The poems of The Flowers of Evil were written in Paris at a time of revolution and
accelerating change – the beginning of mass culture, the rise of consumerism and the
middle-class, the radical redevelopment of the city by Haussmann – and they provide many parallels with the malaise and uncertainties of contemporary capitalist societies.
Here we find poems about love (and love-hate), birds and beasts, Paris scenes and street people; about spiritual revolt, wine, death, travel and faraway places. The poet’s voice is by turns ironical, angry and compassionate, his words charged with anguish, desire and rapture.