه نام برد. در مورد ترجمه اينكه، مستقيم از فرانسه ترجمه شده و ترجمه ها شاملويي هستند. يعني مترجم به جاي روال عادي ترجمه شعر به فارسي كه فقط منظور شاعر رو منتقل مي كنه، سعي كرده به شعر ها شاعرانگي اضافه كنه و به نظر من در اين كار كاملا موفق عمل كرده.
حرف آخر اين
...more
Kelly
Death, decay, death, WOE, death, despair, death, afternoon tea!, death, death, some more WOE... That's the Eddie Izzard version of this collection.

Didn't finish all of them. I tried reading both the English and the French of every poem, so maybe that had something to do with it. This guy also gives Poe a run for his money in depressing. He translated Poe into French and made the imagery /more/ morose, if you can imagine. The poems I read I loved, though it does get a bit repetitive after awhile.
Terence
Aug 28, 2009 Terence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: New Book shelf at library
Shelves: poetry
Flowers of Evil was an entirely serendipitous impulse check-out from my local library. I can only imagine that what caught my eye was the title - Flowers of Evil - who could resist? So I pulled it from the shelf, opened it up at random, read a few verses, and said to myself "This isn't bad."

Not only was it "not bad" but it was extraordinarily good; good enough that Baudelaire has joined the list of authors I'll pay money for.

It's random events like finding authors whose work "speaks to me" in so
...more
Rosa Ramôa
Oct 19, 2014 Rosa Ramôa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"É preciso estar sempre embriagado. Apenas isso, mais nada. Para não sentir o horrível fardo do Tempo que vos esmaga os ombros e vos dobra para o chão, é preciso que vos embriagueis sem tréguas. Mas de quê? De vinho, de poesia ou de virtude, à vossa escolha. Mas embriagai-vos.
E se alguma vez, nos salões de um palácio, sobre a erva de uma vala ou na solidão morna do vosso quarto, acordardes de uma embriaguez evanescente ou desaparecida, perguntai ao vento, à vaga, ao pássaro, ao relógio, a tudo o
...more
Geoff
Feb 05, 2009 Geoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
At this point not much has to be said about the quality of the poems in Les Fleurs du Mal, and this is an especially beautiful translation. The monotypes and the complete original French text make this probably the essential version to have around.

I will add a caveat to this review. While I find Richard Howard's translations to be gorgeous and unique, they are indeed his interpretations, and he does take liberties with the text. An example is in "Reversibilite", where he omits the "Ange" which t
...more
Laurie –A Court of Books–
Baudelaire, I love you.
This is for this kind of books that I'm so happy to be native French. I was able to read it in its intended language.

And I.LOVE.IT.

I actually felt IT, what he meant, what he wanted me to feel, what he probably felt himself. Joy. Pain. Sorrow. Grief. Dreams. Depression. Ecstasy. Need. Helplessness. Freedom. Addiction. Adoration. Hatred. Wonder.

Just read it, it worth the try.
Simona Bartolotta
May 18, 2012 Simona Bartolotta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 1800
'Epigrafe per un libro condannato'
Non scrissi, o lettore innocente,
pacifico e buon cittadino,
per te questo mio saturnino
volume, carnale e dolente.

Se ancora non hai del sapiente
Don Satana appreso il latino,
non farti del mio sibillino
delirio turbare la mente!

Ma leggimi e sappimi amare,
se osi nel gorgo profondo
discendere senza tremare.

O triste fratello errabondo
che cerchi il tuo cielo diletto,
compiangimi, o sii maledetto!

In realtà, tutta l'essenza de I fiori del male è perfettamente condensata in
...more
Anicius
Apr 13, 2016 Anicius rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Това бе стихосбирката, с която на практика израснах. Единственият. Поетът. Провокаторът. Скандализиращият и последните остатъци от детското в мен. Бодлер и Дьо Сад надраснаха влиянието на Дюма-баща. "Прокълнатите жени" и до сега си остава емблематично стихотворение в моя живот... Прочетох я изцяло в сексуален контекст, в опит за високия еротизъм (в случай, че има две Венери :) ) и онова гъделичкащо настръхване на кожата, в което си представяш голота, но не отиваш по-далеч - към ниската перверзия ...more
Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
This translation for Oxford World's Classics by James N McGowan is wonderful enough that I was compelled to buy it, and is offered next to the French text in this excellent paperback for a degree of transparency I am grateful for even with my limited and very much rusty French.

