Critical Insights: Poetry of Baudelaire Review

"An entry in Salem Press’ Critical Insights series, The Poetry of Baudelaire contains four sections of key analysis and information indispensable to the study of the famously critical Baudelaire. Section 1, "Career, Life, and Influence," contains two separate essays on Baudelaire himself--one on the poet’s career, the other on his life. Both of these were written by the book’s editor. One may question the point of separating one from the other, since it could be said that the poet’s career was his life, but the wisdom of separating life from career is telling: it prevents the reader from relying too much on biography to understand the writer.

The next section, "Critical Contexts," offers four essays on the historical, philosophical, and social milieu of Baudelaire’s work, including the editor’s examination of the critical reception of Baudelaire’s poetry. This offers the reader a better understanding of the context of not only when Baudelaire was writing, but why. These two sections together provide a well-rounded picture of Baudelaire and his environment, which gives the reader and critic alike a meaningful but not overwhelming depth of detail.

Section 3, "Critical Readings," gets down to the business of evaluating, assessing, and critiquing Baudelaire’s work from a variety of viewpoints and approaches, from the poet’s relationship with Poe’s work, artistic influences (e.g., songs and art, symbolism, individual works of the poet), a comparison of three translations, cultural linguistics, and ethics. This broad approach offers students of Baudelaire more than just variety; they reveal the universal and penetrating talent of the poet himself. The final section offers a chronology and listing of works by Baudelaire, a bibliography of resources, and details about the editor and contributing authors. It also contains an impressive index.

...Critical Insights: The Poetry of Baudelaire packs a critical and useful punch...It is highly recommended for academic libraries with strong literature and creative writing program."