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Just a note to say that I am really enjoying your series on the novella series that you are reading. I have not heard of a lot of them, and your reviews are well done. I've been following your progress... Good job and thanks for exposing me to different (and new to me) authors...


I'm a fan of Baudelaire's poetry, so I bought this book as soon as it was released. Sad to say I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but you're the first to give me some notion of what it's actually about.


Thanks Liz--a very kind comment. I am hoping to keep up with the books and am reading the Twain now. The nice thing about them is they aren't so long that they require a long time commitment in reading them, so I can get a taste of a variety of authors I might not otherwise. The reading is easy, but sometimes writing about them is a little more (for me anyway) challenging!


It's quite a fast little read when you do get around to it. I have yet to read any of his poetry, and as I am not a very good poetry reader to begin with I might not have read him otherwise. But I am curious so might have to check out his poems at some point. It's a good story, though I should have read it a little closer than I did since there were a number of cultural references and philosophizing that would have probably given the story more weight. I did a little surfing online and didn't really find much written about it either.

Elizabeth (The Bamboo Bookcase)

What a great idea to do a series on novellas! This one sounds fascinating. I'd never seen a picture of Baudelaire before -- he looks like Poe! They both have those haunted eyes.


He looks a little taciturn, doesn't he? Not someone to have an affair with a dance hall actress--though in real life she was apparently his muse for something like twenty years. I am thoroughly enjoying these novellas and have even bought a few more that won't come as part of my subscription. They are a great way to try authors I might not otherwise. And you're right about having the same sort of look about him as Poe! Haunted is a good word.


I've read pretty much everything he has written but I can't remember this. It's too long ago. It would be time for rereading it.
I know some of his poems by heart and have a whole collection of different editions of Les Fleurs du mal (on the poetry shelf which I didn't show:) ). You have to try a few, if you like them you will like them very much, they are very sensual, strong imagery.


You wouldn't expect it but your review sent me down memory lane as I have some music by Leo Ferré set to the texts of poetry of Baudelaire. Dating back from the time my French was much much better :)


I would never accuse Baudelaire of being a dandy from that photo! He looks so grim. I loved the first quote especially the line "The sun of laziness, which ceaselessly glows within him, vaporizes him and gnaws away that half-genius that heaven bestows upon him." Oh that is marvelous! I wonder why he only ever wrote one novella? Now that you have read a few pairings of these does there seem to be a pairing philosophy emerging at all?


I really should try his poetry and I am sure I will eventually since that is what he is famous for. I had a feeling that he might be someone you've read and know quite well, so was curious what you thought of his work. I think I didn't read this novella as closely as I could/should have as there were many references to other works of literature, etc. But it was a very good story even with the more superficial reading I gave it.


I'm happy my post brought back a happy recollection of his work for you. I'd not heard of Leo Ferré--will have to see if I can find his music on French Amazon and see if there is a sample of it. I won't understand it, but it would be cool to just listen.


Maybe in his youth he had a happier disposition? He does look grim there. Isn't that a great quote? The little biographical blurb in the book didn't say why he only wrote one novella or if he ever had any interest in writing anything other than poetry. Maybe this quote is telling--"Always a poet, even in prose"! :) I've been wondering about the pairings of the novellas, too. The first two-F Scott Fitzgerald and Melville are both American authors--FSF's story about a clash of social classes and Melville's story perhaps about idealism vs. materialism--so a good pairing really. Now Baudelaire and Twain--I'm not sure. Baudelaire's story is sort of a satire, and the Twain story about the downfall of a proud city (well, am reading it now), so maybe, too, a good pairing. The next two are both by Russian writers. I am hoping there will be some women authors included soon (I could look at the list, but I sort of like the surprise element).


I understand why people think Baudelaire is great but for me? Mmm, well, he's okay. I never really got on with his poetry which I found too arch and emotionally cynical (though some poems are definitely fantastic - the one about the corpse sticks in my mind). But I did like his prose poetry, which I found a lot more accessible and to my taste. I had no idea he'd actually written a novella! Btw, I love that photo of him - he looks SUCH a misery guts, and I think it was considered pretty true to life! :-)


Hah--misery guts is quite descriptive but such a mournful photo, don't you think?! I am curious about his prose poetry (and maybe just the sort of poetry I might like, so will have to see what my library has of his at some point). I'm not sure whether he's for me or not--I liked the novella well enough, but I have a feeling I didn't quite get all the literary and historical and philosophical references.

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