Le Spleen de Paris (Petits Poèmes en prose, 1869)

Baudelaire, Charles (1821–1867), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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Baudelaire’s Le Spleen de Paris, also known as Paris Spleen or Petits Poèmes en prose, is a collection of fifty short pieces published posthumously in 1869. The work strongly influenced the modernist movement, in particular Rimbaud’s later prose-poems. Though inspired by Gaspard de la nuit, a work by Aloysius Bertrand, Baudelaire’s texts illustrate the Parisian life of his times, rather than Bertrand’s use of a medieval backcloth, and incorporate a number of themes and titles from Baudelaire’s earlier and more famous collection of poetry,  Les Fleurs du mal.

The title of the work refers to the psychological meaning of the word spleen: an ill-tempered disgust with the world. Here, Baudelaire displays his views on good and evil, sin and pleasure, men and women, the artist and the philistine, time and mortality, solitude and the crowd, and much more.

Author Details

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Kline, A. S.

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