Member Blogs > Books Tell You WhyCharles Baudelaire and French Poetry: A Tradition of Transgression

  • Tue, 07 Apr 2015 08:00:00    Permalink

    In 1857, Charles Baudelaire was prosecuted by the French government. The proofs of his seminal poetry collection, The Flowers of Evil, were seized, and six poems too obscene for publication were removed. Judges argued the poems “necessarily [led] to the excitement of the senses by a crude realism offensive to public decency.” Baudelaire and his publisher were fined, and the poet’s dark and bold work alienated even his friends. All in all, this was a success for Baudelaire, an artist who set out to challenge the poetic preoccupations of artificial refinement and sentiment that came before him.

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