Charles Baudelaire: Paris Blues / Le Spleen De Paris: The Poems in Prose with La Fanfarlo

Mark Ford writes:


The ‘Tableaux parisiens’ section of Les Fleurs du mal has worn better than the volume’s many poems of doomed or vampiric love. The urban consciousness developed in this section also dominates a number of the wonderful prose poems Baudelaire began writing in the second half of the 1850s, and which he sold – sometimes twice over – to various newspapers and fugitive magazines. He intended to collect these into a volume to be called Petits poèmes en prose, but it never appeared in his lifetime, probably falling victim to his somewhat unscrupulous, but never particularly successful, dealings with various publishers. It was posthumously issued as Le Spleen de Paris, translated by Francis Scarfe as Paris Blues.

(LRB 21 February 2013)

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