From Edouard Manet to T. S. Eliot to Jim Morrison, the reach of Charles Baudelaire’s influence is beyond estimation. In this prize-winning translation of his no-longer-neglected masterpiece, Baudelaire offers a singular view of 1850s Paris. Evoking a mélange of reactions, these fifty “fables of modern life” take us on various tours led by a flâneur, an incognito stroller.
Through day and night, in gleaming cafés and filthy side streets, this alienated yet compassionate esthete muses on the bizarre in the commonplace, the sublime in the mundane. As the work reveals a teeming metropolis on the eve of great change, we see a Paris as contradictory, surprising, and ultimately unknowable as our guide himself. Superbly complemented by twenty-one period illustrations by Delacroix, Callot, Manet, Whistler, Baudelaire himself, and others, The Parisian Prowler
is an essential companion to Les Fleurs du Mal
and other works by the father of modern poetry. In the preface to this edition, translator Edward K. Kaplan explains how the volume’s illustrations act as a graphic subtext to the narrator’s observations.