The Flowers of Evil

(Les Fleurs du mal)

28 January 2022

Charles Baudelaire (Author), Aaron Poochigian (Translator)

With an Introduction by Dana Gioia, With an Afterword by Daniel Handler


On the 200th anniversary of Baudelaire’s birth comes this stunning landmark translation of the book that launched modern poetry

Known to his contemporaries primarily as an art critic, but ambitious to secure a more lasting literary legacy, Parisian bohemian Charles Baudelaire, spent much of the 1840s composing gritty, often perverse, poems that expressed his disgust with the banality of modern city life.

First published in 1857, the book that collected these poems together, Les Fleurs du mal, was an instant sensation—earning Baudelaire plaudits and, simultaneously, disrepute. Only a year after Gustave Flaubert had endured his own public trial for published indecency (for Madame Bovary), a French court declared Les Fleurs du mal an offense against public morals and six poems within it were immediately suppressed (a ruling that would not be reversed until 1949, nearly a century after Baudelaire’s untimely death). Subsequent editions expanded on the original, including new poems that have since been recognised as Baudelaire’s masterpieces, producing a body of work that stands as the most consequential, controversial and influential book of poetry from the nineteenth century.

Acclaimed translator and poet Aaron Poochigian tackles this revolutionary text with an ear attuned to Baudelaire’s lyrical innovations—rendering them in “an assertive blend of full and slant rhymes and fluent iambs” (A.E. Stallings)—and an intuitive feel for the work’s dark and brooding mood. Poochigian’s version captures the incantatory, almost magical, effect of the original—reanimating for today’s reader Baudelaire’s “unfailing vision” that “trumpeted the space and light of the future” (Patti Smith).

An introduction by Dana Gioia offers a probing reassessment of the supreme artistry of Baudelaire’s masterpiece, and an afterword by Daniel Handler explores its continued relevance and appeal. Featuring the poems in English and French, this deluxe dual-language edition allows readers to commune both with the original poems and with these electric, revelatory translations.


"Charles Baudelaire ‘imbued sordid scenes with religious grace’, says Dana Gioia, in his excellent introduction to The Flowers of Evil, Aaron Poochigian’s new translation of Baudelaire’s masterpiece Les fleurs du mal. That blend of beauty and squalor shines through in Poochigian’s lilting version of this uncharacteristically quiet poem [#122 'The Death of the Poor'], one of a series reflecting on death." — The Telegraph


Longlisted — American Literary Translators Association National Translation Award, 2022

Also By: Charles Baudelaire View all by author...

  • Paris Spleen

    Charles Baudelaire, Louise Varèse

    E Book, 2013

    One of the founding texts of literary modernism.
  • Flowers of Evil: A Selection

    Charles Baudelaire, Marthiel Mathews, Jackson Mathews, Christopher Mattison

    E Book, 2013

    Baudelaire's Fleurs du Mal, which in successive editions contained all of his published poems, has opened new vistas for man's imagination and quickened the sensibilities of poets everywhere.
  • Paris Spleen

    Charles Baudelaire, Louise Varèse

    Paperback, 1970

    One of the founding texts of literary modernism.

Also By: Aaron Poochigian View all by author...



160 x 236 mm • 400 pages


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