By Rosemary Lloyd
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Extra info for Charles Baudelaire
The pattern is already established: Baudelaire would spend the next twenty years moving from lodging to lodging, often forced to ﬂee at short notice, leaving behind possessions that might or might not be recuperated by someone who was not in a position to give his new address to those seeking to dun him. Promises would be given in tandem with threats, neither of them sustainable. And for the ﬁrst time there is in this letter the mention of his lover Jeanne, whose presence, more or less close, more or less destructive, would be one of the few constants in the poet’s life.
A few armchairs amongst all that. 4 The paintings, frequently bought from Arondel, too often proved, predictably enough, not to be of the highest calibre, and a disabused Baudelaire would dispose of them disdainfully, at a ﬁnancial loss, only to fall victim yet again to the same temptation. He was an avid collector at this period of his life, gathering around him paintings, caricatures and books. His contemporaries leave many little vignettes of him reading those books: Courbet’s painting of him deep in a large and somewhat dog-eared volume has numerous written equivalents.
The true painter will be the one who knows how to seize the epic side of contemporary life and make us see and understand, with colour or line, how great and poetic we are in our cravats and our polished boots. Let us hope that next year the real seekers give us that special joy of being able to celebrate the arrival of the new. (oc, ii, p. 407) The joint determination and ability to show the heroism of modern life and to reveal what was new and striking under its familiarity runs through much of his subsequent writing.
Charles Baudelaire by Rosemary Lloyd