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Charles Baudelaire was a French poet best known for his controversial volume of poems, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil).
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Today, The Flowers of Evil and its famous French author are held in high literary regard. The book helped to create an appreciation for new literary artforms,
bring once-controversial issues out of the dark and create a surge for truth and impressionism among writers and readers alike.
Baudelaire next worked on a translation of Thomas de Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater. Other works in the years that followed included Petits Poemes en prose ("Small Prose Poems") and critical studies of Flaubert, Théophile Gautier and Balzac.
By 1859, Baudelaire was suffering from a number of chronic conditions, brought on by stress and his long-term use of laudanum and opium. His long-standing relationship with Jeanne Duval, and relationships with actress Marie Daubrun and courtesan Apollonie Sabatier, provided inspiration but no consistent companionship. Baudelaire lived with his mother for a short time toward the end of his life, producing the poem "Le Voyage," among other works. Eventually, financial difficulties drove him to leave his home. In 1864, he departed for Belgium, hoping to raise enough money to pay off his debts.
Baudelaire suffered a massive stroke in 1866. The final months of his life were spent in a semi-paralyzed state in Brussels and Paris, where he died on August 31, 1867. Baudelaire was buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris. Many of his works were published posthumously, allowing his mother to resolve his debts.
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With its natural splendor and key geographic location, France has forever been the destination of marauding hordes—whether they be sword-wielding barbarians or camera-toting tourists. However, these Frenchmen and Frenchwomen have extended their influence outward, beyond the borders of the Hexagone, through art, invention and philosophy. C'etait magnifique, or, as deemed by the aforementioned title, fantastically French.
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