Baudelaire Poem “The Cat”

Baudelaire Poem The Cat — Charles Baudelaire was a French poet, art critic and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His best known work is highly controversial volume of poems, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil) (1857). And the poem Le Chat (The Cat) shows his admiration for cats.

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire (google.com)

Baudelaire was born in Paris, France on April 9, 1821. His father was a senior servant and amateur artist. As a young man, Baudelaire studied law at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. Dissatisfied with his choice of profession, he began to drink daily, hire prostitutes and run up considerable debts. However, obtained degrees in law, Baudelaire turned to a career in literature instead.

His first published work was an 1845 art review, which attracted immediate attention. Many of his critical opinions, including his championing of Delacroix, were bold and prophetic. In 1846, Baudelaire wrote his second art review, establishing himself as an advocate of Romanticism.

Throughout his adult life, Baudelaire struggled with poor health and multiplying debts. He escaped from creditors by moving frequently. Even with frequent moving, Baudelaire managed to produce translations of stories by Edgar Allan Poe, whose work he greatly admired as well as write his own poetry.

Baudelaire Poem: Le Chat (The Cat)

a cat in paris

a cat in paris (ivesti.com.ua)

We can get to know how Baudlaire saw cats and what he saw in cats. It’s obvious that one human being who was mesmerized deeply by an ever-alluring feline creature.

The Cat
 My beautiful cat, come onto my heart full of love;
 Hold back the claws of your paw,
 And let me plunge into your adorable eyes
 Mixed with metal and agate.
 When my fingers lazily fondle
 Your head and your elastic back,
 And my hand gets drunk with the pleasure
 Of feeling your electric body,
 I see in spirit my personal lady. Her glance,
 Like yours, dear creature,
 Deep and cold, slits and splits like a dart,
 And from her feet to her head,
 A subtle atmosphere, a dangerous perfume,
 Swim around her brown body.

— Geoffrey Wagner, Selected Poems of Charles Baudelaire (NY: Grove Press, 1974)

Baudelaire Style

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire (The AMERICAN READER)

As for theme and tone, in Baudelaire’s works we see the rejection of the belief in the supremacy of nature and the fundamental goodness of man as was typically espoused by the romantics. Baudelaire was never afraid of showing an interest in decadance, refined sensual and aesthetic pleasures which had been taken as vice.

And the use of urban subject matter, such as the city, the crowd, individual passers-by, all expressed in highly ordered verse, sometimes through a cynical and ironic voice.

Decadance

Baudelaire’s work regularly received much critical discussion include the role of women, the theological direction of his work. Much of everything, his experience of drug-induced states of mind, the figure of the dandy, his stance regarding democracy and its implications for the individual, his response to the spiritual uncertainties of the time, his criticisms of the bourgeois.

He made Paris the subject of modern poetry. He would bring the city’s details to life in the eye’s and heart’s of his readers.

We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of Time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.

Charles Baudelaire Quotes (Brainy Quote)

Les Fleurs du mal The Flowers of Evil

Illustraion of Les Fleurs du Mal by Carlos Schwabe, 1900

Illustraion of Les Fleurs du Mal by Carlos Schwabe, 1900 (Wikipedia)

Baudelaire’s best known work Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil) was published in 1857. The principal themes of sex and death created a public scandal. Other themes well ranges over lesbianism, metamorphosis, depression, corruption of the city, lost innocence and alcohol.

The book helped to create an appreciation for new literary art forms, bring once-controversial issues out of the dark and create a surge for truth and impressionism among writers and readers alike.

Front piece of the first edition of "Fleurs du mal" by Charles Baudelaire in 1857

Front piece of the first edition of “Fleurs du mal” by Charles Baudelaire in 1857 (Wikipedia)

Baudelaire was prosecuted along with his publisher and the book’s printer for creating an offense against public morality. Six of the poems suppressed. Gustave Flaubert and Victor Hugo and many other notables of the era rallied behind Baudelaire and condemned the decision.

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire (google.com)

Baudelaire died on August 31, 1867 in Paris. His influence on the direction of modern French and English language literature was considerable. In 1895, among many others showed their respect, Stéphane Mallarmé published a sonnet in Baudelaire’s memory, Le Tombeau de Charles Baudelaire. Many of his works were published posthumously, allowing his mother to resolve his debts.

There exist only three beings worthy of respect: the priest, the soldier, the poet. To know, to kill, to create.

Charles Baudelaire Quotes (Brainy Quote)

Reference

Charles Baudelaire Biography (bio.)
 Charles Baudelaire’s Fleurs du mal / Flowers of Evil (fleursdumal.org)
 Charles Baudelaire (Wikipedia)

Related Article

Victor Hugo: French Famed Romantic Author and Cats


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