Paul's Reviews > The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire

The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire by Charles Baudelaire
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Dec 26, 2011

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Read in December, 2011

I wanted to read a bit of Baudelaire’s work because of the references in Huysmans’ À rebours comparing him to Poe.

I was disappointed. I’m sure much was literally “lost in translation” but I found very few similarities in their works. While Baudelaire explores some morose themes, like his love of a skeleton in his poem “The Dance of Death,” his writing lacks the same soporific or hypnotic effect of Poe. The translation I read offered terribly broken pentameter and poor typesetting which didn’t help matters. If I was able to read in the native French, I’m sure the nuances of the language would allow me to make a more fair comparison.

I did enjoy some of his prose poetry. “The Shooting Range and the Cemetery” offered an interesting juxtaposition between glorifying a means of death within reach of a final resting place. This fact wasn’t lost on those trying to rest!

Overall, I’m sure he’s a fine poet. In the future, I may read some reviews to try and locate a better translation.
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