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.

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Fleurs du mal / Flowers of Evil

1857 Edition

Baudelaire's poetry was well-known long before it was collected in Les Fleurs du mal in 1857. A few scattered poems had appeared in journals and reviews, and Baudelaire had also achieved notoriety reciting his lurid verses aloud. Several times he announced that he was going to publish a collection of poems, giving titles such as Les Lesbiennes (The Lesbians) and Les Limbes (Limbo). However, the definitive title was not to come until 1855, when "fleurs du mal" was suggested by his friend Hippolypte Babou, and publication was not to come until 1857, when his friend Auguste Poulet-Malassis printed the first edition of "ces fleurs maladives," as Baudelaire wrote in the dedication.

Les Fleurs du mal appeared on the bookshelves of Paris in June 1857. Eleven hundred copies had been printed for sale, with an additional twenty copies hors commerce printed on fine paper. Within a month, the French government initiated an action against the author and the publisher, accusing them of outrages to public morality. On August 20th, a French court acknowledged the literary merit of the book as a whole but demanded that six poems be deleted on moral grounds. In a pattern now familiar, however, the trial only served to create a sensation, and by the following summer the initial printing of Les Fleurs du mal was sold out.

The six poems censored from the first edition are indicated below by red guillemets like this ».

Table of Contents

» Dédicace

Dedication

» Au Lecteur

To the Reader

Spleen et idéal / Spleen and Ideal

» Bénédiction

Benediction

» Le Soleil

The Sun

» Élévation

Elevation

» Correspondances

Correspondences

» J'aime le souvenir de ces époques nues

I love the memory of those naked epochs...

» Les Phares

The Beacons

» La Muse malade

The Sick Muse

» La Muse vénale

The Venal Muse

» Le Mauvais Moine

The Bad Monk

» L'Ennemi

The Enemy

» Le Guignon

Bad Luck

» La Vie antérieure

Past Life

» Bohémiens en voyage

Traveling Gypsies

» L'Homme et la mer

Man and the Sea

» Don Juan aux enfers

Don Juan in Hell

» Châtiment de l'orgeuil

Punishment of Pride

» La Beauté

Beauty

» L'Idéal

The Ideal

» La Géante

The Giantess

» Les Bijoux

The Jewels

» Parfum exotique

Exotic Perfume

» Je t'adore à l'égal de la voûte nocturne

I adore you as much as the nocturnal vault...

» Tu mettrais l'univers entier dans ta ruelle

You would take the whole world to bed with you...

» Sed non satiata

Never Satisfied

» Avec ses vêtements ondoyants et nacrés

With her pearly undulating dresses...

» Le Serpent qui danse

The Dancing Serpent

» Une Charogne

A Carcass

» De profundis clamavi

From the Depths I Cried

» Le Vampire

The Vampire

» Le Léthé

Lethe

» Une nuit que j'étais près d'une affreuse Juive

One night when I lay beside a frightful Jewess...

» Remords posthume

Posthumous Remorse

» Le Chat

The Cat

» Le Balcon

The Balcony

» Je te donne ces vers afin que si mon nom

I give you these verses so if my name...

» Tout entière

All Together

» Que diras-tu ce soir, pauvre âme solitaire

What will you say tonight, poor solitary soul...

» Le Flambeau vivant

The Living Torch

» À celle qui est trop gaie

To She Who Is Too Gay

» Réversibilité

Reversibility

» Confession

Confession

» L'Aube spirituelle

Spiritual Dawn

» Harmonie du soir

Evening Harmony

» Le Flacon

The Perfume Flask

» Le Poison

Poison

» Ciel brouillé

Cloudy Sky

» Le Chat

The Cat

» Le Beau navire

The Beautiful Ship

» L'Invitation au voyage

Invitation to the Voyage

» L'Irréparable

The Irreperable

» Causerie

Conversation

» L'Héautontimouroménos

The Self-Tormenter

» Franciscae meae laudes

In Praise of My Frances

» À une dame créole

To a Creole Lady

» Moesta et errabunda

Grieving and Wandering

» Les Chats

The Cats

» Les Hiboux

The Owls

» La Cloche fêlée

The Broken Bell

» Spleen (Pluviôse irrité)

Spleen (Pluvius, irritated...)

» Spleen (J'ai plus de souvenirs)

Spleen (I have more memories...)

» Spleen (Je suis comme le roi)

Spleen (I'm like the king...)

» Spleen (Quand le ciel bas et lourd)

Spleen (When the sky low and heavy...)

» Brumes et pluies

Mists and Rains

» L'Irremédiable

The Irremediable

» À une mendiante rousse

To a Mendicant Redhead

» Le Jeu

Gambling

» Le Crépuscule du soir

Evening Crepuscule

» Le Crépuscule du matin

Morning Crepuscule

» La servante au grand coeur dont vous étiez jalouse

The kind-hearted servant of whom you were jealous...

» Je n'ai pas oublié, voisine de la ville

I have not forgotten, near the city...

» Le Tonneau de la haine

The Cask of Hatred

» Le Revenant

The Ghost

» Le Mort joyeux

The Grateful Dead

» Sépulture

Sepulchre

» Tristesses de la lune

Sorrows of the Moon

» La Musique

Music

» La Pipe

The Pipe

Fleurs du mal / Flowers of Evil

» La Destruction

Destruction

» Une Martyre

A Martyr

» Lesbos

Lesbos

» Femmes damnées (À la pâle clarté)

Women Doomed (In the pale glimmer...)

» Femmes damnées (Comme un bétail pensif)

Women Doomed (Like pensive cattle...)

» Les Deux Bonnes Soeurs

The Two Good Sisters

» La Fontaine du sang

The Fountain of Blood

» Allégorie

Allegory

» La Béatrice

Beatrice

» Les Métamorphoses du vampire

The Vampire's Metamorphoses

» Un Voyage à Cythère

A Voyage to Cythera

» L'Amour et le crâne

Love and the Skull

Révolte / Revolt

» Le Reniement de saint Pierre

The Denial of Saint Peter

» Abel et Caïn

Abel and Cain

» Les Litanies de Satan

The Litanies of Satan

Le Vin / Wine

» L'Âme du vin

The Soul of Wine

» Le Vin des chiffonniers

The Rag-Picker's Wine

» Le Vin de l'assassin

The Murderer's Wine

» Le Vin du solitaire

The Lonely Man's Wine

» Le Vin des amants

The Lovers' Wine

La Mort / Death

» La Mort des amants

The Death of Lovers

» La Mort des pauvres

The Death of the Poor

» La Mort des artistes

The Death of Artists