Charles Baudelaire (b. April 9th): “Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us.”

9 Aug

Charles Baudelaire, born 9 April 1821 and died 31 August 1867, was a French poet. His most famous work is Les Fleurs du Mal. Baudelaire influenced a whole generation of poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé. His themes of sex, death, lesbianism, metamorphosis, depression, urban corruption, lost innocence, and alcohol gained him loyal followers. It also created controversy. Baudelaire, his publisher, and the book’s printer were taken to court for offending public morality. He is credited with coining the term ‘modernity’ (modernité) to designate the fleeting, experience of life in an urban metropolis.

Quotes on writing:

  1. Always be a poet, even in prose.
  2. Inspiration comes from working every day.
  3. Two fundamental literary qualities: supernaturalism and irony.
  4. In literature as in ethics, there is danger, as well as glory, in being subtle.
  5. A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counsellor, a multitude of counsellors.
  6. We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of Time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.


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