E's Reviews > Le Spleen De Paris

Le Spleen De Paris by Charles Baudelaire
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Sep 25, 08

bookshelves: poetry, favorites
Read in September, 2001

The best of Baudelaire - something I revisit when I'm in the mood to sigh. Because it is popular both among modern day francophones and students taking introductory courses, literature connoisseurs sometimes dismiss the swooning praise it garners as evidence of generic, unrefined taste. ("Of course you like Baudelaire's LE SPLEEN DE PARIS. I suppose ROMEO AND JULIET is your favorite play, too?") But Baudelaire and Shakespeare deserve their secure places in the foundations of their respective languages' literary canons. Their works prove the universality of human experience through their capturing the attention and breath rate of almost anyone.

Bestseller works like THE DAVINCI CODE or THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD often seem mundane or generic because they appeal to wide audiences - but popularity is neutral, not detracting. It is the overwhelmingly acetone aroma of the heavy packaging born out of focus group studies and manufactured according to very basic formulae that repels readers hoping to have been treated more respectfully by Dan Brown or Rebecca Wells. Instead of staring at masses of readers of past best-sellers as he scribbled away, Baudelaire turned inward, glancing outward only to describe the world rather than patronize and placate it.

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