Charles Baudelaire Paris Scenes

Charles Baudelaire Paris Scenes

9781909747869
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The ‘Tableaux Parisiens’ (Paris Scenes) section of Les Fleurs du Mal contains eighteen poems which record a twenty-four-hour tour of the city: a type of Joycean journey from the point of view of a dandy Odysseus. Many of the poems in the sequence possess the sharpness and intensity of a dream, a dédoublement, enabling us to contemplate life in a manner that merges the fantastic and the sordidly realistic. These new translations are accompanied by artist Sally Castle’s responses prompted by the work of Constantin Guys, Baudelaire’s favourite ‘painter of modern life’. ‘These unblinking translations by Ian Brinton offer us a revival of Baudelaire’s offense against public morals. Hand-in-hand with the poet’s unquiet ghost, Brinton reminds us of the transparency of our contemporary mores so that we see through to Baudelaire’s genius, to his insistent sense of mortality in its Romantic eroticism and corruption. To understand the poet “tranced in envy” at the antics of these corpse-like erotics is to glimpse a form of compassion, of pity for the human condition. This strange and haunting quality is there at every turn of Brinton’s Baudelaire.’ — KELVIN CORCORAN