French Literature

French Authors
  • Victor Hugo
  • Marcel Proust
  • Jules Verne
  • Charles Baudelaire
  • Molière
  • François Rabelais

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

A well known 19th century French poet, Charles Baudelaire was practically unknown during his time. He was one of the most prominent figures of the Symbolist school and is viewed nowadays as the father of modern poetry.

Baudelaire was born in Paris on April 9, 1821. An unhappy childhood and adolescence marked his later life. Determined to pursue his love of writing, he started out with critical journalism and lived large with his father's legacy, while it lasted, leading a decadent life that earned him a reputation as someone rather immoral and eccentric. Eventually succumbing to a venereal disease and crippled by financial troubles, he died prematurely at the age of 46.

His most important work was a book of poetry entitled "The Flowers of Evil" ("Les Fleurs du mal"), published in 1857. Offending public morals with some of the content, he was charged and prosecuted by the French government. He was fined and six of the poems were banned and were only included again after 1949. Baudelaire also had a hand in introducing the work of American writer, Edgar Allan Poe to Europe. Baudelaire translated Poe’s works until 1857.

Today, Baudelaire is considered one of the greatest characters of French literature.