Firstly, I love Les Fleur du Mal and Charles Baudelaire is quickly becoming my favorite writer. I only gave this version four stars because I did not like this translation. I found it to be too literal which slightly detracted from the writing. Personally, my favorite translation is by Norman Shapiro. While Shapiro's version is not as literal a translation as this one, I feel he does a better job of retaining the rhythm and essence of Baudelaire's writings. Again, that is just my personal preference but I would suggest trying to find Baudelaire's writings at a local bookstore or library first so you can compare different translations and see which one you like best before purchasing.
I suppose I'm predisposed to love this work (and love it I did!) because of my love of French literature in general and 19th century French poetry in particular. That being admitted, I still believe this to be one of the finest volumes of poetry ever written. The flow of the language is beautiful (try reading out loud or listening to a recording on YouTube) and the juxtaposition of beauty and sordidness powerful.
If you love poetry, 19th century urban romanticism, or the power and imagery of the French language, read this volume. Baudelaire is one of the greatest of poets of all time.
I had gotten this for my boyfriend several years ago and last year, at this time he passed away from pneumonia. His family got rid of all his books, so I bought this for myself because he liked it so much.
Compared with The Flowers of Evil (Oxford World's Classics), which is both in French AND English, this edition is terrible. Terrible Typography, terrible printing. The content of the book is good though.
Les Fleurs du Mal is a poetry collection that gathers Charles Baudelaire's poems after the year 1840. The book is divided in several sections such as: two introductory poems (Au poète impeccable and Au lecteur), Spleen et idéal, Tableaux parisiens, Le vin, Fleurs du Mal, Révolte, La Mort, Pièces condamnées, Appendice I. Supplément aux Fleurs du Mal (Nouvelles Fleurs du Mal, Les Epaves, Poèmes de l'édition posthume des Fleurs du Mal), Appendice II. Autre pièces and Appendice III. Documents divers (which include the preface for a new edition of the book, four short articles in which Baudelaire explains why he wrote Les Fleurs du Mal and which were his intentions; and there are also some notes and documents Baudelaire wrote to his lawyer). Les Fleurs du Mal was a disputed and very controversial book for the middle of nineteenth century France, because of the brutal and `obscene' language Baudelaire choose to write in, the themes which were considered taboos at that time (sexuality, homosexuality, vice, superficiality of women, hypocrisy and ignorance of society, religion seen through a dark perspective, etc.) Baudelaire led the way for some important literary movements of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century such as decadence, symbolism and modernism. He made the poem more abstract through the help of suggestions, correspondence and synesthesia; thus his work inspired many important poets, such as Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Pull Valéry, etc. Les Fleurs du Malis a must-read book because it brought a breath of fresh air to the romantic and Parnassian poetry, and it also opened the gate to modernism and postmodernism.
I am not a fan of Poetry, but this guy had some great concepts in his poetry. Having the French with English translation on the next page really helped me as a native English speaker to get the flow of the poetry and pick up (or disagree with the translator) on the parts I didn't quite understand.
Charles Baudelaire, Genial and lucid French poet, essayist, translator of the fantastic Edgar Allan Poe, and Art critic from the 19th. I recommend the following site http://fleursdumal.org/ as many translations have been done of his beautiful poems, but some are, as you can imagine, better than others...
Whatever problems this format may have had, don't make their appearances on my Kindle app on my iPad. I love Baudelaire and I'm listening to Librivox while reading along. I highly recommend doing that if you are a lover of language.