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Charles Baudelaire Poster

Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Paris, France
Died in Paris, France  (complications after a stroke)
Birth NameCharles-Pierre Baudelaire

Mini Bio (1)

Charles Baudelaire was a 19th century French poet, translator, and literary/art critic. At his birth, Baudelaire's mother, Caroline Archimbaut-Dufays, was 28; his father Francois Baudelaire was 61. Charles' father instilled in him an appreciation for art, taking his young son to museums and galleries, and teaching him to paint. When Charles was six, his father died and Charles became very attached to his mother, but when she remarried, he was sent to boarding school. The school was ruled by military discipline which caused much of Baudelaire's solitude and fits of crushing melancholy. Baudelaire resented the strictures of his life and was, in turn, difficult and rebellious. He frequently fought with students and teachers. He began to write poems, which were not well received by his masters, who felt them examples of precocious depravity, unsuitable for his age. He eventually attended the College Louis-le-Grand, but was expelled in April 1839.

In an attempt to draw him away from the company he was keeping, Baudelaire's stepfather sent him on a voyage to India in 1841. Baudelaire jumped ship and eventually made his way back to France in February of 1842. On his 21st birthday, Baudelaire received his father's inheritance, but his lavish and extravagant lifestyle (including use of hashish and opium) dwindled his fortune. He fell prey to cheats and moneylenders, which led to heavy debt. He also contracted the venereal disease that eventually took his life. His parents obtained a court order to supervise his money and Charles received only a small allowance. In 1842, Charles met a Creole woman named Jeanne Duval, who became his mistress and dominated his life for the next 20 years. Jeanne would inspire Baudelaire's most anguished and sensual love poetry, provoking such masterpieces of the exotic-erotic imagination as "La Chevelure" ("The Head of Hair").

Baudelaire used his writing to shock and astonish society, likely because of his strict upbringing and strong opposition to authority. He often focused on the immoral and cynical. He felt that his ideas where very similar to those of Edgar Allen Poe, who focused on beauty, death, and the bizarre. Baudelaire began to translate volumes of Poe's work into French, and much of Poe's popularity in England and France is attributed to Baudelaire. In 1857, Baudelaire's most well-known work, "Les Fleurs Du Mal" ("The Flowers of Evil") was seized by French authorities and Baudelaire was forced to omit six poems and pay a fine; today, it stands as perhaps the most influential poetry collection published in Europe in the 19th century. He continued to publish "salon" studies and critical reviews of other artists, including Flaubert's "Madame Bovary". In 1860, he began publishing prose poetry, a poetic form unknown in France, and became renowned for his innovation in prose experiments.

Near the end of his life, Baudelaire's agonizing moods of isolation and despair, which he called his moods of "spleen," returned and became more frequent. In 1867, while in Belgium, Baudelaire developed hemiplegia and aphasia. He was brought back to Paris, where he died.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

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