Decadence and Symbolism: A Showcase Anthology


Product Details

Snuggly Books
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.98 inches | 1.42 pounds

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About the Author

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was a French poet. Born in Paris, Baudelaire lost his father at a young age. Raised by his mother, he was sent to boarding school in Lyon and completed his education at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris, where he gained a reputation for frivolous spending and likely contracted several sexually transmitted diseases through his frequent contact with prostitutes. After journeying by sea to Calcutta, India at the behest of his stepfather, Baudelaire returned to Paris and began working on the lyric poems that would eventually become The Flowers of Evil (1857), his most famous work. Around this time, his family placed a hold on his inheritance, hoping to protect Baudelaire from his worst impulses. His mistress Jeanne Duval, a woman of mixed French and African ancestry, was rejected by the poet's mother, likely leading to Baudelaire's first known suicide attempt. During the Revolutions of 1848, Baudelaire worked as a journalist for a revolutionary newspaper, but soon abandoned his political interests to focus on his poetry and translations of the works of Thomas De Quincey and Edgar Allan Poe. As an arts critic, he promoted the works of Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix, composer Richard Wagner, poet Théophile Gautier, and painter Édouard Manet. Recognized for his pioneering philosophical and aesthetic views, Baudelaire has earned praise from such artists as Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé, Marcel Proust, and T. S. Eliot. An embittered recorder of modern decay, Baudelaire was an essential force in revolutionizing poetry, shaping the outlook that would drive the next generation of artists away from Romanticism towards Symbolism, and beyond. Paris Spleen (1869), a posthumous collection of prose poems, is considered one of the nineteenth century's greatest works of literature.

Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) was a visionary French poet from Charleville who dreamed of reinventing love and changing life with his poetry. At the age of sixteen, he traveled to Paris at the invitation of poet Paul Verlaine, ten years his senior, and exploded onto the literary scene with The Drunken Boat. In the ensuing years, Rimbaud further confirmed his place in literature with the spiritual autobiography A Season in Hell (the only work Rimbaud had printed himself) and forty-four scintillating prose texts that were later published as The Illuminations. As notorious for his life as he was for his poetry, Rimbaud had a productive but tumultuous relationship with Verlaine, who shot him in the wrist in Brussels. After abandoning literature at the age of twenty-one, Rimbaud enlisted in the Dutch colonial army in order to travel Java, deserting four months later and returning to France. In 1878, he traveled to Cyprus and worked as a foreman at a stone quarry. Two years later, he was living and working in Aden, Yemen, and then in Harar, Ethiopia, for an export agency. In 1885, he negotiated an arms deal with Menelik, the King of Shoa. A great walker all his life, Rimbaud developed a tumor in his right knee and soon returned to France in excruciating pain. His condition worsened, requiring doctors to amputate his right leg. Rimbaud died at the Hôpital de Conception in Marseille in 1891 at the age of thirty-seven; his body was returned to Charleville and buried in the Charleville-Mézières cemetery. Rimbaud's life and work have inspired countless writers, artists, and musicians, including the French Symbolists, the Beat generation, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, and Jim Morrison.
Beginning in 1804 with Nathan Drake's 'Henry Fitzowen', The Dedalus Book of British Fantasy traces the development of the genre through the stories and poems of Coleridge, Keats, Dickens, Disraeli, William Morris, Christina Rossetti, Tennyson and Vernon Lee, until the end of the century and Richard Garnett's 'Alexander the Ratcatcher'. Each text has been chosen to illustrate the development of the various aspects of fantasy in British Literature - the comic, the sentimental. the erotic and the allegorical - and the contribution that these authors made to the emergence of the genre.