Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Les Fleurs de Mal - Charles Baudelaire [image technically NSFW, but it's art, so that's ok?]

I finally finished reading Les Fleurs du Mal yesterday – it's taken two months exactly, which feels like quite a long time for such a small book. It's the first foreign language poetry I've read, and some of it really is beautifully written. I've always thought French is such a poetic-sounding language, and some of Baudelaire's lines are lovely when read aloud.

The subject matter is pretty gloomy, though, and having read the whole thing I got an overriding sense of depression, and even hatred – hatred of women, beauty, happiness and of himself as well. He seems to feel that none of those things are what they seem on the surface, and that below they surface all is evil, and death. (I guess I should have gathered that from the title...) That said, he uses some beautiful language to describe horrible things, and has definitely expanded my vocabulary. Here's part of the list of new words I've learned:

So at least that'll come in handy when speaking to real live French people.

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