Two editions of Fleurs du mal were published in Baudelaire's lifetime — one in 1857 and an expanded edition in 1861. "Scraps" and censored poems were collected in Les Épaves in 1866. After Baudelaire died the following year, a "definitive" edition appeared in 1868.
Fleursdumal.org is dedicated to the French poet Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867), and in particular to Les Fleurs du mal (Flowers of Evil). The definitive online edition of this masterwork of French literature, Fleursdumal.org contains every poem of each edition of Les Fleurs du mal, together with multiple English translations — most of which are exclusive to this site and are now available in digital form for the first time ever.
QuickStart. If you're new to Baudelaire, or if you're not interested in the nuances of the various editions of the Flowers of Evil, you should browse poems using the 1861 Table of Contents. This is the definitive edition of Les Fleurs du mal and contains most everything the casual browser would want to read, except perhaps the "condemned poems" which you can find in Les Épaves (scraps).
The advanced reader of Baudelaire will want to take advantage of the different ways to view the poems that make up Les Fleurs du mal.
This was the first edition of Les Fleurs du mal and contained a hundred poems written in the 1840s and 1850s. (Note that this table of contents reflects the original order of the 1857 edition. However, the French poems to which it links are the later "definitive" versions of the poems published in 1861.)
This second edition contained thirty-five additional poems and the new "Tableaux parisiens" section. However, it lacked the six poems censored from the first edition.
While living in Brussels, Baudelaire and his publisher decided to put out this collection of "scraps" containing a miscellany of poems. Most important, it included the six poems censored from the first edition of Les Fleurs du mal, which were illegal to publish in France until the 1940s.
This edition of Les Fleurs du mal was prepared after Baudelaire's death by two of his friends. Modern scholars reject this version because they question some of the changes the friends made. Preference is therefore given to the last version overseen by Baudelaire himself, which was the 1861 edition.
All of the tables of contents give the titles in French, with literal English translations of the titles in smaller type. Please note that Supervert has made every effort to be accurate in handling Baudelaire's poetry. If you happen to notice any errors, no matter how small, please let us know.
"I once read a lot of Baudelaire + my Angel kid has read every translation -- apparently, if you don't know french (I do) you have to read all the translations to get a good idea." — Allen Ginsberg, Letter to David Cope, 25 Jan 1977.
Credit. Fleursdumal.org was launched on 1 Feb 2004. The site is a labor of love created and maintained by Supervert. At supervert.com you can find information about Supervert's books Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish, Necrophilia Variations, and Perversity Think Tank.
Translators. If you are a translator (or publisher) who has translated Baudelaire and you would like to add your work to the site, please contact fleursdumal.org for more information. Please note, however, that fleursdumal.org reserves the unconditional right to reject any submission without explanation. Frankly subjective editorial judgement will be utilized to preserve the quality and integrity of the site content.
Note on translations. The translations of Fleurs du mal included on fleursdumal.org have mostly appeared previously in book form. These are not necessarily the best or the worst translations though fleursdumal.org is partial to Edna St. Vincent Millay's renderings but they are ones that the site felt comfortable reproducing in terms of rights. If you are a translator and you object to your translations being included here, please contact fleursdumal.org to discuss the issue. However, please bear in mind that fleursdumal.org is obviously not a big-bucks profit-making enterprise but a work of passion intended to disseminate Baudelaire's poetry.