James's Reviews > Les Fleurs du Mal

Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire
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Jul 29, 08


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, implicitly rejecting personal experiences and memories; only operations of consciousness (e.g., revulsion and self-criticism) are valued and even exalted. Indeed, for Baudelaire, the shock of experiencing is the act of living.

Baudelaire's talent for poetry aside, his genius was to jolt the reader into this mindset, to feel what he wanted to feel and experience what he wanted to experience.
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Taraneh Well put, Baudelaire's way of interlacing prim and grim : to reveal emotion and understanding of what is considered "unethical" is just that of being.


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