Charles Baudelaire was the first modern poet.[1] In both style and content, his provocative, alluring, and shockingly original work shaped and enlarged the imagination of later poets. His influence was not limited to France but spread across Europe and the Americas. His work guided the symbolist movement, which became the dominant school of modernist poetry, and inspired the Decadent and Aesthetic movements. Half a century later, his presence still haunted Surrealism. Nor was Baudelaire’s impact restricted to literature. His ideas on the autonomy of art, the alienation of the artist, the irrationality of human behavior, the intellectualization of poetry, the cult of beauty (and the beauty of evil), and the frank depiction of sexuality became central to modernist aesthetics. He also...


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