Geoff's Reviews > Les Fleurs du Mal

Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire
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Feb 05, 09

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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 the speaker is addressing at the beginning of each stanza. The effect of this is no doubt to bring a sharp directness to this angel's interrogation, but one must decide for themselves how much liberty a translator is allowed. I personally don't mind to a see an intelligent translator indulge themselves once in a while.
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