john zwerenz edited the summary of Les Fleurs du Mal Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
By John Lars Zwerenz
Les Fleur Du Mal, a seminal volume of French verse written by Charles Baudelaire and published in 1857 was initially banned by the French government and was regarded by most of the literary establishment in France at the time as a work of "heresy". In this poetic masterpiece Baudelaire sees evil in beauty and glorifies death and decay as redemptive. He was one of the founders of the "decadents" or "symbolists" which emerged at the time of this book's publication as a literary movement confined to the poetic art form which celebrated medieval romanticism as a means of deliverance from personal spiritual bondage. In this new symbolism emotion counted as much as the intellect and emotive themes were celebrated using the medium of verse as a vehicle for mystical music. Other forerunners in this movement which broke with the Parnassian traditions which dominated French verse prior to the release of Les Fleur Du Mal were Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Gerard Nerval. My own latest work of fiction, An American Romance, was inspired by Les Fleur Du Mal and is a warning against the evils of fornication.