chapter  2
9 Pages

Baudelaire’s ‘Correspondances’

WithCharles Chadwick

The double Symbolist concept that reality is no more than a facade, concealing either a world of ideas and emotions within the poet, or an ideal world towards which he aspires, is associated in the case of Baudelaire with the doctrine outlined in his celebrated sonnet Correspondances. There are a number of poems in Baudelaire’s one volume of poetry, Les Fleurs du Mal, first published in 1857 and followed three years later by a second, considerably enlarged edition. Human Symbolism of the sort plays a considerable part in Baudelaire’s poetry, but perhaps an even more important part is played by transcendental Symbolism. In giving poetic form to the various symbolic representations of paradise Baudelaire is escaping from reality through the medium of poetry. Thus the poet becomes a divine figure, able to see through the wall of reality to the paradise beyond and able to transmit his vision to others.