Baudelaire in Chains: Portrait of the Artist As a Drug Addict

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9780720611809: Baudelaire in Chains: Portrait of the Artist As a Drug Addict

Book by Hilton Frank

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The French decadent and rmantic poet Charles Baudelaire, who died in 1867 aged 46, spent much of his adult life in the grip of a miserable complex of physical and mental afflictions. At times he was gripped by lethargy and ennui that made it impossible for him to put pen to paper for weeks on end; at others he suffered from mysterious cramps, vomiting and other physical torments. When he had money, he spent it profligately; his romantic attachments were histrionic and masochistic; he spent most of his life in poverty, lurching from one chaotic living arrangement to the next. His belief that he was consumed by a sickness of the soul emanating from a doomed core of rottenness and decay, informs much of his poetry and essays. Most of his biographers have accepted the view mooted by some at the time that Baudelaire was afflicted with syphilis, which he contracted during his days as a young dandy-about-town and which accounts for his procession of physical and mental agonies and his early demise. Frank Hilton's interesting idea is that he didn't have syphilis at all, but a lifelong and largely concealed opium addiction that explains his condition much more plausibly. 'Baudelaire in Chains' is his attempt, employing a more up-to-date and better informed model of drug dependency than most previous biographers, to reinterpret the poet's life along these lines. There are enough references in Baudelaire's letters and other writings to laudanum, the tincture of opium widely available from pharmacists at the time, to make it clear that he certainly had recourse to it on occasion, and perhaps for more protracted periods. He also spent many years on a translation and commentary of Thomas de Quincey's magisterial 'Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, the most thorough exploration of the inner life of the opiate addict at the time (and in many ways still unsurpassed). Although Baudelaire is equally famous today for his use of hashish, thanks to his fine essay on its effects included in 'Les Paradis Artificiels', Hilton correctly observes that there's no evidence that he took it more than once, and that his incongruously hellish description of its aftermath that led him to denounce it as a blasphemous 'forbidden game' indicates a transposition of the more problematic effects of opium on to this solitary and otherwise apparently benign experience. Yet the evidence that Baudelaire's life was dominated by an addiction to opium remains, as Hilton himself acknowledges, thin. He never publicly admitted to a lifelong dependency or attempted reframe his malaise around the way that de Quincey did; nor does he even confide his narcotic bondage to his private letters, notebooks and diaries in the manner of Coleridge. Indeed, he regularly records in these that he has 'no idea' why he is sometimes highly productive and at other times little more than a zombie, or what causes his attacks of gastric distress and loss of appetite to appear and then to vanish. If he was not only immersed in de Quincey but simultaneously dependent on opium, this lack of curiosity and self awareness seems inexplicable. The lack of evidence is compounded by the fact that Hilton does rather too good a job of locating the characteristic of the drug addict in Baudelaire's early life, far back into his childhood and long before he could have been taking opium... ... This is a lively, provocative and crisply written book, full of incidental interest and, almost despite itself, an accessible introduction to its saturnine subject. --Fortean Times

Présentation de l'éditeur :

An acclaimed and most unusual biography of Baudelaire, showing him ensnared by his passions for poetry, prostitutes - and drugs

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Frank Hilton
Edité par Peter Owen Publishers (2003)
ISBN 10 : 0720611806 ISBN 13 : 9780720611809
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Frank Hilton
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Description du livre Peter Owen Publishers, United Kingdom, 2004. Hardback. État : New. 218 x 142 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. An acclaimed and most unusual biography of Baudelaire, showing him ensnared by his passions for poetry, prostitutes, and drugs.A crucial link between romanticism and modernism, Charles Baudelaire is a pivotal figure in European literature and thought. His influence on modern poetry is immense. In the English language, where his literary reputation is less well known, it is his link with drug culture that gives him contemporary resonance. It is commonly known that Baudelaire used opium. Many writers have described him as being addicted to the drug, but none of his biographers, Frank Hilton argues, has fully understood the effect of opiate addiction on the personality and, in the case of Baudelaire, the extent to which it damaged his life and work. In this original contribution to Baudelaire studies Hilton contends that the drug is at the root of all Baudelaire s problems and in particular--something that constantly tormented him--his chronic inability to apply himself to any prolonged creative work. Unquestionably, there is significantly more to Baudelaire than his opium addiction. But a proper awareness of what it did to the poet helps to illuminate those puzzling aspects of his life and behavior that were not previously understood. Written with the general reader in mind, Baudelaire in Chains will give those who know little or nothing about him a comprehensive picture of his life. To those who know a great deal it will present him in an unexpected light. N° de réf. du libraire AAZ9780720611809

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Description du livre Peter Owen Publishers, United Kingdom, 2004. Hardback. État : New. 218 x 142 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. It is commonly known that Baudelaire used opium. Many writers have described him as being addicted to the drug, but few biographers, Frank Hilton argues, have fully understood the effect of opiate addiction on personality, and, in the case of Baudelaire, the extent to which it damaged his life and work. It is a subject that is usually treated as some kind of bolt-on extra. In this fascinating and original contribution to Baudelaire studies Hilton contends that the drug is at the root of ALL Baudelaire s problems, and in particular his chronic inability to apply himself to any prolonged creative work which constantly tormented him. Unquestionably there is significantly more to Baudelaire than his opium addiction. But a proper awareness of what it did to the poet helps to illuminate those puzzling aspects of his life and behaviour that were not previously understood. Written with the general reader in mind, Baudelaire in Chains will give those who know little or nothing about him a comprehensive picture of his life. To those who know a great deal it will present him in an unexpected light. Most of Baudelaire s works have been made available in English, including several award-winning translations over the last decade. However there have been only 2 major biographies of Baudelaire in the last 20 years: by Joanna Richardson (John Murray, 1994) and Pichois and Ziegler (Hamish Hamilton, 1989). Neither title is currently in print and neither deals with Baudelaire s opium addiction. N° de réf. du libraire AAZ9780720611809

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Description du livre Peter Owen Ltd, 2003. État : New. 2003. First Edition. Hardcover. Num Pages: 220 pages, Illustrations, ports. BIC Classification: 2ADF; BG; DSBF; DSC; DSK. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 216 x 153 x 27. Weight in Grams: 496. . . . . . . N° de réf. du libraire V9780720611809

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Description du livre Peter Owen Publishers. Hardback. État : new. BRAND NEW, Baudelaire in Chains: A Portrait of the Artist as a Drug Addict, Frank Hilton. N° de réf. du libraire B9780720611809

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Description du livre Peter Owen Ltd. État : New. 2003. First Edition. Hardcover. Num Pages: 220 pages, Illustrations, ports. BIC Classification: 2ADF; BG; DSBF; DSC; DSK. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 216 x 153 x 27. Weight in Grams: 496. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. N° de réf. du libraire V9780720611809

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Description du livre Peter Owen Ltd, 2003. Hardcover. État : New. Brand New Book. Shipping: Once your order has been confirmed and payment received, your order will then be processed. The book will be located by our staff, packaged and despatched to you as quickly as possible. From time to time, items get mislaid en route. If your item fails to arrive, please contact us first. We will endeavour to trace the item for you and where necessary, replace or refund the item. Please do not leave negative feedback without contacting us first. All orders will be dispatched within two working days. If you have any quesions please contact us. N° de réf. du libraire V9780720611809

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