Here’s something I wrote for my personal blog about the French Symbolist poet Baudelaire and his relationship to the supernatural. I thought its references to fairies, to the Breton goblins called lutins and to nymphs might be of interest to the readers of ‘British Fairies.’ Baudelaire explores many of the themes we have touched upon, the ill-defined relationship of Faery to the land of the dead, or the abduction and subjection of humans as slaves; all in his inimitable style.
Baudelaire in 1844 by Emile Delroy
Charles-Pierre Baudelaire was born in Paris in 1821. He came to be one of the leading Symbolist or decadent poets of the period. He is known for exotic, gothic verse that is obsessed with boredom, sin, submission, death, sex and femmes fatales. His themes sound like the classic teenaged/ emo preoccupations, familiar to us now, but in the mid-nineteenth century the poet’s references to Satanism and pagan orgies were shocking, rather than the mere conventions of death-metal. There was also a notable supernatural element to Baudelaire’s poetry, which is what I wish specially to explore here.
Let’s deal with the black magick side of his work first. In his ‘Preface’ to Les Fleurs du Mal, Baudelaire declared “On evil’s pillow Satan Trismegist/ Our ravished senses at his leisure lulls… The Devil holds our strings in puppetry!” At the conclusion of Possessed, he cries…
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