French Poet – Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire was a French poet, born in Paris (France) on April 9th, 1821. He was one of the most famous poets of the 19th century. He broke the classical aesthetic of poetry and added modernity to the poetry pattern. He’s not only in France, but he is still recognized as a major writer of the world’s history of poetry. He is a worldwide classic.

He liberated the aesthetic of classic poetry from any moral or ethic. One of his most famous work “Les Fleurs du Mal” (The Flowers of Evil), Baudelaire tried to show the link between evil and beauty, happiness and the inaccessible ideal, violence and voluptuousness etc. The poems deal with themes relating to decadence and eroticism. First published in 1857, it was important in the symbolist and modernist movements. Alongside with his solemn poems or scandalous poems (for this period), he expressed melancholy and the quest of a new world. He also knew how to extract beauty from horror, which was scandalous also for this period.

Then, he fell in love with Jeanne Duval. With her, he discovered the charms but also the bitterness of passion.

Very early in his life, he was such into debt that he got under guardianship, and his life started to dissolve. But this doesn’t stop him from writing more works, and he even becomes art critic and journalist.

The revolution of February 1848 instituted the freedom of the press, so Charles Baudelaire created a newspaper called “Le Salut Public”, with ideas essentially republican. This paper won’t know any more success after the second publication.

Then, he discovered the existence of Edgar Allan Poe, and from this day on, he didn’t cease to proclaim his admiration for the American writer, so that he became his official translator.

In March 1866, Baudelaire suffered from paralysis due to a loss of consciousness. He died at the young age of 46 years old, on August 31st, 1867, in Paris (France), due to syphilis.

* * Some poems by Charles Baudelaire * *
* À Une Dame Créole (To A Creole Lady) *
* A Une Madone (To A Madonna) *
* Alchimie de la douleur (The Alchemy of Sorrow) *
* Anywhere Out of the World *
* At One O’Clock In The Morning *
* Au Lecteur *
* Autumn *
* Avec ses vêtements ondoyants et nacrés(With Waving Opalescense In Her Gown) *
* Be Drunk *
* Beacons *
* Bénédiction (Benediction) *
* Beowulf *
* Bertha’s Eyes *
* Bohémiens En Voyage (Gypsies On The Road) *
* Calm *
* Cats *
* Causerie (Conversation) *
* Chanson d’Après-midi (Afternoon Song) *
* Chant d’automne (Song Of Autumn) *
* Châtiment De L’Orgueil (The Punishment of Pride) *

I was so impressed with the life of this artist that I wrote a dissertation about him during college. Later when I was doing research for my father and looking for a medicine for alcohol addiction, I remembered Charles Baudelaire’s, Be Drunk.

You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

Today I would edit that sentiment having experienced first hand the destructiveness of living with an alcoholic. Fortunately today there are options to control excessive drinking of wine etc yet still be able to enjoy such beverages moderately. Doctors in France prescribe the drug, baclofen, as the primary treatment for people who drink excessively. Initial clinical trials show that Baclofen has a 65% success rate for treatment-resistant alcoholics, allowing them to return to low- or medium-risk drinking. That’s right, this treatment doesn’t require abstinence although many people do stop all drinking. Baclofen doesn’t affect the taste of alcohol or the pleasure of drinking as does the drug, Antabuse, which is used as an effective treatment for chronic alcoholism by discouraging the consumption of alcohol. (Antabuse makes you feel sick if you consume any alcohol.) On the other hand baclofen simply removes the addictive components that lead to overindulgence and allows a person to drink in moderation, if they so choose to. I wonder what Charles Baudelaire would think of that!

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