By Rosemary Lloyd
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Additional info for Charles Baudelaire
I’ll forget in Virgil all the world’s pettiness and dirtiness. At least that doesn’t cost anything and doesn’t make you ache all over’ (c, i, p. 80). Study as preferable to venereal disease and its cure: however accurate this might be, it is not a particularly promising outlook. Indeed, the study of the law seems to have been rapidly abandoned, although Baudelaire, a voracious reader then and throughout his life, is frequently depicted as lost in a book. The realist artist Gustave Courbet, for instance, shows him so deeply immersed in his reading that he is apparently unaware of his mistress standing behind him.
In 1841 the young Baudelaire had run up so many debts in anticipation of the money he would inherit from his father when he turned twenty-one, that a family trust was set up, largely on the urging of his stepfather Aupick, to arrange for a loan on his behalf and to attempt to impose on him what many of his contemporaries would have been delighted to accept, a sea voyage to India. In his brief biographical notes, and in many of the conversations he is reported to have had with friends, Baudelaire would later claim that he did indeed travel to India.
With the beneﬁt of hindsight we can be considerably more sceptical. 38 2 Revolt The ill-starred poet, rejected by his family, despised by the multitude and starving to death in his garret, was a standard element of Romantic mythology well before Paul Verlaine published his Poètes maudits in 1884. That Baudelaire was already beginning to work his way into a personal variant of the myth in his early twenties is obvious from reports of his friends from the Pension Bailly, in the days before his aborted voyage to India, when he constantly harped on the misfortune of his mother’s rejection of him, as revealed by her remarriage.
Charles Baudelaire by Rosemary Lloyd