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on 13 May 2003
Les Fleurs du Mal is generally considered to be Baudelaire's major work; a profoundly crafted, sensuous and, at the time it was published, scandalous collection of poetry that shocked the literary establishment.
Yet, prior to this, Baudelaire's reputation was as a critic of art, music and literature. He brought to bear the same standards on the works of others as he applied to his own: that beauty of idea and style are paramount, that art is useful if its function is the pursuit of beauty and that a quality of strangeness and originality are what make a work of art unique.
In this selection of criticism, Baudelaire's writings on the art of Delacroix, Ingres and Corot, the literature of Poe and Flaubert, and the music of Wagner, among others, illuminate not only those artists, but also the critic himself.