Late Fragments

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Flares, My Heart Laid Bare, Prose Poems, Belgium Disrobed

Charles Baudelaire; Translated from the French and Edited by Richard Sieburth

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The first English collection of the late poetry and prose fragments of literary icon Charles Baudelaire
 
“[A] handsome new book . . . all this inchoate material is given context by Sieburth’s learned, elegantly written commentary. He is the perfect guide.”—Michael Dirda, Washington Post
 
“[These] unfinished works written after 1861 . . . deliver what their titles seem to promise: a soul stripped of guises and illusions.”—Ange Mlinko, New York Review of Books

 
While not as well‑known as his other works, Charles Baudelaire’s late poems, drafts of poems, and prose fragments are texts indispensable to the history of modern poetics.
 
This volume brings together Baudelaire’s late fragmentary writings, aphoristic in form and radical in thought, into one edited collection for the first time. Substantial introductions to each work by Richard Sieburth combine the literary context with formal analysis and reception history to give readers a comprehensive picture of the genesis of these works and their subsequent fate.  
 
Baudelaire’s turn toward fragmentary writing involved not only a conscious renunciation of his aesthetics of perfection and unity, but a desertion of the harmonies of the traditional lyric in favor of the disjunctions of prose. These are daring works, often painful to read in their misanthropy and unconventional beauty.

Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867) is widely regarded as a giant of modern French poetry. Richard Sieburth is Professor Emeritus of English, French, and Comparative Literature at NYU.

“[A] handsome new book . . . all this inchoate material is given context by Sieburth’s learned, elegantly written commentary. He is the perfect guide.”—Michael Dirda, Washington Post

“[These] unfinished works written after 1861 and appearing in English together for the first time, Flares, My Heart Laid Bare, Belgium Disrobed, and a selection of ‘late prose poems and projects’ deliver what their titles seem to promise: a soul stripped of guises and illusions.”—Ange Mlinko, New York Review of Books

“[A] fascinating volume . . . valuable as much for Mr. Sieburth’s brilliant prefaces as for the orts and scraps that Baudelaire scribbled on pieces of hotel stationery. Among the writings are acidulous outtakes from a never-written series of philosophical memoirs.”—Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal

“Sieburth makes nuanced choices in his translations . . . Late Fragments gathers Baudelaire’s final sketches in a way that presents a new image of a man who, much like Ezra Pound, failed to ‘make it cohere’. Yet by exhibiting these failings, this volume shows Baudelaire at his most relevant: contradictory, fragmentary, raging against the vicissitudes of modern circumstance.”—Aaron Peck, Times Literary Supplement

“Essential reading . . . Sieburth does a commendable job.”—Dominic Green, Washington Examiner

“The translation and presentation of these ‘late fragments’ contain treasures of erudition and observation likely to interest all readers of Baudelaire . . . [and] recommends itself even more widely to all those interested in modernity.”—Patrick Thériault, Fabula

“Wealth of insight into Baudelaire’s late work and its fascinating contexts . . . the absences in this collection of late works often become as moving as the presences.”—Tyler Dunston, Michigan Quarterly Review  
 

“There could be no finer companion with whom to view the ruins of Late Baudelaire than Richard Sieburth, here in the multiple roles of translator, literary historian, and exegete, in this expansive and magnificent edition. Astonished voyager, set sail...”—Eliot Weinberger

"In Richard Sieburth's lucid and precise translation and commentary, Baudelaire has found at long last a proper English voice."—Alberto Manguel

“Charles Baudelaire, one of the world’s great poets, was also something else: the maker of unforgettable, often troubling aphorisms and prose poems. Richard Sieburth’s commentary is infallibly subtle, and the translations are both loyal and imaginative.”—Michael Wood, Princeton University

Late Fragments is a marriage of true minds: Charles Baudelaire, one of the great poets, who seems more relevant with every passing year, and Richard Sieburth, one of today’s finest—and most poetic—translators. This is a brilliant and indispensable translation milestone."—Marjorie Perloff, author of Infrathin: An Experiment in Micropoetics

"Richard Sieburth’s translations splendidly capture the dazzling pyrotechnics of Baudelaire’s late style, by turns arrogant and abject, emitting bursts of fragmentary distress signals that often as not become provocations and missiles."—Peter Nicholls, author of Modernisms: A Literary Guide
 

"Syphilitic, misanthropic, maudit to the core, in his late years Baudelaire forged from his vertiginous miseries a compelling new idiom; these fractured, elliptical, haunting texts, beautifully translated by Richard Sieburth, present a fatally wounded heart laid bare, stray petals of evil adrift in the abyss."—Mark Ford, University College London
ISBN: 9780300185188
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
440 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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