Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire was born in Paris on April 9th, 1821. His father, born in 1759, died when Charles was six years old. His mother remarried in 1828. His relationship with his stepfather, Captain (and finally General) Aupick, was a difficult one, especially in later years. Baudelaire was sent to a boarding school in Lyons, then attended the Lycee Louis-le-Grande in Paris. He began to write poems while at school. In 1839 he was expelled from the Lycee, and became a boarder once more at a crammer's, passing his baccalauréat in 1839. He spent the next few years living as a bohemian in the Latin Quarter. In June 1841 he set out on a voyage to the East, an experience that left many traces in his later poems. After his return to France in 1842 he settled in Paris once more, living on his inheritance. He was notorious at this time as a dandy and drug addict. Soon he was in serious financial difficulties, which increased with the years, since Baudelaire would never accept employment of any kind, and his literary output was small. His early association with the actress Jeanne Duval continued throughout his life, at least sporadically. Baude­laire's notoriety after the publication and persecution of his Les Fleurs du Mal in 1857 did not relieve the poverty and lone­liness of his later years. After an unsuccessful lecture tour in Belgium he became seriously ill in 1865 with general paralysis, and died in August 1867. His great international reputation, mainly as a poet but also as a literary and art critic, was mainly posthumous.

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