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The Flowers of Evil (Wesleyan Poetry) [Paperback]

By Charles Baudelaire & Keith Waldrop (Translator)
Our Price $ 16.11  
Retail Value $ 18.95  
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Item Number 95914  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   194
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 28, 2008
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819568007  
EAN  9780819568007  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
The poetic masterpiece of the great nineteenth-century writer Charles Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil is one of the most frequently read and studied works in the French language. In this compelling new translation of Baudelaire's most famous collection, Keith Waldrop recasts the poet's original French alexandrines and other poetic arrangements into versets, a form that hovers between poetry and prose. Maintaining Baudelaire's complex view of sound and structure, Waldrop's translation mirrors the intricacy of the original without attempting to replicate its inimitable verse. The result is a powerful new re-imagining, one that is, almost paradoxically, closer to Baudelaire's own poetry than any previous English translation. Including the six poems banned from the first edition, this Flowers of Evil preserves the complexity, eloquence, and dark humor of its author. Brought here to new life, it is hypnotic, frank, and forceful.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
for the love of depravity  Mar 3, 2008
This book is a leftover from a long ago break-up with a French Athiest boyfriend many, many years ago... he was obsessed with Baudelaire and I wasn't. A bit raw for the sake of depravity, if you ask me. The "all women are vile" got a bit too repetitive for my taste. Even his moments of tenderness come across as cold and empty remorse, much like a child who gets scolded for being bad and then only apologizes because he was sorry he was caught. The one saving grace is that this Oxford version offers facing French text to compare language "differentials" .
McGowan's Baudelaire  Jan 27, 2008
Every translation of poetry is a compromise - on the one hand, the translator wants to "carry over" (the literal meaning of "translation") the poet's words and meaning exactly, but on the other hand, the translator also wants to create a poem that is as beautiful as the original! It is not an easy task.

McGowan's 1993 translation, into rhyming and metrical English verse, leans to the "literal" end of this spectrum. He renders Baudelaire's words, images, and verse closely enough that the reader can get a pretty reliable idea of the original. Although this is a faithful translation that stays away from "poetic license" and flights of fancy, it still reads well in English.

As an example of its acceptance in the world of Baudelaire studies, McGowan's translation is the one that is used by "The Cambridge Companion to Baudelaire" (ed. Rosemary Lloyd, 2005) for all quotations from Les Fleurs du Mal. If I could only have one English-language translation of Baudelaire in my library, this would be a good first choice.

The lurid and arabesque world of Baudelaire  Sep 30, 2007
Such a great price for a book with so much superb poetry! I really love Poe and the decadent poets and French Symbolists, and this book is a great introduction to the works of Baudelaire. I first picked this up in a library in Canada, then got a copy of it for myself when I returned back home. The cover art is nice too -- it seems to reflect that exotic world of poisons and deadly flowers that seem so representative of Baudelaire; however, there are also some very spiritual poems here that show how multifaceted he was as an artist. I highly recommend this book, if only for the price itself.
A 2007 review   Aug 3, 2007
I am disappointed by this translation, it being the Oxford World Classic by James McGowan. I compared some of McGowan's word choices when he switched from the French to English (the French text is beside English). I switched them back again by inserting Baudelaire's original word in the sentence (an exact English equivalent in spelling at times) and the line went from meek to brazen! Why would McGowan change something like that when the original poet is the master? McGowan should have trusted Baudelaire's work to shine through on its own. As a result, the edge was taken off the blade.
Mistaken identity  Dec 31, 2006
None of the reader reviews below (prior to August 2006, the month of this translation's publication), have anything to do with this translation by Keith Waldrop. So read it for yourself, or wait for reviews by those that have. All translations of foreign language poetry into English have differences--especially as here where one is done in versets--and a review of one translation cannot suffice for another.

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