Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine: selected verse and prose poems

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The Citadel Press, 1962 - Poetry - 320 pages
2 Reviews
Here, for the first time, the work of three of Frances greatest poets has been published in a single volume: the sensual and passionate glow of Charles Baudelaire, the desperate intensity and challenge of Arthur Rimbaud, and the absinthe-tinted symbolist songs of Paul Verlaine.

To bring the essence of these three giants of modern poetry to the American public, Joseph M. Bernstein, a noted interpreter and translator of French literature, has selected the most representative of their writings and presented them along with a biographical and critical introduction.

"Not to know these three poets," he points out, "is to deprive oneself of a pleasure as rare as it is indispensable to any real understanding of the aims and direction of modern literature.

The volume includes Arthur Symons' unabridged translation of Flowers of Evil and the Prose Poems of Baudelaire; Louise Varese's translation of Rimbaud's A Season in Hell and Prose Poems from "Illuminations"; J. Norman Cameron's translation of the verse from the Illuminations; and a representative selection from Verlaine's verse translated by Gertrude Hall and Arthur Symons.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gazzy - LibraryThing

A fine version, best enjoyed as combining the towering trio of modern poetry. If anyone is concerned about translations then learn to speak french and read the original. It is artistic freedom to ... Read full review

Review: Baudelaire Rimbaud Verlaine: Selected Verse and Prose Poems

User Review  - Hunter Marston - Goodreads

The author translator focuses too much on rhyming and not enough on quality, depth, and substance. Read full review

Contents

To the Reader
3
24
9
Luck
32
Copyright

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About the author (1962)

Charles Baudelaire, 1821 - 1867 Charles Baudelaire had perhaps had an immeasurable impact on modern poetry. He was born on April 9, 1821, to Joseph-Francois Baudelaire and Caroline Archimbaut Dufays in Paris. He was educated first at a military boarding school and then the College Louis-le-Grand, where he was later expelled in 1839. Baudelaire then began to study law, at the Ecole de Droit in Paris, but devoted most of his time to debauchery. After an abortive trip to the East, he settled in Paris and lived on an inheritance from his much despised step father, while he wrote poetry. During this period he met Jeanne Duval, a mulatto with whom he fell in love with and who became the "Black Venus," the muse behind some of his most powerful erotic verse. Baudelaire strove to portray sensual experiences and moods through complex imagery and classical form, avoiding sentimentality and objective description. Thus he profoundly influenced the later French symbolist writers, including Mallarme and Rimbaud, and such English-language poets as Yeats, Eliot, and Stevens. With much of his inheritance squandered, Baudelaire turned to journalism, especially art and literary criticism, the first of which were "Les Salons". Here he discovered the work of Edgar Allan Poe, which became an influence on his own poetry. While continuing to write unpublished verse, Baudelaire became famous as critic and translator of Poe. This reputation enabled Baudelaire to publish his most famous collection of poetry, "Les Fleurs du Mal" (The Flowers of Evil) in 1857. The result was an obscenity trial and the banning of six of the poems. Though he continued to write journalism with some success, he became increasingly depressed and pessimistic. Baudelaire attempted suicide in 1845, an attempt to get attention, and became minorly involved in the French Revolution. Today Baudelaire's work is considered the "last brilliant summation of romanticism, precursor of symbolism and the first expression of modern techniques". It was his originality that set him apart and ultimately proved to be his end. Baudelaire died, apparently from complications of syphilis, on August 31, 1867, in Paris.

The poetic genius of Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) blossomed early and burned briefly. Nearly all of his work was composed when he was in his teens. During the century following his death at thirty-seven, Rimbaud's work and life have influenced generations of readers and writers. Radical in its day, Rimbaud's writing took some of the first and most fundamental steps toward the liberation of poetry from the formal constraints of its history, and now represents one of the most powerful and enduring bodies of poetic expression in human history.
Wyatt Mason has translated the works of various contemporary French writers, and has been a finalist for the French-American Foundation Translation Prize. His translation of Arthur Rimbaud's poetical and prose works, "Rimbaud Complete," appeared in 2002 from the Modern Library. His writing has appeared in "Harper's," "The Nation," and the "Los Angeles Times," He was named a fellow of the New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers for 2003-2004. His current projects include a new translation of Dante's "La Vita Nuova," for the Modern Library. He is also at work on a translation of the essays of Michel de Montaigne.

Paul Verlaine was born in Metz, France, in 1844. His life was characterised by alcoholism and poverty, as well as his notorious association with Arthur Rimbaud. He died in 1896 and has since been recognised as one of France's most important modern poets.

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