France

Banned Bard

When French poet Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) was published in 1857, he was prosecuted after 13 of the 100 poems were deemed inappropriate for public consumption and would “lead to the excitement of the senses by a crude realism offensive to public decency.” Among them were six poems thought to be pornographic. These were “Lesbos,” “Femmes damnés,” “Le Léthé,” “À celle qui est trop gaie,” “Les Bijoux” and “Les Métamorphoses du Vampire.” Baudelaire was fined 50 francs, but Les Fleurs du Mal ultimately became his most famous work, offering a critique of Paris during the industrial revolution, and influencing countless other poets after him.

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