An indispensable resource too is the site http://fleursdumal.org/ which offers multiple older translations, again along with the original French.
Andrés
Aug 02, 2016 Andrés rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despúes de degustar su prosa poética en "El spleen de París" me aventuré con estas "flores del mal" que hicieron mucho bien a mi aciago corazón. Todo aquel que gusta de la poesía debe posar sus ojos en la exquisitez de estos versos, amarlos en toda su fatalidad, en toda su desdicha; en todo ese caos que suele ser el mundo cuando se es libertino en las viejas y adustas calles de París del siglo XIX.
Amina - أمينَة.
Nov 09, 2015 Amina - أمينَة. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
-
"وأفكر بكل من فقد شيئا لايمكن تعويضه
بالذين يشربون دموعهم ويمتصّون آلامهم
كيتامى الذئبة الطيبة
الناحلين الذابلين كالأزهار
أفكّر في الغابة التي أصبحت منفى لعقلي
فـ تدق في صدري ذكرى قديمة
كما يدق البوق
أفكّر في البحارة المنسيين فوق جزيرة ضائعة
بالأسرى وبالمغلوبين وكثيرين غيرهم."


في هذا الديوان بإمكانك أن تقرأ حُزن وكآبة بودلير الذين أديا به إلى محاولة إقدامه على الإنتحار, يقول لأمه في إحدى رسائله
"أعتقد أن حياتي قدرت للشقاء منذ البدء، وكذلك تظل".
فشلت تلك المحاولة, ولكن الموت زاره وبسرعة شديدة بعد معاناة
...more
Ben
Jun 22, 2014 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I wrote a review of this work last year, which marked my first encounter with Baudelaire. I don't really have much to add this time around -- I wanted to re-read Baudelaire's verse before moving on to his prose poems in Le Spleen de Paris. Baudelaire is a poet of the darkest depths of the human soul, a poet who explores delicately the ills of civilization, the hidden caverns of human sexuality and the problems of the day with sharp insight and clarity (if sometimes in a manner that is very pessi ...more
Szplug
Nov 25, 2009 Szplug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I retain barely enough (Canadian) French to be able to falteringly enter Baudelaire's ink-delimited sensorium, to brokenly experience the sensual garden of verse he created - sinful, breathy, carnal, passionate; a full-flowered bloom of les fleurs noir. Thus, it's nice to have English translations to fall back on, ones which retain a heady beauty all of their own. Jackson Mathews has assembled a superb version for New Directions Books, with the editors selecting the best translations from some t ...more
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¡ POETRY !: Confusion between editions and translations 2 76 Sep 01, 2015 02:51AM  
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¡ POETRY !: Powerful poetry indeed! 1 9 Dec 20, 2014 10:00PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect search result 7 18 Dec 20, 2014 12:27PM  
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  • Alcools
  • Poésies complètes
  • Poèmes Saturniens
  • Collected Poems and Other Verse
  • Paroles
  • Maldoror and the Complete Works
  • Cuttlefish Bones
  • Capital of Pain
  • Les Contemplations
  • The Selected Poems
  • Duino Elegies
  • Aurélia
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Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a 19th century French poet, translator, and literary and art critic whose reputation rests primarily on Les Fleurs du mal; (1857; The Flowers of Evil) which was perhaps the most important and influential poetry collection published in Europe in the 19th century. Similarly, his Petits poèmes en prose (1868; "Little Prose Poems") was the most successful and innovative e ...more
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“The Poet is a kinsman in the clouds
Who scoffs at archers, loves a stormy day;
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He cannot walk, his wings are in the way.”
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