Les Fleurs du Mal.

BAUDELAIRE Charles (1861.)


Available to view at our Curzon Street shop.

Second edition, with thirty-five new poems. Frontispiece etching of the author. 8vo. Half red morocco over marbled boards, gilt titling, five raised bands & geometric tooling to spine, very good. Original pale yellow wrappers bound in, mild foxing to title-page, interior otherwise clean. Housed in a marbled slipcase to match binding; this slightly rubbed. pp. [6], 1-319, [1]blank. Paris, Poulet-Malassis et de Broise,

Les Fleurs du Mal was published twice in Baudelaire’s lifetime. This, the second edition, varies greatly from the first, due to both the official suppression of six poems (the ‘pieces condamnées’, which were later published separately as Les Epaves in Brussells in 1866) and to the poet’s inspired editorship.  

Despite the forced removal of the banned poems, Baudelaire seized the second edition as an opportunity to revise and revitalise his work. He added 35 new poems, 18 of which formed a fresh second chapter, ‘Tableaux Parisiens’. This series, or cycle, provided an apt and pointed substitute: a 24-hour view of the people of Paris beloved to the author (among others, the prostitute, the labourer, the old); their vitality set against the homogenising force of bourgeois modernity. He also restructured the existing chapters.  

In discussion with Alfred de Vigny in late 1861, he said that the second edition was not simply an ‘album’ but in its re-organization had a beginning and an end, or, in other words, a birth and a death. This more than suggests the significance it held for him and perhaps his understanding that he would not live to see a third edition.

Stock Code: 223056

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