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Paris Spleen

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  10,339 ratings  ·  358 reviews
Set in a modern, urban Paris, the prose pieces in this volume constitute a further exploration of the terrain Baudelaire had covered in his verse masterpiece, The Flowers of Evil: the city and its squalor and inequalities, the pressures of time and mortality, and the liberation provided by the sensual delights of intoxication, art, and women. Published posthumously in 1869 ...more
Paperback, 118 pages
Published January 17th 1970 by New Directions (first published 1869)
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Florencia
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who appreciate beauty in all forms
Shelves: poetry, french
For a man to become a poet... he must be in love, or miserable.
- Lord Byron, Journal of the Conversations of Lord Byron

...the seconds are now strongly, solemnly accentuated, and each one, springing forth out of the clock, says: “I am Life, intolerable, implacable Life!” (45)

This book includes two different works by Baudelaire: Paris Spleen and La Fanfarlo. The latter is the only novella he ever wrote, published before his celebrated Les Fleurs du Mal and it is, in fact, a good work. It tells th
...more
Luís C.
Charles Baudelaire's Little Poems in Prose (Paris Spleen) are inseparable from Paris and the architectural, social and economic transformations that the capital experienced in the second half of the 19th century.
The street plays a fundamental role in this poetry, because it represents the meeting place par excellence, a place of extraordinary mixing: the classes of the society are crossed there, the beings, crowds or individuals, are offered in their diversity , their generality or their specif
...more
Tosh
Sep 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I have this book by my bed. Before I drop my eyes into deep sleep I like to read a page or two of this book. It gives me a certain sense ..... of dreams. Wonderful dreams.
Steven Godin
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paris, france, poetry
Tell me, enigmatical man, whom do you love best, your father,
your mother, your sister, or your brother?
I have neither father, nor mother, nor sister, nor brother.
Your friends?
Now you use a word whose meaning I have never known.
Your country?
I do not know in what latitude it lies.
Beauty?
I could indeed love her, Goddess and Immortal.
Gold?
I hate it as you hate God.
Then what do you love, extraordinary stranger?
I love the clouds...the clouds that pass...up there...
up there...the wonderful clouds!
Jonfaith
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetshere
Who among us has not dreamt, in moments of ambition, of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical without rhythm and rhyme, supple and staccato enough to adapt to the lyrical stirrings of the soul, the undulations of dreams, and sudden leaps of consciousness.

Contrary to popular belief, I had never read Baudelaire until now. I've trusted Walter Benjamin and lately Calasso to provide me with a well informed ethos about this central figure. There are many concerns that this is the literature of the yo
...more
Raul
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I feel odd labeling a book of poetry as 'read'. That's not how a book of poetry is appreciated. It's not the simple act of opening to page one, reading each page in a linear fashion, then putting it back on the shelf (or in this case, closing the Kindle). Poetry is something that one must refer back to again and again. The images sit in the back of the mind waiting to be recalled again. Then, when the mood strikes, you jump to the bookcase and frantically flip the pages to find that image once a ...more
Jimmy
I never really understood the appeal of Les Fleurs du Mal, but so many people love it that I started to feel bad. What was I missing? Along comes this book, Paris Spleen, which is full of prose poems made of equal parts humor, cynicism, and insight (and often all three within a paragraph). I like these poems because reading it, I feel like I have a sense of who Baudelaire might have been as a person...

Plus, his humor is so odd:
Soup and Clouds

My adorable little minx was serving me supper; throug
...more
Catherine
A Hemisphere in a Head of Hair

Long let me inhale, the odour of your hair,
into it plunge the whole of my face, like a thirsty man
into the waters of a spring and wave it in my fingers like a scented handkerchief,
to shake memories into the air.

If you could know all that I see! All that I hear
in your hair! My soul floats upon perfumes as the souls of other men
upon music.

Your hair contains an entire dream, full of sails and masts;
it contains vast seas whose soft monsoons bear me to delightful climat
...more
Valerie
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ah, Charles... if you had been born in our time, you'd be a blogger extraordinaire! Decadent, passionate, and misogynistic, this poet stole my heart from Edgar Allen Poe and broke it on the cobbled streets of that Eternal City. Don't come looking for a sympathetic heart...Baudelaire is bitter, despondent, and completely adorable. Read this and tell me he's not a man before his time.
Thomas
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Baudelaire is a lover of dichotomy: rich/poor, solitude/society, excrement/perfume. "She is very ugly. She is nevertheless delectable." ("A Thorough-Bred") The unstated purpose of each poem is to transform degradation and disunity into an unsettled and ironic harmony, or at least to shine a light on the beauty of decay. They are passionate poems; they move with force, but with time it becomes apparent that each of them moves in a familiar pattern, and by the end of the collection it is comfortin ...more
Tedb0t
May 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended, poetry
Charles says it best himself: "Which ones of us, in his moments of ambition, has not dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical, without rhythm and without rhyme, supple enough and rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of reverie, the jibes of conscience?" Probably my favorite of his works.
Kris
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: want-to-own
A beautiful set of short prose poems, with rich vocabulary, elegant sentence structure, haunting morals, and often somewhat pessimistic outlooks.

