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Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

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Charles Baudelaire
(Étienne Carjat, Public domain)

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

The very example of the myth of the damned poet, Charles Baudelaire marked the 19th century by his work and symbolized poetic modernity. His brief existence was characterized by a dual obsession: spleen and the ideal.

Coming from a cultivated, refined bourgeois milieu, Baudelaire first became known as an art critic. In 1848 he translated the works of Edgar Allan Poe, in whom he saw a kindred spirit. Three women dominated his love life: Jeanne Duval, the black Venus who long remained his mistress, actress Marie Daubrun; and finally Apollonie Sabatier, to whom he devoted a virtually mystic love.

Crippled with debts most of his life, sapped by disease and the abuse of alcohol and drugs, Baudelaire finally died, aphasic and paralyzed, in 1867 in Paris, having fallen victim to a grave illness caught during a stay in Belgium.

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