The Flowers Of Evil
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Charles Pierre Baudelaire was born on April 9 1821 in Paris to an amateur artist mother and professional father. His father died when Charles was 6 but his mother remarried shortly after to Lieutenant Colonel Jacques Aupick who later became a prominent ambassador. Consequently Charles received a good education and was encouraged to enter the legal profession by both parents but instead wanted to pursue the life of the writer and had already developed an appetite, whilst studying law, for prostitutes and alcohol that inevitably led to debt and his parents disapproval. Baudelaire's literary published work began with well received art reviews and essays. He was a pioneering translator which included the works of Edgar Allan Poe but his most remarkable, famous and memorable works was his poetry and in particular his volume entitled The Flowers of Evil ('Les Fleurs du Mal'). The principal subject of these innovative styled poems about the changing nature of beauty in the modern industrialised Paris were sex and death and included lost innocence, lesbianism, alcohol, depression and urban corruption. This work created a huge controversy that led to the successful prosecution of both Baudelaire and his publisher for creating an offense against public morals. However, the book did find an appreciative audience including Victor Hugo who wrote to Baudelaire: 'Your fleurs du mal shine and dazzle like stars. I applaud your vigorous spirit with all my might'. The poems were hugely influential and in 1949 the judgement was officially reversed and Baudelaire recognised for his incredible talent. He died within a year of suffering a severe stroke on 31st August, 1867 and was buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery.