Les Fleurs du Mal

This translation of Baudelaire’s magnum opus—perhaps the most powerful and influential book of verse from the nineteenth century—won the American Book Award for Translation. And the honor was well-deserved, for this is one of Richard Howard’s greatest efforts. It’s all here: a timeless translation, the complete French text, and Mazur’s striking black and white monotypes in one elegant edition.

Baudelaire revoiced…Howard’s achievement is such that we can be confident that his Flowers of Evil will long stand as definitive, a superb guide to France’s greatest poet.
The Nation

Readers of English do not have to take Baudelaire on faith any longer. For the first time he is present among us, vivid and surprisingly intact, in these fine translations.
New York Times Book Review

A deft and patient new translation of Les Fleurs Du Mal…Howard, it seems to me, has done what he has set out to, has given us, in English and in verse, a Baudelaire both immediately recognizable and impressively varied…It is a considerable achievement.
New York Review of Books

A magnificent achievement…should be the English version for a long time to come.

Not until now has there been an edition of the entire work which successfully captures the distinctive voice of Baudelaire…The level of success among 151 lyrics is so high as to guarantee that Richard Howard’s will be the definitive translation in the foreseeable future.
Boston Globe

Richard Howard, generally esteemed as the finest American translator from the French of the postwar era, offers a new version of this masterpiece…It is indubitably the English edition to acquire.
Washington Post Book World

[An] intelligent responsiveness to the poem’s meaning informs almost every translation in this volume.
New Republic

This title is now available as an eBook through Google Play.

Charles Baudelaire was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, a book of lyric poetry titled Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in the rapidly industrializing Paris during the mid-nineteenth century. Baudelaire’s highly original style of prose-poetry influenced a whole generation of poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stéphane Mallarmé, among many others. He is credited with coining the term “modernity” (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility of artistic expression to capture that experience.

Richard Howard is one of the most prolific and respected twentieth-century literary critics still living and writing today. Like many literary critics, he also writes his own poetry; unlike most critics’ poetry, his won a Pulitzer Prize. He has also received a PEN Translation Prize, a National Book Award, a Literary Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, a MacArthur Fellowship, the title of Chevalier from France’s L’Ordre National du Merite, and the position of Poet Laureate of New York from 1993 to 1995. A longtime poetry editor at The Paris Review, he now edits The Western Humanities Review and teaches writing at Columbia University.