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Paris Spleen


One of the founding texts of literary modernism.

Set in a modern, urban Paris, the prose pieces in this volume constitute a further exploration of the terrain Baudelaire had covered in his verse masterpiece, The Flowers of Evil: the city and its squalor and inequalities, the pressures of time and mortality, and the liberation provided by the sensual delights of intoxication, art, and women. Published posthumously in 1869, Paris Spleen was a landmark publication in the development of the genre of prose poetry―a format which Baudelaire saw as particularly suited for expressing the feelings of uncertainty, flux, and freedom of his age―and one of the founding texts of literary modernism.

"The cadenced prose beats in perfect time with the pulse of the slumbering city, where only the strange is awake. The atmosphere is old, dirty, often sordid, and yet, somehow, glorious.... The translation is almost perfect."
― John Randolph, Chicago Tribune

"He possessed, as it were, a profound intuition of the obstinate, amorphous contingency which is life..."
― Jean-Paul Sartre

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