Charles Baudelaire

One of the most influential nineteenth century French poets, Charles Baudelaire was born in Paris on April 9, 1821. Hoping to reform his bohemian lifestyle, his parents sent him on a ship to India in 1841; however, Baudelaire left the ship, returned to Paris in 1842, and received his inheritance. He experimented with drugs and fell in love with Jeanne Duval, who inspired the "Black Venus" section of Les Fleurs du mal. Baudelaire had spent almost half of his inheritance by 1844, and his family arranged for him to have a small "allowance" for the rest of his life. In addition to writing poetry, he supported himself by writing art criticism and translating Edgar Allan Poe. Baudelaire is best known for the collection of poems Les Fleurs du mal, which is characterized by sexual explicitness and juxtapositions of urban beauty and decay. Baudelaire passed away in Paris on August 31, 1867.

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