There is overlap between this and Twenty Prose Poems, but there are more stories here, and he has changed a few. I bet he and Edgar Allen Poe would get along, if only for their love of the grisly and grim. Beaudelaire's "prose" makes me fall in love with poetry all over again, and he has now earned a place as one of my favorite poets!
...more
Andy
Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The liner notes in the back call them prose poems but they're more like weird little vignettes. I really like Baudelaire a great deal. Every piece is refreshing: A Hemisphere In Your Hair, The Shooting Gallery and The Cemetery, Loss Of A Halo, and Beat Up The Poor are a good place to start.
TBV
Baudelaire vents his spleen about a variety of issues. Traditionally the spleen was thought to be the seat of emotions. Much emotion is displayed here. These short pieces are keenly observed and beautifully written, but at times they are quite shocking and heart breaking.
Eadweard
Paris Spleen 4.5/5
La Fanfarlo 3/5




"Oh, yes! Time has come back; Time reigns like a King now; and along with that hideous old man comes all his demonic entourage of Memories, Regrets, Spasms, Fears, Anxieties, Nightmares, Rages, and Neuroses. I assure you that the seconds are now strongly, solemnly accentuated, and each one, springing forth out of the clock, says: “I am Life, intolerable, implacable Life."
----




"Finally, alone! All you can hear now are the wheels of a few late, weary hackney cabs. F
...more
Sara
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
No matter where! As long as it's out of the world!

Baudelaire has a depth that draws me, fascinates me and excites me.

This is a part of my favourite one:

"Across the ocean of roofs I can see a middle-aged woman, her face already lined, who is forever bending over something and who never goes out. Out of her face, her dress, and her gestures, our of practically nothing at all, I have made up this woman's story, or rather legend, and sometimes I tell it to myself and weep.
If it had been an old man I
...more
Ben
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I first became aware of this work about a year and a half ago, when reading something about that great punk poet, Patti Smith (as Baudelaire and Rimbaud were two of her biggest influences). But instead of picking up a copy of this work at that time, I first familiarized myself with Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal, as that is his better known work. Time passed and I never got around to Le Spleen de Paris as I had intended. But this year, as I continue with my exploration of French writers, I decid ...more
Travis Fortney
Sep 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I don't really understand this book. (it's poetry) But boy is it good.
Robert Isenberg
Apr 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
In many ways, Charles Baudelaire is an adolescent bombast -- he seems to enjoy opium and satanism just a little too much, and his prose-poetry is weighed down by Victorian abstraction (not to mention how much must be lost in translation; Baudelaire's is not the accommodating French of Le Petit Prince). That said, Baudelaire commits to a worthy experiment: to write about his daily life in pensive short prose, bombarding his readers with daring observations, anecdotes and fables. It reminds me a l ...more
Scot
Dec 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, amazing, poetry
A fantastic collection of poetry by Baudelaire published posthumously. I read this in anticipation of a Coursera class I am taking in February called "The Modern and Postmodern." After having recently diving into modern poetry it was a tad bit easier for me to allow these poems which seem more like mini-essays of observation, to touch me like traditional poetry. This collection seems to inhabit a world both modern and archaic and the observations made are though personal and inwardly reflective ...more
Marc
Feb 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short sketches, about loneliness and getting older. Sometimes strongly similar to Poe, with his masterful power of observation, a kind of precursor of de Maupassant. Sometimes very elegant, sometimes coarse. Technique of the unexpected turn that puts the prior story in a very different perspective.
Sadie
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Ah! Must we suffer eternally or else eternally flee the beautiful?
...
Studying the beautiful is a duel in which the artist shrieks with fright before being defeated.”

Andy
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought I should dip my toe in here, rather than "Flowers of Evil" since I tend to enjoy prose more than poetry, but I'm certainly looking forward to reading that volume now.

Almost all of these little prose poems have a thorn in them somewhere. These are reflections and streams of consciousness on daily life that reveal deeper, typically dark truths. These are about human nature, society, existence, pleasure, love.

"The Double Room" is a bitter exploration of how pallid everyday life appears af
...more
E
Oct 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, favorites
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 lan ...more
Geoff
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Louise Varese is my favorite Baudelaire translator...

""Illusions", said my friend, "are as innumerable, perhaps, as the relations of men to each other and of men and things.""

"...like a wolf caught in a trap, I am held fast, perhaps forever, to the grave of the ideal."

Thomas Baughman
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A book of classic prose poems. Be sure to read Louise Varese's translation if you are reading it in English.
Cristina
Jul 21, 2019 added it
Shelves: poetry
"By my kiss I make you eternally mine. You shall be beautiful as I am beautiful. You shall love what I love and what loves me: water, clouds, silence and the night; the green unfathomable sea; water without form and multiform; the place where you are not; the lover you will never know; monstrous flowers; delirious perfume; languorous cats who lie on pianos and moan like women with sweet and husky voices!"
Gina
Feb 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2014
Paris Spleen, a wonderful collection of prose poetry by one of the pioneers in modernist literature, Charles Baudelaire. This is a new food for me, I haven’t read anything by Baudelaire, and aside for a course I took last fall on American Poetry I haven’t read that much!

The book, originally published in 1851, depicts modern Paris through vivid and refreshing pieces on morals, time, artistry, freedom etc… with each poem you are drawn into, and quickly brought out of, little scenes that occasional
...more
Joey
May 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm sure lots of people who really love Baudelaire touched themselves when they first read this. I was not so enamored with the poetry of Baudelaire. Pretty language? Sure. Pretty language that made a lick of sense to a sober and/or sane person? Not so much? I get it. It's full of metaphor. But he's really grasping for straws here. You might as well get the journal of a schizophrenic and publish it. So obviously, Baudelaire isn't my cup of thé.
Kristen
Mar 21, 2013 rated it liked it
As much as I am not usually a poetry person, I got sucked into this book because of the choice of the author to do prose poetry. They actually kind of reminded me of creepy fairy tales, or a compilation of one's weird dreams. But he was basically exploring the good and evil in people and what he thinks of society. It made me interested in seeking out some other writers known for prose poetry.
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Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Fifteen - Paris Spleen, by Baudelaire 1 11 May 26, 2014 12:10AM  
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2,658 followers
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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