“Au Lecteur” [“To the Reader”] by Charles Baudelaire

This poem prefaces Baudelaire's 1857 book Fleurs du mal [Flowers of Evil]

The poem and multiple translations are available at Fleursdumal.org, which also contains a note on the multiple editions of Fleurs du mal and the entire text of the collection.

If you are one of my students, be sure to read each translation and note the differences between them. Which differences seem meaningful?

If you can read French, why not attempt your own translation?

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Jonathan Ball is a writer, filmmaker, and scholar living at www.jonathanball.com.

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