Selected Letters of Charles Baudelaire: The Conquest of Solitude

Rosemary Lloyd, Editor, Charles P. Baudelaire, Author University of Chicago Press $55 (300p) ISBN 978-0-226-03928-2
Unlike Flaubert, notes Lloyd in her useful introduciton, Baudelaire (18211867) didn't enjoy writing letters, yet he wrote them with unfailing lucidity and, often, extraordinary intensity of feeling. Ably translated, many published in English for the first time, the letters reveal Baudelaire's harsh daily struggles, exacerbated by syphilis and financial restrictions imposed by his stepfather; his passionate faith in the poetic vocation; his literary preoccupations, particularly as brought into focus by the controversy surrounding The Flowers of Evil; and his relationships with his peers, such as Flaubert, Hugo and Sainte-Beuve, and with women, most notably his mother, who was unable to understand his bohemian lifestyle and to whom he wrote of his mental and physical sufferings with ardent candor. The volume does much to illumine Baudelaire's artistic sensibility, and as such should delight all enthusiasts of his poetry. Lecturer at Cambridge University, Lloyd is the author of Baudelaire's Literary Criticism. (April)
Reviewed on: 02/15/1986
Release date: 02/01/1986
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