Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was a major French poet, who explored themes of moral complexity, vice and decadence, sensual and aesthetic pleasures. His verse follows formal structures and symbology, but includes innovations such as the use of sound to create atmosphere within the piece.
As a young man, Baudelaire spent wildly on drugs and women, embarking on a long love affair with Jeanne Duval and becoming alienated from his family. He also became briefly involved with revolutionary politics. He began publishing poetry in 1845 with his most famous work, Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) published in 1857. The poems' subject matter earned them immediate attention, as Baudelaire focussed on sex and death, melancholy and corruption. Many critics called for the poems to be suppressed, and Baudelaire, his publisher and the printer were fined. However, only six poems were suppressed and Baudelaire was not imprisoned.
Baudelaire's health broke down under the influence of drugs and poverty. He became bankrupt in 1861 and suffered a massive stroke in 1866, dying a year later.
In 1887, a collection of essays by Baudelaire were published posthumously under the title 'My Heart Laid Bare.' As illustrated in the following quotes, Baudelaire discusses his love and hatred for his own decadent lifestyle, and his belief that pleasure and sin lie closely entwined.
"There exists in every man at every moment two simultaneous postulations, one toward God, the other toward Satan."
"The unique and supreme voluptuousness of love lies in the certainty of committing evil. And men and women know from birth that in evil is found all sensual delight"
On page 40, Fevvers describes the women's habitation as 'luxe, calme et volupte.' This is a quote from Baudelaire's 'L'invitation au voyage' in Les Fleurs du Mal.
"There all is order and beauty, Luxury, peace, and pleasure."